• Radioman questions ruling on Poe case

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    The camp of radio commentator Rizalito David is asking the Senate Electoral Tribunal to reconsider its decision to dismiss a disqualification case he filed against Sen. Grace Poe, as he questioned the soundness of the majority vote of five senators.

    The tribunal earlier voted 5-4 to dismiss David’s quo warranto petition wherein he asked that Poe’s victory in the 2013 elections be nullified for her failure to meet the citizenship requirement for those running for senator.

    The 1987 Constitution requires candidates for senator to be natural-born citizens.
    David argued that being a foundling with no known biological parents, Poe could not prove she was natural-born.

    The senators who voted to dismiss the complaint said they made the decision in consideration of the rights of abandoned children or foundlings in accordance with international laws.

    In a 16-page motion for reconsideration filed on Monday, David said, among others, that the electoral tribunal “gravely abused its discretion when it held that respondent enjoys the disputable presumption that she was born of Filipinos.”

    He also argued that since the Constitution itself requires that a senator be natural-born, the respondent is duty-bound to establish that she fulfills the qualification by showing competent proof such as positive DNA results.

    “Thus, respondent’s reliance upon a legal presumption is baseless,” David said.
    Under Section 1, Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, a person is a Filipino citizen if he meets the following: Citizens of the country at the time of the 1935 Constitution’s adoption, those born in the country of foreign parents who before the Constitution’s adoption had been elected to public office in the Philippines, those whose fathers are Filipino citizens, those whose mothers are Filipino citizens and elected Philippine citizenship and those who are naturalized.

    “The above-enumeration is exclusive as to preclude the consideration of other categories, i.e., foundlings as citizens of the Philippines. And this is consistent with the principle ‘Inclusio unius est exclusion alterius [The inclusion of one is the exclusion of another].’ It was, therefore, reversible error for the tribunal to declare respondent a natural-born Filipino citizen on the basis of presumption/s,” David said.

    He told reporters that the senators gave more weight to presumption over facts and put primacy on international law over the Constitution.

    His camp wrote in the motion for reconsideration, “Shockingly, the majority impermissibly subordinated the 1935 Charter to non-binding, international declarations or conventions on statelessness and foundlings and inapplicable general principles of law as well, in order to accommodate respondent.”

    “This posturing, coupled with their public declarations, evinced that the votes cast by Senators [Loren] Legarda, [Vicente] Sotto [3rd], [Pia] Cayetano, [Cynthia] Villar and [Paolo Benigno] Aquino 4th were based on personal or political considerations, thereby violating the caveat annunciated in the Lerias case that the members of electoral tribunals should uphold judicial, not political, integrity. It is not difficult to see that the five sacrificed the rule of law and the Constitution as well in the altar of political expediency, rendering their decision patently null and void,” David said.

    Moreover, his camp argued that Poe could not have reacquired Philippine citizenship under Republic Act 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.

    “Only natural-born citizens who had lost their citizenship through naturalization in foreign countries can reacquire the same under Republic Act 9225,” David said, maintaining that Poe is not a natural-born citizen “and not even a Philippine citizen.”

    “If a former naturalized Filipino citizen cannot reacquire Philippine citizenship, what more a foundling, like respondent, who cannot establish blood relation to a Filipino biological father?” he pointed out.

    David’s camp then argued that the execution of her affidavit of renunciation did not qualify her for appointive position and elective office, saying she was stateless when she renounced her US citizenship because she is a foundling, not a citizen at birth.

    Poe also recanted her oath of renunciation when she allegedly used her passport in travels to and from the US in 2006 to 2010 after renouncing US citizenship, it added.

    David’s camp then asked the Senate Electoral Tribunal to reconsider its decision and grant their petition for quo warranto.

    2 tribunal members might reconsider
    David said he believes that Cayetano and Aquino will change their position on the case.
    As a lawyer, Cayetano fully understands the Constitution as well as the international customary laws they used as basis in coming up with a decision, according to the radioman.

    “The fact that she did not submit her written opinion simply means that she still has some reservations,” David said.

    Aquino may also reconsider his position on the case since the issue is not about principles and conscience but a legal and constitutional question that needs a legal answer, he added.

    Sen. Francis Escudero, Poe’s running mate, also expressed his concern over the possibility that some members of the tribunal, who earlier voted in favor of Poe, may change their mind.

