There are 4,350 registered foundlings in the country and Sen. Grace Poe is not one of them, a lawyer disclosed Saturday.
“She is not registered. It is a pre-requisite. You must be registered to avail of legal presumption as natural born,” Manuelito Luna told a news forum in Quezon City.
Luna is the counsel of radio commentator and presidential candidate Rizalito David who sought to nullify Poe’s proclamation as one of the winners in the 2013 senatorial elections.
He also filed an electoral offense complaint against Poe before the Commission on Elections. In both cases, David assailed Poe’s claim that she’s a natural-born Filipino citizen.
David argued that being a foundling with no known biological Filipino parents, Poe has no basis to claim being a natural-born Filipino.
The Senate Electoral Tribunal had voted 5-4 dismissing David’s petition. The case is under appeal.
According to Luna, the Philippine Statistics Authority which serves as the national civil registry requires the registration of a foundling before the Office of the Civil Registrar of the city or municipality where the child was found by the finder within 30 days from the date of finding.
In Poe’s case, he added, there was no registration whatsoever anywhere in the country.
He said 4,350 foundlings were registered with the PSA – which was earlier called the National Census and Statistics Office and the National Statistics Office — from 1950 to the present.
“Not one Grace Poe has been registered,” he claimed.
Poe was reportedly found abandoned at the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral in Iloilo in 1967. She was eventually adopted by celebrity couple, Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.
Banking on the popularity of her late adoptive father, Poe ran for senator and topped the 2013 mid-term elections. She has filed a certificate of candidacy for President in next year’s general elections.
Luna said there is still hope that the case filed by David with the SET would be reversed.
If not, he added, they will go to the Supreme Court.
All of the three justice-members of the SET voted in favor of David’s petition.
“We are hopeful of victory before the SC, a better avenue to get justice. I really felt bad with the decision because some senators looked at the case at bar as not doctrinal, a disrespect to the Constitution,” he said.
David for his part, said he is hoping that the SET will suspend the five-vote requirement once a voting is held.
It could be recalled that SET voted 5-4 to junk the disqualification case thrown against Poe.
Those who voted in favor of the neophyte senator were Senators Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar, Paolo Benigno “Bum” Aquino 4th, and Vicente Sotto 3rd.
Those who voted granting David’s petition were Senior Justice Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro, Associate Justice Arturo Brion, and Senator Nancy Binay.
The public wants to know the position of Cayetano, now that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has filed his certificate of candidacy for President.
Cayetano’s brother, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano is running for vice president in tandem with Duterte.
It could be recalled that Duterte for some time refused to join the presidential derby only to change his mind after the SET has ruled in favor of Poe.
Duterte said he could not allow an American to be elected president.
Poe had been leading the surveys.
Duterte topped a recent survey in Metro Manila.