Crossing the line in the Llamanzares case


Questionable proclamation

MANY could not understand why Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares had her own proclamation rally (at Plaza Miranda) while her disqualification as a presidential candidate and  the cancellation of her Certificate of Candidacy by the Commission on Elections remained standing, despite the Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Supreme Court. So much confusion could have been avoided had the Court restrained her campaign activities as well, along with its TRO on the Comelec.  That might have been the fairer and less misleading arrangement.

Deceiving the people

The Llamanzares camp has fully exploited her false  claim that she is  a bona fide candidate without any constitutional or legal impediment.  Her media  ads subtly project it, the propaganda fraudsters claim she  is leading in the “surveys,”  the careless media brazenly describe her as “the front runner in the presidential race,” and last Tuesday’s rally put her on the same footing as the constitutionally eligible candidates. The truth is that the Comelec rulings have simply been “frozen,” but not reversed or voided by the Supreme Court; her petition for certiorari against the Comelec has been the subject of ongoing Oral Arguments.

So far, these have  taken four Tuesday afternoon sessions of the High Court. But such has been the effect of Mrs. Llamanzares’ propaganda  that even some learned Justices may have been misled.  In the last Orals, one Justice unwittingly referred to published reports about Mrs. Llamanzares leading an alleged survey.  This referred to a reported  survey, commissioned by  nobody knows who, and supposedly commenced on September 15, 2015, when there were only presidential aspirants but no bona fide presidential candidates yet, and continuing until January 15, 2016, after she had been disqualified by the Comelec and merely given an artificial reprieve  by the Court.  Such reported survey lacks credibility for obvious reasons.

Deceptive survey

In September of last year, it would have been all right for a pollster to ascertain Mrs. Llamanzares’ performance rating as a sitting senator, but not as a “presidential candidate,” just as it would have been completely legitimate  to ascertain Jejomar C. Binay’s trust rating as Vice President and  Mar Roxas’s rating as a former DILG secretary, but not as presidential candidates.  Since no one had yet filed a COC for president at that time, it would have been completely presumptuous and deceitful for a pollster to list down names of non-candidates and put out  the question, “If elections were held today, whom would you vote for president?”

On Jan 15, after the Comelec had disqualified Mrs. Llamanzares and cancelled her CoC,  no honest pollster could have included her in a survey of bonafide presidential candidates, without first identifying her as someone who could  end up as a bona fide candidate only if the High Court should ultimately reverse the otherwise final and executory rulings of the Comelec. Then and only then could the polling firm ask its survey “samples” whether, if elections were held on that day, they would vote for such a “candidate.”  There is no evidence that  the pollster had clarified her precise legal status.

Misusing the Church

At her rally in front of the Quiapo Catholic Church, the self-admitted foundling, whose first and last known and uncontested citizenship was that of a naturalized American citizen,  said she was ready to defend her claim to Filipino citizenship “here and now.” But she offered nothing to enlighten her audience about her claim to the office.  Using the church as a prop, she said “the story of my life started inside a church. It is fitting that I should launch the next chapter in front of a church.”  She was referring to her having been found a foundling of no known parentage at the doorstep of the parish church in Jaro, Iloilo on Sept. 3, 1968.

Enter Jardeleza

At the Supreme Court orals, she found a new champion in Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, who raised a novel theory about her right to due process and equal protection of the law.  He said he did not buy the submission that because Mrs. Llamanzares is a foundling with no known parentage she is a natural-born Filipino. But he said the Comelec may have “crossed the line” and violated Mrs. Llamanzares’s “right to due process,” when it relied merely on its own reading of the Constitution, without ascertaining her real parentage, to show that she is not natural-born.  He said  her unknown parents could have fallen into any of four distinct possibilities, but that the Comelec failed to establish which one.

Four possibilities

Justice Jardeleza’s four possibilities include: 1) that her mother and father are both Filipinos; 2)  that  father is Filipino and her mother a foreigner; 3)  that her mother is Filipino and her father a foreigner; and 4) that her father and mother are both foreigners.
He pressed Lim to offer a fifth possibility, and the Comelec counsel failed to do so.

