Carpio cites flaws in SET ruling on Poe disqualification case
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - November 22, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Granting Sen. Grace Poe a natural-born citizen status, as the Senate Electoral Tribunal  did last week, violates the Constitution, according to SET chairman and Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.

All three SC justices in the SET voted against the ruling of the tribunal on the disqualification case against Poe filed by losing senatorial candidate and now presidential aspirant Rizalito David.

The five senators who voted in favor of Poe, the frontrunner in next year’s presidential race, were Vicente Sotto III, Loren Legarda, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar and Bam Aquino.

In his 35-page opinion released over the weekend, Carpio rebutted the majority opinion of the five senators in the nine-member SET that Poe should be considered a natural-born Filipino despite being a foundling.

“The citizenship requirement under the Constitution to qualify as a member of the Senate must be complied with strictly. To rule otherwise amounts to a patent violation of the Constitution. Being sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution, the members of this tribunal have no other choice but to apply the clear letter and intent of the Constitution,” Carpio said.

He described the position taken by the five senators as a “sentimental plea that conveniently forgets the express language of the Constitution reserving those high positions, in this case the position of senator of the Republic exclusively to natural-born Filipino citizens.”

Citing legal grounds, Carpio said the majority erred in basing their decision on customary international laws providing right of every human being to a nationality and the state’s obligations to avoid statelessness and to facilitate the naturalization of foundlings.

“There is no treaty, customary international law or a general principle of international law granting automatically Philippine citizenship to a foundling at birth. Respondent failed to prove that there is such a customary international law. At best, there exists a presumption that foundling is domiciled and born in the country where the foundling is found,” Carpio said.

ACIRC CARPIO CYNTHIA VILLAR AND BAM AQUINO GRACE POE GRANTING SEN LOREN LEGARDA PIA CAYETANO RIZALITO DAVID SENATE ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL SUPREME COURT SENIOR ASSOCIATE JUSTICE ANTONIO CARPIO VICENTE SOTTO
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