The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that Sen. Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen, junking a petition to remove her from the Senate.
With a vote of 9 against 3, the high court affirmed the findings of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), which declared that Poe had the right to stay on as a senator.
The SC found no grave abuse of discretion in the November 17, 2015 decision of the SET, as well as a December 3, 2015 resolution.
“Private respondent Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares is a natural-born Filipino citizen qualified to hold office as Senator of the Republic,” the SC said.
The petition for quo warranto filed by Rizalito David must be junked for lack of merit, it added.
Poe, in a statement, welcomed the ruling and said David’s petition was “baseless.”
“I laud the Court in affirming my status, and in effect all other foundlings in the country, as natural-born Filipinos, with full rights to serve the nation. I sincerely hope that this will put the issue to rest, and that all foundlings be given due recognition each of us deserves,” she said.
Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe, Mariano del Castillo and Bienvenido Reyes dissented, while Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion took no part as they were members of the SET that ruled on the Poe case.
The SC argued that the SET ruling was in keeping with a faithful and exhaustive reading of the Constitution.
The burden of proof lied with David, and he failed to prove his case, the high tribunal said.
It stressed that Poe’s status as a foundling did not establish a prima facie case in favor of the petitioner.
While Poe’s foundling status did not establish the identity of her biological parents, it did not automatically mean that her father and mother were not Filipinos.