There is, however, a fifth possibility, and this is, that both father and mother are foundlings, like Mary Grace. Of course, this cannot be a strong probability, but it is not an inherent impossibility. But this has nothing to do with main issue. As Lim pointed out, there was no need for the Comelec to ascertain Mrs. Llamanzares’ s real parents because she had already admitted she was a foundling of no known parentage. And both parties had stipulated upon it.

Burden of proof

Thus, although the burden of proof initially lay with the original petitioners, this promptly shifted to Mrs. Llamanzares when she declared she is a foundling of no known parentage.  No line was crossed, and no right to due process was violated when the Comelec declared that Mrs. Llamanzares is not a natural-born Filipino and does not have the 10-year residency requirement to qualify as a presidential candidate.

Jardeleza said he had “agonized” over this case, (and he used the word several times), because “it is a case of first impression;” there are no previous rulings to guide the Justices. Indeed, it is not just a case of “first impression;” it is also suis generis. This is because we have not had a situation before where someone who was absolutely ineligible for the office of the President insisted on being allowed to run for the office, on the basis of her lack of qualification for it.

I found it a little disturbing when Jardeleza told Lim, “You have to convince (the majority of the  Justices) that your reading of the Constitution is correct.”

This means that when the Constitution says, “No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines,” or when it enumerates those who are citizens of the Philippines, or defines “natural-born citizens” as “those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship,” we cannot be assured that the Justices understand these provisions in the same way we, the People, as authors of the Constitution, do.

This, I believe, is the point where we can say, the line has been crossed.


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  1. The team – sereno leonin jardeleza – injects complications where there is only simplicity just to promote their own selfish aims. Never mind the Constitution for they truly belong to the daang pilipit team and a total disservice to the country. What a shame. May God have mercy on them

  2. To Mr Kit Tatad and to all you readers of Mr. Tatad column, I guess your lone crusade against Poe is going on strong . There is an obsession in your inner mind to destroy Poe. I will tell you one sure consequence of your ambition, if Poe gets disqualified , VP Binay will surely be the next president. Do you Mr Tatad decided that this should be the way to go ? Do you like VP Binay to win? Or just for the sake of your deep hatred on Poe, even if our country is destroyed, you want your vengeance against Grace Poe for even the worst case scenario.

    • What is being discussed here is the disqualification of GRAPOE and to upheld the constitution. This 3 Supreme Court Justices is biased and they even want to disregard the constitution just to make this GRAPOE run the Presidential Elections but sorry for them as the majority of the Supreme Justice will disqualify GRAPOE. Better for her to accept the truth and move on….It will be a disaster for you if the Supreme Court disqualify you GRAPOE.

    • I salut on you Mr. Kit Tatad….What is being discussed here is the disqualification of GRAPOE and to upheld the constitution. This 3 Supreme Court Justices is biased and they even want to disregard the constitution just to make this GRAPOE run the Presidential Elections but sorry for them as the majority of the Supreme Justice will disqualify GRAPOE. Better for her to accept the truth and move on….It will be a disaster for you if the Supreme Court disqualify you GRAPOE.

  3. I agree with you Mr Tatad, it seemed that the interpretation of our Constitution is “free for all” the three Justices must be aware that they must be balance in their opinion and I noticed that the issue is far from the submitted case.

