SC urged to decide in favor of foundlings

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The Supreme Court should take into account the welfare of thousands of Filipino foundlings in deciding if Senator Grace Poe is qualified to run for president in next year’s elections.

“We don’t have yet a precedent on a foundling running for a public office. The basic issue is whether they are citizens of the Philippines. We have about 250,000 foundlings and if you say Senator Poe is not natural-born, then you are saying that these thousands of foundlings are not natural-born citizens,” Legarda said a forum in Quezon City yesterday.

She said a foundling is presumed a natural-born citizen. Hence, Poe is qualified to run for president.

Legarda claimed there is no need to prove Poe’s biological mother. She said Philippine laws say that a Filipino is considered natural-born if one of the parents is a Filipino.


“If you will require each foundling to prove that one of his or her parents is a Filipino, just imagine the enormous effort every foundling will exert notwithstanding the expense in looking for your parents,” she said.

Legarda said the SC must decide based on international laws that guarantee statehood to foundlings. And, Philippines is a signatory to these international laws.

Legarda is referring to 1954 United Nations Convention on Statelessness, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child. She said the 1987 Constitutions recognized these laws as laws of the land, as “generally accepted international laws.”

The two divisions of the Commission on Elections disqualified Poe from vying for higher public office for her failure to prove the 10-year-residency and the natural born requirements of the Constitution.

Poe will have to elevate the case before the Supreme Court, as her last recourse in her bid to the presidency after only three years in the senate.

The appeal is expected to be filed anytime this coming week, putting pressure to SC to decide quickly.

The 47-year-old senator is the adopted daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr. and actress Susan Roces.

The elder Poe died in December 2004, a few months after the elections where he ran and lost by a slim margin to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a controversy-marred polls.

The younger Poe, who had been living in the United States and had acquired American citizenship, returned to Manila and was appointed as head of the Movie and Television Review Board (MTRCB) by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

Poe topped the 2013 mid-term senatorial elections.

She was earlier being eyed by the administration-backed Liberal Party to tandem with its standard bearer, Manuel Roxas 2nd after pre-election surveys show her closing in on opposition standard bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Poe rejected the administration party’s offer and decided to gun for Malacañang as an independent. Her ratings further increased and eventually dislodged Binay. It was at this point when radio commentator Rizalito David petitioned the Senate Electoral Tribunal to nullify her victory in the 2013 elections on the ground that she failed to meet the constitutional requirements for the position.

David argued that for being a foundling with no known biological Filipino parents, Poe could not lay claim to being a natural-born citizen.

The same argument was used by four others in questioning her certificate of candidacy for President with the Commission on Elections.

The SET, in a 5-4 vote, had ruled to dismiss David’s petition while the two Comelec divisions ruled to cancel Poe’s COC.

The SET ruling is under appeal with the Supreme Court while the other disqualification cases are being reviewed by the Comelec en banc.

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30 Comments

  1. Bakit si Susan Roces ayaw magsalita alam naman niya kung sino talaga ang magulang ni DIS GRACE. Dapat magsalita alam naman ng nakakarami kung sino talaga ang tunay na magulang ni dis grace lalo ka na Susan Roces higit na ikaw nakakaalam kung sino ang magulang niya. Bakit di pa DNA sila dalawa ng kapatid mo si Rosemarie matapos ang issue ito.

  2. Carlos/Innocent,

    Brethren, I agree that the Filipino people should be wise(r) voters and not rely on paid surveys. We need a meritocratic technocracy. When voters are uninformed, in a real democracy, the elected officials will be a relfection of the “people’s will”. We will get what we deserve.

    But I do take issue with your statement “somebody must be perfect”. If we do SWOT analysis on everyone, no one is.

    We have had economists, generals (and lots of lawyers too) and professional polticians lead this country, and what a mess it is in!

    So let the Grace run and let the People live with their decision (right or wrong).

    Unless we just want a benevolent (?) dictatorship like LKY’s economically-affluent but poiltically-shcackled Singapore?

  3. Daniel B. Laurente on

    The Supreme Court only interpret the law of the land and other derivatives laws. It has no power to alter or amend the existing laws. Urge the Congress to amend the Contitutuon in favor of the foundlings and its protection. Don’t corrupt the minds of the Supreme Court Justices.

  4. One has to be natural-born somewhere. In Poe’s case, the odds are she is natural-born. If she was a nobody who simply wanted to clarify her citizenship status, she probably would be given that benefit of the doubt. It would be up to somebody else to challenge and take up the burden of proof by showing that her parents are NOT Filipino.

