Another petition that seeks to yank out Sen. Grace Poe from next year’s presidential derby was filed on Friday with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Similar to pending petitions filed against the senator before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Comelec, the 71-page petition filed by Estrella Elamparo, a former chief legal counsel of the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), assailed Poe’s citizenship and residency.
The Poe camp said they expected the new disqualification case, saying it is just the beginning of an expected series of attacks to derail the senator’s presidential bid.
”We totally expected and prepared for it. This is just the beginning and definitely will not be the last. We will fight them to the end, armed only with the law, reason and the truth,” George Garcia, the senator’s counsel, said in a statement.
Garcia added that they already knew the people behind the disqualification cases.
”We know who are the people behind this and their evil plans,” he said.
Elamparo said all existing legal records would prove that Poe is not a natural-born citizen and has not complied with the 10-year minimum residency requirement for an individual to be able to run for President.
She also accused the senator–now an independent candidate for President– of misrepresenting her qualifications.
“Respondent’s failure to comply with the citizenship and residency requirements under the Philippine Constitution is extant from the records. It would be unfortunate, if not unconscionable, that one’s quest for the presidency should start with a misrepresentation and a violation of the fundamental law that he/she is expected to swear absolute allegiance to,” Elamparo said.
She presented as evidence Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) for senator in 2013, which states that she has been a resident of the Philippines for “six years and 6 months” before the May 13, 2013 elections.
Even if Poe was able to establish her residency when she filed a petition for reacquisition of Filipino citizenship in July 2006, it still falls short of the required 10-year requirement as the elections would be held on May 9, 2016.
“By the principle of estoppel and the Filipino people relying on what she stated in her certificate of candidacy during the 2013 senatorial elections, respondent cannot deny her 6 years and 6 months residency in the Philippines as of May 2013,” the lawyer pointed out.
Elampro also argued that Poe, being a foundling, cannot be considered a natural-born Filipino citizen under provisions of the 1987 Constitution, which states that “natural-born citizens are those citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.”
She argued that the adoption of Poe by the late action star Fernando Poe Jr. and actress Susan Roces did not have the effect of transmitting or conferring upon her the status of a natural-born Filipino citizen.
“Moreover, respondent had to perform an act–the filing of the sworn petition before he Bureau of Immigratio–to acquire or perfect Philippine citizenship which is antithetical to the definition of natural-born,” Elamparo pointed out.
As such, she said, respondent, not being a natural-born Filipino citizen, is not qualified to apply for reacquisition of citizenship under Republic Act 9225.
Even assuming, according to Elamparo, for the sake of argument that international conventions and treaties can determine Grace Poe’s status as a natural-born citizen, “nothing in the international treaties and conventions supports the conclusion that a foundling is ipso facto a natural-born citizen.”
She pointed out that the Philippines is not a signatory to the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Stateless, saying only 64 out of 194 countries have signed the convention.
Elamparo said even assuming that Poe was s natural-born citizen, “she lost that status when she became a citizen of the United States of America.”
“Wherefore, premises considered, it is most respectfully prayed that the certificate of candidacy of respondent Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe Llamanzares be cancelled and denied due course,” the petition said.