SC: Poe a natural-born Filipino citizen, PH resident for 10 years | Inquirer News

SC: Poe a natural-born Filipino citizen, PH resident for 10 years

/ 08:02 PM March 11, 2016



Senator Grace Poe is qualified to be a candidate for president, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled as it stated that she has met the constitutional requirements of being a natural-born Filipino and a resident of the country for 10 years.

In its 47-page decision written by Associate Justice Jose Perez, the SC said the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) decision disqualifying her to seek the highest position of the land is a “deadly disease with grave abuse of discretion from root to fruits.”


READ: SC: Poe can run for President



The high court said there is more than sufficient evidence that Poe is a natural-born Filipino.

It said the fact that Poe admitted that she is a foundling does not shift the burden to her in proving her citizenship.

The high court said those questioning her citizenship should have been the one to prove that her parents are aliens.

The SC also cited the statistics mentioned by Poe and Solicitor General Florin Hilbay leading to a “very high probability” that the presidential candidate’s parents were Filipinos.

READ: SC rules in favor of Poe in DQ case


Poe was found abandoned as a newborn at a church in Jaro, Iloilo in 1968. After she was declared a foundling or a child without known parents, she was adopted by celebrity couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.

Based on the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), from 1965 to 1975, the total number of foreigners born in the Philippines was 15,986 while total number of Filipinos born in the country was 10,558,278. The statistical probability that any child born in the Philippines in that decade is natural born was 99.83 percent.

PSA records also showed that in 1960, there were 962,532 Filipinos and 4,734 foreigners in the province; 99.62% of the population were Filipinos. In 1970, there were 1,162,669 Filipinos and 5,304 foreigners; 99.55% of the population were Filipinos. While child-producing Filipinos (ages 15-49), in 1960, there were 230,528 female Filipinos as against 730 female foreigners, or 99.68%;  there were 210,349 Filipino males and 886 male foreigners, or 99.58%. In 1970, there were 270,299 Filipino females versus 1,190 female foreigners, or 99.56%; there were 245,740 Filipino males as against 1.165 male foreigners, or 99.53%.

The high court also noted that Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim conceded during oral arguments that at the time Poe was found in 1968, majority of the population in Iloilo were Filipinos.

“Other circumstantial evidence of the nationality of petitioner’s parents are the fact that she was abandoned as an infant in a Roman Catholic Church in Iloilo City. She also has typical Filipino features: height, flat nasal bridge, straight black hair, almond shaped eyes and an oval face,” the high court said.

“There is a disputable presumption that things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of life.  All of the foregoing evidence, that a person with typical Filipino features is abandoned in Catholic Church in a municipality where the population of the Philippines is overwhelmingly Filipinos such that there would be more than a 99% chance that a child born in the province would be a Filipino, would indicate more than ample probability if not statistical certainty, that petitioner’s parents are Filipinos….To assume otherwise is to accept the absurd, if not the virtually impossible,” the high court said.

Foundlings as a whole

The high court said domestic and international law on foundlings support the finding that they enjoy presumption of being natural-born.

“We find no such intent or language permitting discrimination against foundlings,” the SC said.

The high court said domestic laws on adoption support the principle that foundlings are Filipinos; these laws do not provide that adoption confers citizenship upon the adoptee, however, the adoptee must be a Filipino in the first place to be adopted. 

Foundlings are also citizens under international law. The SC cited that the common thread of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is to obligate the Philippines to grant nationality from birth and ensure that no child is stateless.  The high court noted that all of the international law and conventions and instruments on nationality of foundlings were designed to address the plight of a defenseless class which suffers from a misfortune not of their own making.

READ: SC ruling: Foundlings like Poe ‘presumptively natural born’ – court source

The high court added that all the three Philippine constitutions (1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions) “guarantee the basic right to equal protection of the laws.”

“All exhort the State to render social justice,” the high court said.

It cited several constitutional provisions including Article II, Section 11 which provides that the “State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights,” Article XIII, Section 1 which mandates Congress to “give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all the people to human dignity, reduce social, economic, and political inequalities x x x” and Article XV, Section 3 which requires the State to defend the “right of children to assistance, including proper care and nutrition, and special protection from all forms of neglect, abuse, cruelty, exploitation, and other conditions prejudicial to their development.”

“Certainly, these provisions contradict an intent to discriminate against foundlings on account of their unfortunate status,” the high court said.

The SC said on Poe’s reference to her adoptive parents as her birth parents is natural because the effect of adoption is to “sever all legal ties between biological parents and the adoptee, except when the biological parent is the spouse of the adoptee.”


The high court said Poe’s claim that she will be a resident of the country for 10 years and 11 months on the day before the upcoming elections in May 2016 is true.

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The SC found that petitioner presented voluminous evidence to show that she and her family abandoned their US domicile and relocated to the Philippines; these include her arrival on May 24, 2005 and her return to the Philippines every time she traveled abroad; email correspondence starting in March 2005 until September 2006 with a freight company to arrange for shipment of household items from the US to the Philippines; school records of her children showing enrollment in Philippine schools; tax declarations, and other evidence, which taken together show proof that she had intended to change domicile from the US to the Philippines. RAM

TAGS: residency, Supreme Court

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