Ex-UE law dean does the math on Poe’s residency: It’s only 9 years
THE disqualification case against Senator Grace Poe will settle the inconsistencies on her residency and questions on her citizenship.
Former Senator Francisco “Kit” Tatad and former Government Service Insurance System lawyer Estrella Elamparo sought the disqualification of Poe who is running for president.
Former University of the East (UE) Law Dean Amado Valdez agreed with the petitioners that Poe is not qualified for the presidency because she is not a natural-born Filipino and has not yet met the 10-year residency requirement under the law.
He also noted inconsistencies in the residency periods that Poe indicated in her certificates of candidacy (COCs) for the 2013 and 2016 elections.
When she filed her COC for her Senate bid in October 2012, Poe said she has been a Philippine resident for the last six years and six months.
Exactly three years later, when she filed her COC for president last week, Poe indicated her residency period as being 10 years and 11 months, and not nine years and six months – which is what you get when you add three years to 6 years, 6 mos. from her 2012 COC.
Under Article VII, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that a presidential candidate must be a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding such election to be qualified.
Poe, a foundling and legally adopted by movie stars Fernando Poe Jr and Susan Roces, was raised in the Philippines but later moved to the US in 1991 to finish her undergraduate studies and eventually worked there.
She returned to the Philippines when her father died in 2004. However, she returned to the US in February 2005.
She reportedly bought a house in Quezon City and enrolled her children in the Philippines in 2005. In 2006, she acquired dual citizenship. Up until 2009, however, she continued using her US passport.
Later that year, she finally obtained her Philippine passport and in 2010, Poe renounced her US citizenship so she could be appointed in the Philippines as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board in 2010. She would affirm her renunciation the following year, in 2011.
Poe’s camp had said the senator returned to the country 11 years ago, in late 2004, following the death of her father.
Valdez said even if Poe re-acquired her citizenship or had been returning to the Philippines in 2005 or 2006, her subsequent action of using her US passport still “negated” her reacquisition of Filipino citizenship.
“The ten-year period of residency must be counted from the time she re-acquired her Filipino citizenship. It is only then that she is considered domiciled in the Philippines,” stressed Valdez, who is also president of the Philippine Association of Law Schools.
“If her reacquisition of Filipino citizenship is negated by acts purporting that she is still considering herself as American citizen by using her American passport, then her stay in the Philippines will not be counted to comply with residency requirement,” Valdez added.
For Valdez, Poe’s residency should only begin in 2010, when she renounced her US citizenship.
“Her renunciation must be unequivocal. She cannot say one thing and do another. She cannot fit her feet to shoes not her size,” the former law dean said.
Poe is also facing a disqualification case before the Senate Electoral Tribunal filed by Rizalito David, which cited similar grounds, in relation to her election in the 2013 senatorial race.
The tribunal is set to rule on the case next month even after its chair, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, already said that Poe may not be a natural-born citizen unless she would be able to prove that either of her biological parents is a Filipino.
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