Sereno cites 2 cases that ruled foundlings are presumed natural-born Filipinos | Inquirer News

Sereno cites 2 cases that ruled foundlings are presumed natural-born Filipinos

/ 05:47 PM February 02, 2016

THE Supreme Court has, in previous instances, has already ruled that foundlings are presumed natural born-Filipinos.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno during part 3 of the Oral argument on the petitions of Senator Grace Poe, mentioned the 1976 Duncan case and the 1963 Ellis case involving foundlings where the Supreme Court ruled that the child in the two cases are presumed to be Filipino citizens even in the absence of evidence that their parents were Filipino citizens.

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In the case of Ellis v. Republic of the Philippines, the high court presumed that Baby Rose is a Filipino citizen despite unknown parents.

The child was abandoned at a hospital. A couple wanted to adopt the child. Their request was granted by the lower court. The government took the case to the Supreme Court.

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In its ruling, the high court adopted the domiciliary principle to determine the citizenship of the child.

“We have jurisdiction over the status of Baby Rose, she being a citizen of the Philippines…Under our political law, which is patterned after the Anglo-American legal system, we have, likewise, adopted the latter’s view to the effect that personal status, in general, is determined by and/or subject to the jurisdiction of the domiciliary law,” the high court said in the 1963 ruling.

On the Duncan case, an abandoned three-year old child was declared Filipino citizen despite absence of evidence on the identity of his parents.

“The trial court in its decision had sought refuge in the ancient Roman legal maxim “Dura Lex sed lex” to cleanse its hands of the hard and harsh decision it rendered. While this old adage generally finds apt application in many other legal cases, in adoption of children, however, this should be softened so as to apply the law with less severity and with compassion and humane understanding, for adoption is more for the benefit of unfortunate children, particularly those born out of wedlock, than for those born with a silver spoon in their mouths,” Sereno said quoting a portion of the 1973 ruling.

Further quoting the decision, Sereno said “the law is not, and should not be made, an instrument to impede the achievement of a salutary humane policy. As often as is legally and lawfully possible, their texts and intendments should be construed so as to give all the chances for human life to exist—with a modicum promise of a useful and constructive existence.”

“Are you now conceding that foundlings are Filipino citizens without evidence to the contrary,” Sereno asked Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner Arthur Lim.

Lim said the commission cannot concede.

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Lim, for his part, said the decision only covered adoption, and not citizenship.

Sereno also cited the Tecson case where the high court ruled that Poe’s adoptive father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. as Filipino citizen. In the said case, the high court considered Poe’s grandfather a Filipino citizen despite lack of evidence that his grandfather was present during the en mass Filipinization of FPJs grandfather Lorenzo Pou.

“Like in the FPJ case, it [citizenship] is presumed, in the case of Baby Rose, it is presumed, in the case of Duncan, it is presumed,” Sereno said.

But Lim argued that the three cases do not involve a person running for public office.

“Ampon, pulot, singaw, those are the terms that can cut the hearts of these people. If I will interpret your decision, nanloloko po ang petitioner kasi sinasabi nya natural born sya kasi hindi nya napatunayan kung sino ang ina n’ya…panloloko po ba yon?” Sereno asked Lim.

The Comelec, in its decisions ruled that Poe misrepresented herself as Filipino citizen when despite the fact that she is a foundling or a child with no known parent.

But Lim said the sad plight of foundlings is not an issue in the case.

Sereno said if the issue of misrepresentation will be confined on Grace Poe alone, any other foundling who would say they are Filipino citizens would mean they are acting in good faith.

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TAGS: Elections 2016, Foundlings, Grace Poe, Lourdes Sereno, Nation, News, Supreme Court oral arguments
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