  4. understand that to have ‘natural born’ type citizenship one must have proof beyond reasonable doubt certified by public authority or affidavit witness that one at birth has a circumstance having filipino parents therefore having the perfect citizenship beyond question of law or any other circumstance such as of the founding, that goes to say that perfect citizenship is without the error of presumption as that of a foundling. So why muscle in a perfect citizenship if really one is not inclined to challenging the definition of ‘natural born’ citizenship as defined by the constitution? Why at all mix international law when there isnt a factor in the international law that says foundling must be ‘natural born’ citizens? International law merely states that a person should be given a nationality accordingly under the laws of a country or state. That is clear that there was never an issue or conflict factor with international law. The conflict is someone like Poe and allies who wants violated the existing constitutional statute so she can run illegitimately as president. Foundlings as naturalized citizens are not deprived of regular benefits, even natural born citizens are not exactly becoming presidents or senators. The pro Poe writer also intently missed the fact that Poe lost her citizenship and ofcourse all types under the citizenship was burned to meaningless when Poe abjured officially her allegiance of filipino citizenship when Poe decided willfully to become an american citizen. Our Constitution states clearly that citizenship can be ‘LOST’ by manner of law, and there is only one way to have ‘LOST’ the citizenship it is by abjuring the allegiance willfully and changing to the another country allegiance and citizenship. Our Constitution clearly stated ‘LOST’ which is different from the word ‘SUSPENDED’ if for want that the original circumstance of birth can be applied again. ‘Natural born’ citizenship comes once in a lifetime as a birth circumstance not by biological or ethnic right but a birth circumstance as required and defined in the Constitution, for example it matters not if its a chinese ethnically by blood but having been born with filipino chinese parents as certified by public authority or witness is sure a ‘natural born’ citizen. Citizenship is by required circumstance of law not type of biology. The Philippine archipelago is host to various ethnicity, and the filipino as nationality is not about one racial homogenity, the filipino is about having a nation with a national citizenship, by etymology the word ‘filipino’ is a colonial function. So why argue about ethnicity on national identity such as citizenship that is granted by law not biology?

    Lol ang citizenship for the fact is a granted classification by law not of biology. Ethnicity is the fact of biology, there is no citizenship in the science of biology.

    The classificatory laws of citizenship in the Constitution is not biological taxonomy in nature. Citizenship is for official national identity and allegiance.

    or let us put the question this way. How does a person become a ‘naturalized citizen’ by law?

    1) if the person posses an alien citizenship and applies for a change or additional citizenship that the law is called to process the acquisition of the citizenship. For the being of citizenship changed by law then that is ‘naturalized citizenship’.

    2) in the case of the foundling where our constitutional requirement is a certified public authority or affidavit (as in the case of late registration or any other circumstance ) confirming that one of the parents is a filipino, else a prospective process of law is due determining that the foundling failed to fulfill the ‘natural born citizenship’ requirement due to unknown parentage. Therefore by the fact of constitutional non compliance of the requirement set for the fulfillment of ‘natural born citizenship’, so as not to violate the definitions and requirements of natural born perfect citizenship in the constitution, the foundling being imperfect in the requirement is given naturalized citizenship so as not to remain stateless. my pov.

    At kahit pa maging known let us take for granted Poe was a natural born citizen, that is not anymore relevant as Poe changed her citizenship to american losing the filipino citizenship and whatever sub types under the citizenship had been extinguished for no one can say he or she is currently a filipino ‘natural born citizen’ if she is already an american citizen by law. But she or he can say that she was a ‘natural born citizen’ before she officially abjured the filipino citizenship and became an american citizen. Applying for the filipino citizenship possesing an alien citizenship necessarily will be a process of law attributing ‘naturalization’.
    Teddy has been telling that he was one of the principal authors of dual citizenship or R.A. 9235? Then Teddy should know that R.A. 9225 is not empowered to grant ‘natural born citizenship’ type to a citizenship but passes the authority of citizenship definition back to how the Constitution defines citizenship and its sub types under. What R.A. 9225-says is that persons who were ‘natural born citizens’ of the Philippines as the essential requirement can apply for dual citizenship, so while being an american citizen the philippines will regard the person who applied as ‘filipino citizen’ too. But never did R.A. 9225 extrapolate that it can grant back the ‘natural born citizenship’ circumstance as R.A. 9225 passes the authority of the definition to our Constitution.
    Poe’s group hopes to bank on probably erroneous jurisprudence

    Quoted from G.R. No. 142840 Bengson vs. HRET:

    “Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino.”

    Lol ang HRET ay tulad din ng SET at politically motivated at saliwa sa prinsipyo.

    A repatriate for essential element is someone who has no recourse to will the keeping of one’s citizenship as in the case of filipinos who signed up as american soldiers or the old custom of a wife following the man’s citizenship.

    Un kay Poe willful ang pag change niya ng citizenship.

