Supreme Court: Poe a natural-born Filipino
( - September 20, 2016 - 3:20pm

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal on Sen. Grace Poe’s eligibility to run in the 2013 elections and ruled that she is qualified to sit as a senator of the republic.

The court voted 9-3 in favor of Poe and declared her a natural-born Filipino citizen, and, therefore, qualified to hold the office of senator. The SC junked a petition filed by Rizalito David, a losing senatorial candidate in 2013, asking the high court to reverse the SET’s ruling.

David claimed Poe, a foundling, cannot be considered a natural-born Filipino because of the  “absence of proof of blood ties to a Filipino father or mother.”

David also questioned Poe’s reacquisition of her Philippine citizenship in 2006 after being naturalized as a US citizen and living there until the death of Fernando Poe Jr., her adoptive father, in late 2004. 

Questions about Poe's citizenship were raised as she prepared to run for president in the 2016 elections. She lost to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in the May polls.

The SC members who dissented in the case were Associate Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Mariano Del Castillo and Bienvenido Reyes. On the other hand,  Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Teresita De Castro  and Arturo Brion inhibited from the case.

Brion, Carpio and De Castro were also members of the SET. Poe is now a member of the tribunal, which is tasked with resolving electoral protests involving senators. —Rosette Adel

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