Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno on Tuesday said if foundlings are not considered natural-born Filipinos, Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares and others similarly situated would be considered second class citizens.
Sereno shared this insight during the continuation of the oral arguments on the petition to reverse the Commission on Elections’ disqualification of Poe from the presidential race.
The Chief Justice said that thousands of foundlings may lose their positions in government and scholarship grants simply because they do not know who their parents are.
Poe, a foundling, was disqualified because according to the Comelec, she is not a natural-born Filipino.
As Sereno questioned Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim, she read a list of positions in government that can only be occupied by natural-born citizens.
“If you are saying that foundlings are not natural-born citizens, have you thought about the impact on the rights of all foundlings?” she questioned Lim.
“The court now has to categorically answer the question about her (Poe’s) status, because the pronouncements we will make will affect so many others,” the Chief Justice noted.
“If I am going to say that a foundling is not a natural-born Filipino citizen, that they cannot hold thousands of offices that require natural-born citizens, any of those persons holding any of those positions who is alleged to be a foundling must be removed?” she asked.
“If your relative is a foundling, a petition for quo warranto may be brought against them to remove them from office, so the Solicitor General’s office must set up a special division to handle all the cases,” she opined.