    To remind that Jurisprudence are not the constitutional law themselves but are interpretation and ruling on them such that jurisprudence can be fallible in the ruling and if upon deeper examination of what the constitution said the jurisprudence is proven logically wrong and erroneous in the intepretation, that jurisprudence will be junked and reversed so that what the law really meant is the one to be followed.

    Remember our Constitution said the word is ‘LOST’ not ‘SUSPENDED’ that one can take back the original position and circumstance unchanged. To recover the original circumstance of the citizenship is to ignore the fact that there was a change, reapplications of law in the citizenship violating the constitutional definitions and provisions.

    • I am a Fil-Am and my sympathy should be on Grace Poe Llamanzares cause but I don’t. Everybody has to respect the Constitution. But it seems Pnoy and Grace Poe Llamanzares’ allies are trying to bend and twist the written law of the land to fit their cause. Pnoy will do anything (including his allies) to make sure the next Predident is an ally to avoid landing in jail.

      There are only two types of citizenship – the “jus soli” and the “jus sanguine”. The Philippines adopts the “jus sangguini”, which means you acquire the citizenship through blood. If your parents or even one parent has a Filipino blood, then you are a Filipino. Whereas, here in United States, we adopt the “jus soli”, which means you regardless of your ethnicity, you are a U.S citizen if you are born in United States. Although I am now a U.S. Citizen, I am disqualified to run for that hugged position of the land because I am not a natural born citizen. This should also apply to Grace Poe Llamanzares especially so that the Philippine Constitution did not mention anything about foundling. There may be flaw of how this was written but you to respect the vision of the founding fathers because they saw the rationale that perhaps, because of our emotions at the moment, may blur our vision. The Supreme Court justices may not bend or twist the enterpretation of this provision just to fit into the system the ambition and aspiration of Grace Poe Llamanzares.

  5. If Poe is not a a candidate of PNOY, She have been disqualified by the SC easily. But look at those justices favoring her being a qualified candidate, They’re all yellow zombies. Its clear as glass.

  6. Do you remember Hilarious Davide? These supremes appointed by Aquino will coin a word like costructive resignation in order to allow PoeQUINO to continue her desire to become a president.

  7. Jardeleza is asking Lim if there is foundling in the requirements to be president. None.

    If there is none, therefore, Poe is an exclusion. Kapag no mention na foundling, dapat out na. Wala rin naman sinabi ang constitution na kapag naturalized ka pwede ka na, kapag foreigner parents mo pwede ka na, etc. Papayagan ka ba to run as president and then if you win, sa PET na lang i-contest o i-pros test?

    Dapat, kapag foundling, hindi natural-born, period. Huwag nang pilipitin ng tatlong mahistrado ang “words of the constitution”. Maraming hindi binanggit sa requirements to run for president kasama ang foundling. Ang binanggit lang, iyong mga pwedeng tumakbo. Don’t try to convince the people na pwede ang foundling. Wala nga sa requirements. Nakuuuuu, ano ba naman itong tatlong ito!!!!

    • ernie del rosario on

      In contrast what is flesh without a skeleton ? A law is not a religious declaration, it is something secular. So how can mercy and compassion enter into the picture of a law ? How about a law about life imprisonment ? Does it have mercy and compassion ? If these two attributes are mandatory features of all laws then there will be no law that has a punishment (for its violation) provision with it. All gums and no teeth LAWS that will survive solely on lugaw and liquid diet ?

  8. The provision stated in the constitution for natural born citizen is very clear. Grace is not a natural born citizen. be reminded that the constitution is the framework of the government. if you dont follow the constitution , who are you…??? may be an OUTLAW.

  9. I am beginning to suspect that the way some justices of the Supreme Court are shedding off all shame just to come to the defense of Poe a lot of motivation (hopefully not blackmail) is being forced upon the honorable justices so their ultimate decision will sway in favor of Poe. I certainly hope I am wrong – for the sake of the Constitution and the Filipino people who will be at the receiving end of it all.

