SolGen to SC: 3 PH Constitutions didn't deny foundlings of citizenship | Inquirer News
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SolGen to SC: 3 PH Constitutions didn’t deny foundlings of citizenship

/ 04:41 PM February 16, 2016
Solicitor General Florin Hilbay. INQUIRER file

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay. INQUIRER file

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay urged members of the Supreme Court to search not only their feelings but also records of the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitution if there is an express intent to deny foundlings the Filipino citizenship status.

In his presentation as Tribune of the People, Hilbay said there is no evidence showing that the three  constitutions intend to deny foundlings, or children with no known parents their status as Filipinos.

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“We cannot interpret the constitution’s silence as indicating a discriminatory animus against an entire class of persons, in the face of the clearly discernible intent in the records to recognize them as Filipinos,” Hilbay said as he pointed out that the debate on records was whether foundlings should be recognized as Filipinos expressly or impliedly “not whether they should even be recognized as Filipinos.”

“Given the grave implications of the argument that foundlings are not natural born Filipinos, I strongly advise the members of this Honorable Court not only to search your feelings, but, more important, to search the records of the 1935, 1973, and 1987 constitution for an express intention to deny foundlings the status of Filipinos,” Hilbay said.

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Hilbay said records from the Philippine Statistics Authority from 2010 to 2014, on yearly average, there were 1,766,046 children born in the Philippines to Filipino parents versus 1,301 children born in the Philippines of foreign parents making the ratio of non-Filipino children to natural born Filipino children is 1:1357.

“This means that the statistical probability that any child born in the Philippines would be a natural born-Filipino is 99.93 percent,” he said.

Poe was found abandoned at a church in Jaro, Iloilo in 1968.

From 1965 to 1975, Hilbay said the total number of foreigners born in the Philippines is 15, 986 while the total number of Filipinos born in the Philippines is 10,558,278, the ratio of non-Filipinos born to Filipino children is 1:661.

“This means that the statistical probability that any child born in the Philippines on that decade would be a natural born Filipino is 99.83 percent…It at all, the likelihood that a foundling would have a Filipino parent might even be higher than 99.9 percent. Filipinos abandon their children out of poverty or, perhaps, shame. We do not imagine foreigners abandoning their children here in the Philippines thinking those infants would have better economic opportunities or believing that this country is a tropical paradise suitable for raising abandoned children,” Hilbay said.

“I certainly doubt whether a foreign couple has ever considered their child excess baggage that is best left behind,” he added.

Hilbay said denying full Filipino citizenship to all foundlings based on theory that one among thousands might be of foreign blood “is downright discriminatory, irrational and unjust.”

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“It just doesn’t make sense,” he said.

The Solicitor General was ordered to give his views on the case although he had manifested that he would not represent the Commission on Elections. TVJ

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TAGS: 1935 Constitution, 1973 Constitution, 1987 Constitution, Elections 2016, Filipino citizenship, Florin Hilbay, Foundlings, Grace Poe, Grace Poe citizenship, Supreme Court
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