Poe’s presidential run a mockery of PH elections – Justice Carpio
ALLOWING Senator Grace Poe to run for President despite questions on her citizenship is a making a mockery of the national elections, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said in his dissenting opinion.
Carpio said the question on whether Poe is a natural-born citizen or not was not resolved by the majority.
He said voting on the citizenship was 7-5-3.
The seven justices were Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justices Presbitero Velasco Jr., Lucas Bersamin, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza, Marvic Leonen and Francis Jardeleza.
The two other magistrates – Associate Justices Diosdado Peralta and Benjamin Caguioa – joined the separate dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Mariano Del Castillo that the high court should not rule on the citizenship issue on this case.
They held that the Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion since Poe did not make deliberate misrepresentation on her 10-year residency status, but there is no need for the SC to determine the eligibility of Poe on the citizenship requirement under the Constitution.
The five justices were Carpio, Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-De Castro, Arturo Brion, Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Bienvenido Reyes.
Under Rule 12, Section 1 of the SC Internal Rules requires that all decisions and actions in court cases “shall be made up upon the concurrence of the majority of the Members of the Court who actually took part in the deliberation on the issues or issues involved and voted on them.”
For a case where all 15 justices voted, at least eight votes are needed to achieve a majority ruling.
“What is clear and undeniable is that there is no majority of this Court that holds that petitioner Mary Grace Natividad Poe Llamanzares is a natural-born Filipino citizen. This ruling of the majority will lead to absurd results, making a mockery of our national elections by allowing a presidential candidate with uncertain citizenship status to be potentially elected to the Office of the President, an office expressly reserved by the Constitution exclusively for natural-born Filipino citizens,” Carpio said.
He explained that the 9-6 voting was on the question of whether to grant Poe’s petition to overturn the Commission on Elections (Comelec) disqualification order for material representation on both her citizenship and residency.
Carpio added that the majority ruling provided an “anomalous situation” beyond the intent of the framers of the Constitution.
“The election process becomes a complete mockery since the electorate is mercilessly offered choices which include patently ineligible candidates. The electorate is also needlessly misled to cast their votes, and thus waste their votes, for an ineligible candidate,” the senior magistrate said.
“Any person, who is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, running for President is obviously a nuisance candidate under Section 69 of the Omnibus Election Code,” Carpio said.
Poe was found abandoned at a church in Jaro, Iloilo. Her biological parents were unknown. Those questioning her citizenship said she cannot be considered natural born because there is always that probability that she was born to foreign parents.
Carpio insisted that Poe should be the one to prove her citizenship.
“Any person who claims to be qualified to run for the position of President of the Philippines because he or she is, among others, a natural-born Filipino citizen, has the burden of proving he or she is a natural-born Filipino citizen. Any doubt whether or not he or she is natural-born Filipino citizen is resolved against him or her. The constitutional requirement of a natural-born citizen, being an express qualification for election as President, must be complied with strictly,” he stressed.
Also, the senior justice added that the country is not bound by international laws on foundlings.
“In sum, there is no international treaty to which the Philippines is a contracting party, which provides expressly or impliedly that a foundling is deemed a natural-born citizen of the country in which the foundling is found. There is also obviously no international treaty, to which the Philippines is not a party, obligating the Philippines to confer automatically Philippine citizenship to a foundling at birth,” Carpio said.
Tatad camp eyeing appeal
Manuelito Luna, lawyer of former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad, one of the four disqualification petitioners against Poe, has taken cue from Carpio’s dissent in their plan to appeal the ruling.
“Only seven justices or less than the majority of the SC voted to declare Poe presumptively natural-born. It binds no one; it cannot become part of the law of the land or jurisprudence,” he said in a statement.
Luna questioned the explanation of Sereno in her concurring opinion that the basis in counting the majority should only be 12 and not 15 since the three who voted not to rule on the citizenship issue should not be counted.
“In the TRO, the voting was 12-3. The voting to grant or not to grant petition was 9-6. Hence, the basis for computation for the number of majority should be 15 and the majority should be 8,” the lawyer explained.
“The seven justices practically re-wrote the Constitution through a judicial opinion resulting in the impermissible discrimination of half-bloods, those whose mothers are Filipinos and covered by the 1935 Constitution,” he argued.
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