    But Poe is running for president, and if the question of her status is unclear then there will always be a segment of our country who, if she is elected on the back of a legal stalemate, will never recognize her. A prescription for social unrest. Duterte is right – we cannot have a president whose natural-born status is presumed.

    If Poe truly loves her country, she cannot let her countrymen go through this painful process. This process which divides us. This process which forces people to focus on her personal, individual problem instead of discussing real national issues that affect all of us.

    For love of country, she should not wait till all the legal processes are exhausted. From the looks of it, her disqualification looms larger everyday. For love of country, Poe should give up her ambition now. If she is proven ultimately to be correct, then she has all the time and the unqualified right to run once more in a future election. For love of country, Poe should consider withdrawing now.

    • For God’s sake di nyo ba alam ang mga pinagsasabi nyo at gusto nyong patigilin si Grace Poe? Eh tama nga ang ginagawa nya ng madesisyunan na ng Supreme Court kung ano ba talaga ang katayuan ng mga foundlings sa Pilipinas. Makasarili kasi kayo kaya gusto nyo mawala si Grace Poe dahil may kandidato kayong gustong manalo. tsk tsk kulang sa pag iisip kayo.

  5. Why does Llamanzares Poe insist on running for president? Is she really that qualified based on her work experiences and educational background? She is too confident just because she was No. 1 in the last elections for senator.Did she not win because of her adoptive father’s name and not her ‘real’ name since she was already married to Llamanzares? She takes for granted the Filipino people; that they, too, are worth a better president after these mediocre immediate term of a president.

    First of all, her sincere intentions are not enough. She may not be that corrupt but that’s because she is a neophyte. The mere fact that she wants to continue what her adoptive father has begun is NOTHING to crow about! He might have done good deeds as a private person, but not in public service. She’s just too presumptuous and ‘cocky’. She thinks that because her experience and education were ‘American’ that her mediocre qualifications are already super, How naive can she be about her lack of ability to govern a ‘third’ world country like the Philippines.

    The loss of a Llamanzares Poe in the Senate and her disqualification to run for President are gains for the country and people.

    It is not a questions of being born a Filipino; it’s a question of whether she was a ‘NATURAL BORN” Filipino or not. True, she was a foundling, but nothing has been done to validate her being a foundling which is an act ‘NECESSARY” to qualify her as a foundling and be considered as a natural born Filpino citizen. But, then again, the Philippines was NOT a signatory to the foundling provisions of the U.N. when she was found.

    It is not a question of discriminating against foundlings in general. It is a matter of strict adherence to the provisions of the Philippine Constitutions on “natural born” Filipino citizens, and not making a “mockery” of the same provisions just to accommodate a ‘perjurer’..Her being a senator should not even be a factor to qualify, but a better factor to disqualify having lied in her COC apps. Simply, the RECORDS SHOULD SPEAK FOR THEMSELVES.

    May God bless the Philippines; may God bless the Filipino people!

  6. Annie Marasigan on

    1. I agree to Ms. Loren Legarda. The issue about “citizenship” is not limited to Senator Grace Poe’s alone, whether or not it will make a great impact to all the foundlings living in the same nation. Senator Poe only serves as the icon of every foundling who will soon to aim to be a lawyer, a doctor and a public servant but will be hurdled as well by same question: their citizenship.

    How can we require thousand numbers of foundlings to find their parents just to prove that they are indeed natural born, when once in their lives their parents chose to left them? We’re just making it hard for the foundlings like Senator Grace to move on, be firm on their stances and be a better version of themselves if we redundantly bringing back the worst scenario of their lives… “Abot-kamay na ang layunin, pero dahil sila ay foundling, kailangan muna nilang balikan ang isa sa pinakamasakit na yugto ng buhay nila; at yun yung minsan silang iniwan ng taong akala nila’y mananatili sa tabi nila at gagabay patungo sa tagumpay…” They must prove first that they are natural born citizen. Discriminatory…

    • I disagree. What if this fondling have blond hair, green eyes has what the COMELEC 1st division had stated? It will be in conflict of being a naturalized Filipino citizen. Just as simple as that. Hindi niyo ba ito naintiendihan? Grapoe, you better accept the COMELEC decision and move on. Huwag kang masyadong ambisyusa.

