Arroyo appointees to stand firm on Poe DQ
The course to the coveted Malacanan Palace seat never ran smooth for Senator Grace Poe.
Parrying attacks in all fronts, Poe’s uphill journey to the presidency reaches its peak as the Supreme Court magistrates are set to deliberate on whether the senator, a foundling adopted by celebrity couple Susan Roces and Fernando Poe Jr., will be allowed to run for president.
During the oral arguments on her case, four justices were seen as those who will possibly vote in upholding the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) decision to cancel her certificate of candidacy. The four justices are composed of the three members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) who earlier voted against Poe.
The justices who are seen to likely favor the cancellation of Poe’s COC are: Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Arturo Brion, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo De Castro and the ponente of the decision, Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo.
Carpio, Brion and De Castro previously decided on Poe’s eligibility as a senator, saying that she is not a natural-born Filipino. They were outvoted, however, by the other members of the SET.
Carpio: Poe naturalized, not natural-born Filipino
In their decision on the case filed against Poe before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), it was Carpio who first said that Poe is a naturalized, not a natural-born Filipino.
During the oral arguments of Poe’s case, Carpio said that if an adopted child states in legal documents that she was born to her adoptive parents, the child has committed a falsity.
“If you mention a name that is not your biological father, that is a falsity and it is very material,” Carpio said. To this, Comelec commissioner Arthur Lim said that such omission will be considered misrepresentation.
Lim said that such misrepresentation will render Poe’s COC as “void ab initio.”
Carpio has said that by undergoing a process to regain her citizenship, the senator is a naturalized Filipino.
The most senior among the present justices in the Supreme Court, Carpio was the first appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in October 2001.
He was also one of the five dissenters who favored the cancellation of the certificate of candidacy of Fernando Poe Jr., Poe’s adoptive father. Carpio then said that there was no evidence that FPJ’s father, Lorenzo Pou, was a Filipino citizen; thus, his citizenship cannot be extended to FPJ.
FPJ was the rival of Arroyo in an election which was seen as rigged.
De Castro: Poe cannot be presumed as natural-born
Justice De Castro, one of the three SET members who earlier voted against Poe, also believes that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino and thus cannot be allowed to run for president.
De Castro said that being a natural-born is a birthright and that Poe’s camp cannot insist on invoking presumptions of law in saying that Poe is a natural-born citizen.
“There is no evidence she is born of Filipino father or Filipino mother…She was found in Iloilo [but] nobody saw that she was born in Iloilo,” De Castro said.
Prior to her appointment, De Castro was a presiding Sandiganbayan justice. She was appointed by Arroyo in December 2007.
Brion: Foundlings not natural-born under 1935 Constitution
In his separate opinion on the SET ruling on Poe’s case, Brion opined that there is no provision in the 1935 Constitution—the Constitution prevailing during Poe’s birth in 1968—which states that foundlings are natural-born Filipinos.
Following this argument, Brion said that Poe cannot reacquire her natural-born citizenship through Republic Act 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act.
In his SET opinion, Brion also dismissed the proposal of allowing the electorate to decide on Poe’s case through the vox populi, vox dei maxim.
He said that the the citizenship requirement for those aspiring for the presidency “cannot be amended or cured by electoral mandate to allow an unqualified candidate to hold office.”
Brion served in the Arroyo Cabinet as Labor Secretary before he was appointed by Arroyo to the post of associate justice in 2008.
Del Castillo: Why did Poe give up PH citizenship?
In the opening salvo during the first day of the oral arguments last January 19, Del Castillo asked why Poe needed to give up her “affluent” life in order to go to the United States.
Poe became a naturalized citizen in 2001. She became a dual citizen from 2006 to 2010.
“She could have just stayed there. There was no compulsion for her to become an American citizen,” Del Castillo told Poe’s lawyer Alexander Poblador.
He also hit Poe for taking a long time to renounce her citizenship in 2010 where she was appointed as the chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
“[She] waited here for four years. Perhaps she was testing the waters, we don’t know; I want to find out. Maybe if things didn’t happen as she wanted, perhaps she could have gone back there (the US),” the justice said.
Del Castillo, according to a report, is said to have penned a decision against Poe. The magistrates are still deliberating as of this writing on Poe’s case.
He was a Court of Appeals justice before he was appointed by Arroyo as associate justice in July 2009.
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