  10. Parang ganito yong ginawang pambababoy ng isang estudyante na ginawang basahan ang watawat ng Pilipinas, dito parang binababoy na rin ang Saligang Batas ng Pilipinas kung yong estudyante hindi ginalang ang watawat na simbulo ng bansa yong ilang mahistrado ayaw ding igalang ang nakasulat, nakasaad at tunay na kahulugan ng Saligang Batas.

    • Tama ang observation mo.. Kung ang bandila natin ay binababoy.. Malamang ang Phil, Constitution ay bbanoyin din ng ilang SC justices.. SC is being politicized grabe… It will go to dogs in d coming years.. lalo yon appointed ni PNOY.. they will serve d latter intetests.. God forbid..

  11. It does not matter what you write or do Sir because Sen. Llamanzares is going to be a candidate for president. Like what you have written the line has been crossed.

  12. I hope you shared my comment on Yen Makabenta’s column, “Sereno and the perversion of our citizenship law” (MT Feb. 5, 2016). I was constrained to comment after reading about jus soli. I let this same jus soli pass when I read it in one of your columns. But I did not let it pass when an Atty. Democrito Barcenas used the same term in his letter to Sun.Star Cebu. I included the name of Atty. Dodo Dulay of MT. I was just trying to make the latin term truly latin for the sake of lawyers. You may google “jus soli” and you will read Wikipedia “making up” “solum” as a noun for “soil”. The real Latin word for soil is “humus” (root word for humility).

    I pointed out that “solum” is an adjective neuter. And adjectives in Latin agree with their nouns in gender and case. I forgot to mention that adjectives also agree with their nouns in number (singular or plural). Your latin for “one of a kind” is “suis generis”. I cannot give you a pass this time lest it be used over and over by other writers. While your reflexive adjective “suis” agrees by rhyming with “generis”, rhyme gives way to reason in Latin, a very precise language. “Generis” is in the singular, genitive case of “genus” which happens to be neuter noun for “kind or type”. “suus’ (masculine), “sua” (feminine), “suum” (neuter) means his, her, its own.
    To make suum agree with generis in the genitive case, it should be “sui”. So “suis generis” becomes “sui generis”.

    I hope that Ex-CJ Panganiban and Ex-senator Rene Saguisag also shared my comment about “Jus soli” in Yen Makabenta’s column of February 5, 2016.

  13. Aside from an injunction to do or not to do a certain act, every TRO has an implied ‘court ordered’ component that the parties are restored back to their respective ‘status quo ante’- meaning as if nothing occurred at all. Violation of TRO is at minimum, a contempt of court. Thus, even if there are ten Comelec decisions that disqualified GP, they remained in a suspended animation and GP’s status is restored back to being a bona-fide candidate and therefore, has the right to hold a proclamation rally and it’s not ‘crossing the line’ and the Comelec cannot do anything about it.

  14. Jose A. Oliveros on

    It is Jardeleza who “crossed the line” and deprived the Comelec and the other respondents, like Sen. Tatad, et. al. of their right to due process by unabashedly displaying his clear pro-Grace Poe-Llamanzares bias, contrary to what he taught in constitutional law at the UP College of Law that one of the requirements of procedural due process is hearing before an impartial and neutral judge. But I am not at all surprised. Jardeleza was a long-time General Counsel of San Miguel Corp. for which Grace Poe-Llamanzares’s American husband, Neil Llamanzares is reportedly a consultant these days. And SMC is rumored to be the financier of Grace Poe-Llamanzares,with SMC providing the airplane which she has been using ever since she suddenly heard the “tawag ng bayan” for her to run for the presidency despite her dubious Filipino citizenship and lack of the required 10-year residency.

    • Let us go back to history a bit. San Miguel Corp was bought from Andy Soriano which sale documents were crafted by Frank and Raul of ACCRA. The sale documents purportedly indicate Dan Dean as the buyer and the funds for the purchase were culled from coconut levy funds. During those years, do you think a purchase of this magnitude can escape the eyes of Mr. Marcos? Now, if the yellow propagandists are to be believed that Mr. Marcos got all the companies in the country, ergo, Mr. Marcos got SMC. How about asking Frank now to declare who was the beneficial owner of SMC?