    • Every civil servant should know to obey the Constitution. The best way to do that for eleksiyon-2016 is for Grace Poe, Loren Legarda, Bam Aquino and everyone else to request President Noynoy to suspend the Constitution . With suspended constitution, Grace Poe can be candidato-Presidente. Being super-popular, she wins, and so Grace can lead a cha-cha-cha to amend Pilipinas constitution so that “jus solis” and “jus sanguinis” will both mean “natural born Filipino citizen”. (** Unless, of course, PresiNoynoy having suspended Constitution decides to stay another 6 years. ** )

  7. Here is another one, Legarda, in the same league with Llamanzares. They both show or demonstrate a degree of stupidity or at lease the lack of common sense. My gosh, how did we let this disaster pestered our legislative branch? Just because they are fair-skinned, media recognized, popular enough or well to do, they can occupy seats in the senate. This is craziness! The electorate should bear some responsibility. We need to weed out these incompetent personalities now if we want to improve our country. We owe it to our children and our children’s children. Anyone listening?

    • If the Supreme Court will be and can be persuaded by this plea and will not rule according to the Rule of Law with, then they need to be disbanded. We don’t need a bunch of Judges who can be persuaded by Senatorial plea. Rule base on facts of the case and in accordance with the existing law. How come nobody want to come out and proclaimed, ” We are the parent of Grace”? Maybe His real father is already dead, but what about Her Mom. Where is she? What kind of Mom will let her daughter suffer trying to prove her identity.?

  8. Dominador Reyes on

    This is a very critical juncture in Philippine history. The Supreme Court must now rise above all else because the entire future of the Country rests on their monumental decision. The implications of a wrong decision on this question are too epic and devastating to contemplate!

  9. Loren Legarda is a super-great friend, but she is also tamad. For her kumare Grace, Loren wants Pilipinas Constitution suspended so that Grace can be allowed to run for presidente-Pilipinas. Pero this is katamaran — the correct way is to amend Pilipinas Constitution so that for Senate,Vice President and President,then “just sanguinis”and”justsolis”become acceptable. Or…. amend so that “just sanguinis” and”jus solis” is for “natural born Filipino citizen”. What is Constitution for, (Loren says) if it can’t be ignored for a friend?

  10. What Legarda wants is for the Supreme Court to amend the Constitution on who are NBFC —- no can do because that’s clearly judicial legislation. The SC knows better than that. She, of all people, should know that the Supreme Court will not stoop that low. If the Constitution needs amending to correct a so-called “injustice” to foundlings , the constitution itself provides the mechanisms so that it can be changed — but not through a ruling by the Supreme Court just to accommodate the blind ambition of Llamanzares.

  11. What kind of argument is this Person expounding, the Provision on the Consttution needs definitive language to mean exactly what it should be, so fixed it. Do not use “pa-awa” style, not all foundlings are running for President.

    • Cesar Camua Martin on

      At this point in time only one, a former American citizen who abandoned her Filipino citizenship and then re-acquired it thru lies and deceit just to become a Senator of our beloved Philippines and now wants to the president of our motherland by appealing to sentiments gained by irresponsible propaganda paid for by oligarchs and forced unto naive poor Filipinos by heartless main steam media.

  12. Legarda, a non-lawyer, does not know what she was talking about. It is better to keep silent and be suspected as a nincompoop than speak and erase all doubt.

    • The Ilocano pride is already dead, too late to prove if he was the father, but Bongbong is willing to share his DNA. For what ever reason, she does not want to do DNA match with him. Bakit kaya?

    • I guess she will still be disqualified by SC. Change and ratify the Constitution to make foundlings a natural born citizens of the Philippines.

  13. Carlos de Castro on

    if every decision of any law agencies will be based on awa(foudling in the case of Poe) then there is no need for us to make laws and appoint people who will interpret them. If anybody wants to head any from of organization, then that somebody must be perfect. Its about time the Filipino people should be considered a wise voter rather than a stupid voter, who just vote to whois leading the survey. Here in the USA, Ms. Poe will be considered a nuisance candidate,

    f

  14. Folks who believe Loren Legarda maybe do not know that she is not a lawyer and should stop acting like one. She is a media personality, a newscaster who used her popularity for selfish ends. Folks should remember that she is also accused of corruption by selling her PDAF/DAP to Napoles and others. What she is saying in this article showcases her ignorance of the law. Why the public elected her to be a lawmakers is beyond plenty of Filipinos, just like electing Sotto, Villar, Bam Aquino, who does not know anything about what the laws of the land are all about.