3 Justices skip Senate DQ case vs Poe

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Three Supreme Court (SC) justices who participated and voted in a disqualification complaint filed against Sen. Grace Poe at the Senate Electoral Tribunal have inhibited themselves from the case that is pending before the High Court.

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Senior Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion will not participate in deliberation of the case because they are among the members of the electoral tribunal.

The other members are Senators Loren Legarda, Cynthia Villar, Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th, Vicente Sotto 3rd and Nancy Binay.

Of the five senators, only Binay voted to disqualify Poe.

Rizalito David, who sought Poe’s disqualification, questioned the tribunal’s decision at the High Court.

The SC en banc came out with a resolution on Monday saying Carpio, de Castro and Brion will have no part in resolution of David’s petition because of their prior participation in the Senate Electoral Tribunal.

The three justices, however, refused to inhibit themselves from a petition filed by Poe appealing a decision of the Commission on Elections en banc disqualifying her from joining the presidential race for not being a natural-born Filipino.

Sources of The Manila Times said Carpio, Brion and de Castro will “participate, deliberate and vote” in cases involving Poe emanating from the poll body on questions of her citizenship and residency.

Two Comelec cases are pending at the High Court — GR No. 221697 entitled Poe vs Comelec and Estrella Elamparo and GR No. 221698-700 entitled Poe vs Comelec, Francisco Tatad, Antonio Contreras and Amado Valdez.

Dissolve TRO
Tatad, in his comment filed also on Monday, asked the SC to dissolve the order it issued stopping the Comelec from disqualifying Poe and dropping her from the list of presidential candidates.

The former senator manifested that the temporary restraining order that the tribunal issued should be lifted and set aside since the poll body did not abuse its power when it disqualified Poe.

Tatad, through counsel Manuelito Luna, stated that the Comelec “acted within the bounds of its power and functions when it denied [Poe’s] motion for reconsideration and canceled her certificate of candidacy for President in connection with the May 9, 2016 national and local elections.”

“Being a foundling, and thus, could not say if she were born of a Filipino father or a Filipino mother, petitioner Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe Llamanzares could not lay claim to Philippine citizenship, much less natural-born status. Not being a natural-born Filipino citizen, petitioner Poe, cannot be allowed to run, much less elected to the presidency, in the May 9, 2016 national and local elections,” the former senator said.

Tatad urged the SC to junk Poe’s petition and deny her motion for the consolidation of disqualification cases filed against her.

Natural-born
Government lawyers also on Monday said Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen.
Solicitor General Florin Hilbay argued that the senator holds all the qualifications to be considered a natural-born citizen.

According to Hilbay, representing the Senate Electoral Tribunal, “between two interpretations of the Constitution, one discriminatory and the other inclusive, it is reasonable to take that interpretation that is consistent with the grander principles of the Constitution.”

“The 1934 Constitutional Convention specifically tackled the problem involving the potential vagueness of the political status of foundlings and the proposed solution was an inclusive policy the effect of which was to recognize them, explicitly or implicitly, as Filipino citizens.

“The exchange among the members of the convention was not whether to recognize foundlings as Filipinos, but only whether they should be specifically mentioned in the Constitution as Filipinos, that is, whether there was even a need to have them specifically recognized as Filipinos,” records stated.

Hilbay said the absence of the word “foundling” should not be read as an exclusion for those who are considered as Philippine citizens as he pointed out that “to insist on the simplistic view that the absence in the text of a recognition of the political status of foundlings meant a denial of such status would be to impute on the framers of the 1936 Constitution a discriminatory intent that is nowhere in the records, and as if the members of the Constitutional Convention of 1935 were so fixated with the racial purity of Filipinos.”

“[T]he disadvantage suffered by foundlings is precisely their inability to establish Filipino filiation through the normal route of producing an ordinary birth certificate… [t]he honorable court need not convert this inability into a legal disability,” he added.

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6 Comments

  1. Sa tingin ko hindi nareview ng maayos nila Justice Antonio Carpio and Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion ang dokumento ni Grace Poe. Qualified naman talaga si Grace Poe upang tumakbo bilang Presidente ng ating bansa. Sapagkat na meet niya ang lahat ng requirements sa pagtakbo bilang Presidente.

  2. Only in the Philippines, where you can “renounce” your citizenship to become an American Citizen, and “reacquire” it again later, can still claim as a natural born Filipino citizen. When a person “reacquired” his/her Philippine Citizenship, it was granted under the provisions of Imigration and Naturalization Laws. The “natural born status” should not been there because of the renounciation. that occurred. Here in the Philippines, you can have it both ways.

  3. Castro, Carpio and Brion’s inhibiting themselves from the SET case but not the Comelec en banc deliberations is disingenuous at best.

    That’s like them aiming a double-barreled shotgun at her with two triggers and declaring they’ll only use the second barrel to shoot her down nonetheless. You think they’re capable of a different opinion on the same case? Highly doubtful because their minds are made up to disqualify her before any deliberations start.

    Hilbay’s opinion of inclusiveness on foundlings is the correct one. Otherwise no foundling can ever be senator or president of the land, which would be the ultimate discrimination against them.

  4. I hope Hilbay will be outnumbered by the other justices. Let us all put a STOP to the overambitious Llamanzares’ dream of becoming a president. She lacks the residency to be qualified using her foreign passport (after renouncing her citizenship) numerous times.

  5. Assuming arguendo that Poe is a natural born Filipino as Hilbay proclaims based on inclusivity of the 1935 Constitutional Convention deliberations, the matter of residency qualifications and the jurisprudence that has been laid down remains a difficult obstacle for Grace Poe’s presidential ambitions to hurdle. She will be disqualified based on these ‘residency’ jurisprudence alone.

    And based on the principle in legal statutory construction that states ‘unius est exclusion alterius’ … meaning ‘all those not included in the enumeration are deemed excluded’, then Grace Poe is not a natural born Filipino based on the Philippine Constitution of 1935.

    The appeal to tenets of international law is estopped by the fact that such laws cannot be deemed superior to Constitutional Law.

    Grace Poe could serve the country best by defining and sharpening the debates on issues that needed to be addressed by the remaining presidential candidates after her disqualification by the SC. She had said that there is a candidate that she has in mind to support in case she is disqualified.

    She should endorse this presidential candidate fully and state with clarity why she is supporting this particular candidate based on important issues that the next president should address. In this manner she would be telling her supporters how to properly choose the next president and educating the rest of the voting populace as well. The other presidential candidates could then dispute her ‘endorsement’ based on the issues she raised and proceed to debate on these issues.

    And assuming that we will have a ‘clean and honest’ election then that process would yield the best choice for President. Having a ‘clean and honest’ election is, however, a different story altogether.

    Good luck and best wishes Ms. Poe. And despite all your political troubles –have a happy new year.

    • I concurr with the argument of mr. ramos. The Constitution is the shore of legislative authority against which the waves of legislative enactment may dash, but over which it cannot leap.