      If coconut levy funds were used to buy SMC, it is the coconut farmers who owns SMC. Hence, to escape public pillory, they have to make it appear that it is now Don Ramon who owns it – a public drama to shift public interest on the real owner. Hence, it is only logical for SMC to be funding Grace. Indeed, we just have to admire the cheese for his salesmanship in getting Ronnie to sell the idea to Dan Dean of funding Grace. But then, who knows, it may have been the real owner who has made the instruction of funding the daughter.

    • Now it makes sense. I wondered why Associate Justice Jardeleza spent so much time vigorously “lawyering” for G. Poe Llamanzares. I thought he was just another bird of the same feather as CJ Sereno and AJ Leonen – all Aquino appointees:liberal and judge-activists who will ignore the Constitution or misinterpret it so as to proclaim Mrs. Llamanzres a natural-born Filipino citizen. It is good to know that he is just another puppet of San Miguel Corp. so that any decision he makes will be viewed within that framework. As the financier of Mrs.`Llamanzares’ candidacy, San Miguel wants to protect its investment and will exert its influence on AJ Jardeleza to ensure this protection. This self-evident truth was in full display during the fourth oral arguments. As his reward, I expect AJ Jardeleza to be appointed a member of the Board of Directors of San Miquel Corporation when he retires from the SC (just like what appeared to have happened to former CJ Art. Panganiban – another well-known avid supporter of Mrs. Llamanzares).

  15. OMG ! Poe is also using conveniently the Constitution at her disposal , just like when he pledge allegiance to the USA. This is a very dangerous precedent and the people are being set up for a misleading candidate. How can we trust the Chief Justices whose PRIME JOB is to protect the Constitution from Predators ? Where is the inner strength of this Justices . do they have the Resolve to stand firm in protecting our Constitution?

  16. I found it a little disturbing when Jardeleza told Lim, “You have to convince (the majority of the Justices) that your reading of the Constitution is correct.”

    In any decent and civilized country, the Supreme Court would have refused to listen to this case. Try it in Canada, France, UK, USA… just search a bit and you will see those Courts are real and don’t waste their time with crystal clear cases, less with idiocies.

  17. I find it odd as a Canadian to read this, because any child born in Canada is a citizen of Canada. In one 2008 case, a girl born to a Ugandan mother aboard a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Boston was deemed a Canadian citizen for customs purposes because she was born over Canada’s airspace.

    I would think the more intelligent question to ask is if Poe is if by voluntarily revoking it, should she allowed to get it back?

    • Simple answer: our Constitution is different from your country, Canada. No need tti agonize, period.

    • Canada’s laws follow the principle of jus soli, unlike in Philippines where it is jus sanguinis.

  18. Basta ako ang alam ko, walang nilalabag na batas si grace poe. kaya iapagpatuloy niya lang ang pangungumpanya niya dahil alam ko na magtutuloy tuloy naman siya sa pagtakbo niya bilang presidente. naniniwala din ako na mananalo siya sa mga kaso niya at siya na ang sususnod na presidente.

  19. The argument should be done in Tagalog so that everybody can understand and I noticed that some of the justices is struggling to express themselves in English words and they can’t even construct a simple sentence using the right grammar. How did they become Supreme Court Justices.

    • I agree. There is no question that Associate Justice Jardelezza had difficulty in understanding and comprehending oral or spoken English. “Kanya paulit-ulit and kanyang mga questions dahil hindi nya naiintidihan and mga sagot sa English ni Commissioner Lim”. He should just resort to Tagalog so he does not waste any more time repeating his questions over and over again.

      Maybe candidates for justices of the Supreme Court should be given an English test before they are considered for the position. A test of this kind will surely eliminate some of the justices. “Nakakahiya” – some of them.

  20. I just dont know why UNFITS like SERENO, LEONEN and JARDELEZA are allowed to be in the Supreme Court if they dont even fit as Clerks. What a mess is now happening to this country.

  21. No need to agonize Justice Jardeleza in the case of Poe. You only need to follow the constitution. The problem with you 3 Honorable Justices you are bias for Poe. You are very obvious to the extent na para na kayong nabayaran. You are downgrading yourself. Saan law school ba kayo nagbasa? My goodness!