Comelec chief: Poe should be allowed to run
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Grace Poe should be allowed to run in next year’s presidential race, according to Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista.

Bautista expressed his dissenting opinion over the two resolutions of the full session of the poll body  junking Poe’s motions for reconsideration on her disqualification as ruled by the Second and First Divisions on Dec. 1 and 11, respectively.

Bautista admitted that coming up with his decision was not easy.

“It was hard. There were pressures from many sides but I just followed my conscience, what I think was right and I made some balancing,” he told The STAR.

In making his decision, Bautista said he took into consideration other Filipinos who have left to pursue opportunities abroad and have become foreign citizens, but may want to come home.

The poll chief, however, stressed his decisions were his own. “I did what I had to do and I was not influenced by anybody,” he said.

Bautista voted to dismiss the four petitions for Poe’s disqualification and cancellation of her certificate of candidacy (COC) while the rest of the poll body had resolved to take her out of the 2016 presidential elections.

Comelec’s Second Division handled the petition filed by former Government Service Insurance System chief legal counsel Estrella Elamparo who sought the denial of Poe’s COC.

At the First Division are the consolidated petitions for disqualification filed by former senator Francisco Tatad and the petitions for cancellation of COC lodged by De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.

 Residency and citizenship

 In his 53-page Concurring and Dissenting Opinion for the ruling of the Second Division, Bautista said that after studying evidence presented, jurisprudence and other related laws, he concluded Elamparo’s petition should be dismissed.

Bautista had the same opinion on the petitions of Tatad, Contreras and Valdez at the First Division.

However, he agreed with the majority decisions of the two divisions that Poe lacked the 10-year residency requirement under the Constitution.

“By 2016 national and local elections, she will only have been a resident for nine years and 10 months at the most, and not 10 years and 11 months as what she claimed in her 2015 COC,” the opinion stated.

It further stated that Poe reestablished her domicile in the Philippines only on July 10, 2006 when she applied for reacquisition of her Philippine citizenship.

And having been born on Sept. 3, 1968, Bautista said Poe is covered by the 1935 Constitution which does not state that foundlings like her shall be considered natural-born citizens.

“It is common knowledge that the Philippines has adopted the principle of jus sanguinis – citizenship is determined by blood relationship,” he said.

In a Supreme Court ruling in Valles vs Comelec, it was stated that the 1935 Constitution has established the principle of jus sanguinis for the acquisition  of Philippine citizenship; and this was carried over to the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions. – With Marvin Sy

ACIRC AMADO VALDEZ ANTONIO CONTRERAS AT THE FIRST DIVISION BAUTISTA CHAIRMAN ANDRES BAUTISTA COMELEC CONCURRING AND DISSENTING OPINION CONTRERAS AND VALDEZ DE LA SALLE UNIVERSITY SECOND DIVISION
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