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Letters to the Editor

Light in the tunnel of foundlings

Elvie Punzalan-Estavillo - The Philippine Star

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, whose office is called “the tribune of the people,” has spoken that “foundlings are natural-born citizens under all our Constitutions, on the country’s 1935, 1973 and 1987 Charters.” Further, Solgen Hilbay mentioned that specifically, “the 1935 Constitution, which applies to the case of Poe who was born in 1967, had all the intent to consider foundlings natural-born Filipinos …” “The policy is clear: It is to recognize foundlings, as a class, as Filipinos … under the 1935 Constitution.”

Solgen Hilbay urged “the court not to commit the error of interpreting the Constitution without reference to history, structure and social context.” For “to deny foundlings the most fundamental of their political rights because their class is not expressly mentioned in the Constitution is a simplistic and lackadaisical way to interpret the Constitution. The case is absolutely clear in favor of foundlings.”

On the issue of residency, Solgen Hilbay said that “when Poe returned to the Philippines for good after Fernando Poe’s death in December 2004, she had every intent to reestablish domicile here.” She uprooted her children from US schools, enrolled them in Manila, lived with her mother, then built a house for her family. “Based on these facts, the claim that she has been a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years is a valid claim,” Solgen Hilbay said.

In addition, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno pointed out that Poe “even informed the US postal service of their abandonment of their US address,” prompting her to ask the other SC justices: “You doubt her resolve, even after 11 years she’s still here?”

Supreme Court Justices Leonen and Jardaleza have also spoken explicitly in support of the foundlings, and that Poe meets the ten-year Philippine residency requirement.

In the midst of all these valid, legal, fair, just positions taken by Hon. Solgen Hilbay, Chief Justice Sereno, Justices Leonen and Jardaleza – I pray that the other Supreme Court Justices will find it in their hearts and minds to make the light in the tunnel of the foundlings shine brightly – to give the foundlings, especially Grace Poe, the equal, fair and right to serve our beloved country.

There are many among our politicians who have been here since birth – but as we all know have been robbing our beloved country blind in billions of pesos, while others are grossly inept in the performance of their sworn duties, thus hinder our economic growth and cause grave suffering to multitudes of our kababayans! Bayan, kayo poe ang humatol!

Email: [email protected]

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