    But he said if those members are really for justice, they will uphold their earlier decision on the case.

    Political analyst Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) disagreed with David position about Poe’s case as a purely legal question.

    The reason why the tribunal is composed of three Supreme Court justices and six senators is that the issues they are handling also involves politics.

    “They may not admit it but the sentiments of the people play a big factor in the issue because there is a immediate impact on public opinion, but I’m not saying that it is just a question of partisan politics,” Casiple said.

    He added that David and those criticizing the ruling of the Senate Electoral Tribunal could insist that the case of Poe only involves legal question because the fact that it has something to do with next year’s elections makes it also a political issue.

    “Why is he [David] only bringing up this issue [now]? The [disqualification]case is suspect precisely because it was only filed after Senator Poe declared her intention to run [for President]in 2016,” Casiple said.

    David, he added, was also a senatorial candidate during the 2013 mid-term elections and he has all the rights then to question Poe’s citizenship and yet he did not.

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    5 Comments

    1. Compare these 5 senators to the senators of yesteryears. What kind of do we have now? One from Eat Bulaga, a comedian, one from a rich clan of 2 stupid presidents, another one from the media who became famous being the other woman of an ex-convict governor, a realator/former senator`s wife, known of being so rich and a lawyer who does not understand the laws. The of them are recipient of the of the Corona BRIBE. None even one of them posses half the guts of senators elected before Cory “the blank headed” president. In tagalog…kahit sino-sino pwedena…kahit baliw at dayuhan pwede ng maging president ng Pinas!

    2. We will not vote those 5 senators who favor grace poe.. in this issue. Those 5 senators will be their last year of their terms. No more celebrities, personalities, media people at the senate… Wala nmn kayong pinaggagawa … wala kayong silbi sa bayan, hindi stage or tv studio ang senate at congress…

    3. Casiple pointed out two active pointers, Poe’s legal qualification for Senator and Poe’s qualification to run as President, in order for Casiple to hook up his argument as being political and therefore, partisan. Legal qualification or the right to enter politic is a prerequisite to become a politician and Poe is not yet a politician, a politician to be, so its all legal requirement to become a politician. If it is a question of legal or question of law, therefore, it requires a legal answer or must be based on the law. So if the answer cited is out side the law, must have been incorrect. So, unfortunately, Casiple’s answer is incorrect, it is wrong, or Casiple’s argument not answering the legal question, therefore, Casiple’s point must be rejected or Casiple is absolutely wrong. Reasonable person understand that.

    4. “Political analyst Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER) disagreed with David position about Poe’s case as a purely legal question.”

      Laos na itong si Casiple, even before he became famous with his political analysis. Justice Paras in Lerias versus HRET said members of Electoral Tribunal should decide the case with judicial integrity and Justice Brion in his dissenting opinion of this instant case said the case of Poe brought before the SET is justiciable. What interpretation can you deduce from that except for the legal question.

      He further said: “They may not admit it but the sentiments of the people play a big factor in the issue because there is a immediate impact on public opinion, but I’m not saying that it is just a question of partisan politics,”

      Rather, it was the sentiment of the dubious survey that played a big factor in the Senators’ decision. The decision was not met favorably by the public. You’ll notice negative reactions/comments are coming in and it outnumbered Poe’s trolls 4 to1. Feeling the heat, Senators Sotto and Bam Aquino came out in defense of their of their position.

    5. Well done, Mr. David and Atty Luna. The sooner a decision is rendered on the Motion for Reconsideration, the faster the case can be forwarded to the Supreme Court. The Gang of Five gravely abused their discretion in deciding the disqualification case of Mrs. Grace Poe Llamanzares on the basis of political motives rather than on the basis of the Philippines Constitution. They showed their ignorance of the law and they threw into the toilet a document which they had sworn to uphold as legislators, and which reflects the will of the people.

      I doubt whether Senators Aquino and/or Cayetano will “reverse”. I do not think these two have the integrity and decency to admit the error and the wrong that they have just committed. In all likelihood, they will stick to their decision and rationalize even more their lack of knowledge of the Philippine Constitution by one reason or another. They, together with the other three senators, should be kicked out of the senate as soon as possible. The Philippines deserves better senators.