Grace is natural-born – Hilbay


SOLICITOR General Florin Hilbay insisted on Tuesday that foundlings like Sen. Grace Poe are considered natural-born Filipino citizens.

At the continuation of the oral arguments at the Supreme Court, Hilbay noted that the Constitution, whether old or new, classifies foundlings as natural-born.

“Foundlings are natural-born citizens under all our Constitutions. The 1934 (Constitutional) Convention specifically tackled the status of foundlings, or children with unknown parents,” he said.

He pointed out that Concon delegate Nicolas Rafols wanted to explicitly put into writing that foundlings are natural-born.

“The proposal of Delegate (Nicolas) Rafols was to specifically recognize foundlings as Filipinos. The counter proposal was to simply assume that they are Filipino citizens,” Hilbay said, referring to the records of deliberations of the 1935 Constitution which covers Poe’s birth year.

“Delegate (Ruperto) Montinola saw no need to amend (the draft Constitution) because in his view, under domestic laws, a foundling is the son of a Filipino.

“Delegate (Manuel) Roxas also saw no need for the proposal because cases involving foundlings are few and far between and in his view, under international law, foundlings are citizens of the nation in which they are found,” the Solicitor General said.

“What was declined was a textual and explicit recognition of foundlings as Filipinos,” he added.

The present Constitution is silent on the citizenship of foundlings.

But Hilbay said this was because “Montinola and Roxas were able to convince their colleagues that there is no more need to expressly declare foundlings as Filipinos because they are explicitly recognized already.”

“Foundlings are recognized as a class of Filipinos under the 1935 Constitution. This inclusive policy carried over to 1973 and 1987 Constitution,” he stressed.

“Foundlings are natural-born citizens as a matter of right because it is safe to assume that their parents are Filipinos in the same way that it is safe to assume that those with birth certificates are natural-born citizens even if those papers are only prima facie proof of Filipino filiation,” Hilbay said.

He presented figures from the National Statistics Authority that the probability of a child born in the Philippines is a Filipino is more than 99.99%.

From 2010 to 2014, on a yearly average, records showed there were 1,766,046 children born to Filipino parents, as opposed to 1,301 children born in the Philippines to foreign parents.

“Thus, for that sample period, the ratio of non-Filipino children to natural born Filipino children is 1:1357. This means that the statistical probability that any child born in the Philippines would be a natural born Filipino is 99.93 percent,” Hilbay pointed out.

The Commission on Elections disqualified Poe on the grounds that she is not a natural-born Filipino, a requirement for presidential candidates.


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  1. mr. hibay, are you a lawyer? be factual based on the constitution no hypothsis. a natural born filipino citien are those born in the philippines with filipino parents and whose citizenship did not undergo proceedings. the parents of poe could not be ascertained, her citizenship underwent proceedings so, grace poe is a naturalized filipino citizen not a natural born filipino citizen. what is worse, is that she abandoned and denounce her filipino citizenship to become an american citizen because she does not want that her family will suffer here in the philippines.

    • Yes, a baby is 18 years old and can apply for naturalization, you’re from what planet again? Did you get the joke in the oral argument where a judge asked if a foundling can apply to be a foundling?

  2. asungot na pinoy on

    The Solicitor General is trying to convince the Supreme Court Justices on his “theories”. What is not known to the public, to include myself, is if the Sol Gen was paid cash for doing this or was promised something else that he cannot refuse. Or was he doing this for PNoy, because she is her secret candidate? Well, whatever the case maybe, these are just my personal theories and I am also excited to know the outcome or result of this event.

    • Svetlana Andayev on

      You can’t prove any of your suspicions. Just as I suspect you are for another candidate, and that’s why you want to belittle the Solicitor General, because he defended himself very well.

  3. opinionated na pinoy on

    Well, “It is safe to assume… and she has the intent to establish a domicile”… are the words of the SolGen when he was asked to speak at the SC. He went on to talk about “probability” and “statistics”, a percentage of certain things that can occur or the results of the things that have occurred. Last month I bought few lotto power ball tickets, hoping to hit the jackpot of $2 Billion, the biggest jackpot of lottery in U.S. history. Statisticians safely assumed a very tiny chance that anybody will hit the jackpot. However in the end, 3 people were the holders of the winning numbers. Therefore, nobody can safely assume on something that should be there but it is not or vice versa. Secondly, the word “intent”, used as “she has the intent to establish a domicile……If Manny Paquiao tells Kim Henares that he intended to pay his taxes 5 years ago and he should not pay late penalties because he had that “intent” to pay his taxes on time. He would go on to say about his integrity and his religion would not let him astray from the path of righteousness. I do NOT think Kim Henares would buy this explanation. The tax commissioner probably says ” just write me a check on how much you owed and get out of my face!”

    The Sol Gen insisted that the word “foundlings” were not specifically mentioned in the constitution because the delegates wanted to reduce or avoid redundancy, and it is already mentioned once and accepted, that foundlings are citizen of the country where they were found. On the issue of residency, He also said that in 2005, Grace Poe had the “intent” to establish a residency in the Philippines. Well I am amazed by the intelligence of the SolGen, his reasoning ability as a lawyer, and probably his IQ is as high as Einstein or Hawkings. However, I am one of those many people that disagree on the SolGen assessments. I would like to add that I am NOT a lawyer.

    I would suggest the “Manila Times” to ask a copy of Grace Poe’s last U.S. tax return from the U.S. IRS through U.S. Embassy, under “U.S. Freedom of Information Act”. Grace Poe is now a Filipino citizen aspiring for the highest office of the land and voters would like to know the truth. Also, get with the BIR and check when did Grace Poe started paying Philippine Taxes. This way, lawyers on both sides can start putting two and two together or argue to death.

  4. Pierre Noel Raspeguy on

    Talaga nga naman itong si Hilbay, oo. Hindi nga na approve yung proposal ni delegate Rafols noong 1934….. tapos Hilbay is now insisting that “Montinola and Roxas were able to convince their colleagues that there is no more need to expressly declare foundlings as Filipinos because they are explicitly recognized already.” — wala naman yun sa record ng 1934 ConCon. The recourse to what the framers intended is resorted to if there is an ambiguity or vagueness in the Constitution. There is none in who are considered NBFC. Llamanzares’ recourse is for a Constitutional amendment if she wants foundlings to be expressly treated as NBFCs.

  5. Again, Hilbay, one of Grace P. Llamanzares lawyers is basing his views on presumptions and assumptions. How can he say that Raflols and Montinola were able to convince all members of the convention to agree in their theory, was Hilbay present in that convention so he can affirm his theory? What other fallacies will talk about next week?