PRESIDENTIAL aspirant and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has warned that the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn twin rulings by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) canceling Sen. Grace Poe’s certificate of candidacy would create a “chaotic condition” for the 2016 polls.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Duterte said the SC ruling set aside the requirement of the Constitution that candidates for President must be natural-born Filipino citizens.
Poe’s critics said that because she is a foundling, the citizenship of her parents remain a mystery, thus there are doubts about her being a “natural-born” Filipino.
A lawyer who had served as prosecutor before becoming Davao City mayor, Duterte said the SC decision goes against law-school lessons.
“I respect it, but I don’t agree with it kasi maski magtanong ka sa kahit sinong abugado, isang semestro ‘yan, political law, kabaliktaran sa lahat ng sinasabi ng mga professors [Even if you ask any lawyer, we took political law for one semester, and the decision is the opposite of what the professors taught us],” he explained.
In law school, Duterte said, he and his colleagues were taught that a natural-born Filipino is one who is a Filipino the moment he is out of his mother’s body.
“Lahat kami ng abogado diyan, tutol sa Supreme Court. ‘Natural-born,’ paglabas mo sa tiyan ng nanay mo, Pilipino ka na. That is natural-born, natural ang pagka-Pilipino [All lawyers disagree with the Supreme Court. Natural-born means the moment you leave your mother’s body, you are a Filipino. Your being a Filipino is natural],” he further explained.
The Comelec disqualified Poe on December 23, 2015, saying she had committed “material misrepresentation” when she claimed in her certificate of candidacy that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and has resided in the Philippines for at least 10 years.
The Supreme Court, however, reversed the Comelec’s decision on March 8 and allowed her to run for President.
“It will create a very chaotic condition because it is the exact opposite of what we had studied [in law school],” Duterte said.
“The Supreme Court says she can run. They did not say it’s because she is a Filipino or because she has complied with the residency requirement. Wala [None of that]. That’s very sweeping,” he added.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE