She’s not natural-born, and she lied under oath

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IT took a “quo warranto” (“by which warrant”) suit by Kapatiran party member and 2013 senatorial candidate Rizalito David before the Senate Electoral Tribunal last week to compel Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares to finally say something about her being constitutionally disqualified from being a senator or from aspiring for higher office on the ground of lack of citizenship or legal residence.

Having repeatedly taken up the subject in this space before anyone else did, I was beginning to feel she had decided to play dead. Then the suit came, and she spoke.

“I am a Filipino by birth, abode and choice,” she said.

It was a headline-grabbing quote, but it completely missed the point.The issue is not whether Mrs. Llamanzares is a Filipino or not, but rather whether she is a “natural-born Filipino” or not. And the truth is that she is not a natural-born Filipino by birth, which is the only way one could become a natural-born citizen, especially where citizenship is conferred by blood. One cannot be a natural-born citizen by abode or choice. Either way would be absurd.


Not being a natural-born citizen from birth, Mrs. Llamanzares did not become natural-born after that. She is not a natural-born citizen now. After renouncing her allegiance to the Republic to become a citizen of the United States, she has now renounced her US citizenship to reacquire her Philippine citizenship. But not being a former natural-born citizen, her reacquisition of Philippine citizenship appears to be null and void.

This affects her residency status. Not being legally a Filipino, she cannot claim to have lived in the Philippines as a citizen for six years and six months or for any length of time before the senatorial election of May 13, 2013. This is grievous enough. But even more sordid than all this, Mrs. Llamanzares has lied under oath about her personal circumstances. She provides the smoking gun herself.

Why is it necessary for her to be a “natural-born” citizen? Can’t she just be simply a Filipino citizen, without any such qualification? Why? Because this is what Section 3, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution commands. “No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.”

The meaning of this provision is clear to anyone who understands simple English. There are no two ways of understanding it. It needs no interpretation. The only term that needs some explaining is “natural-born citizen of the Philippines.” It is a legal term, but we do not need a lawyer, a judge, the Comelec, the SET (Senate Electoral Tribual) or the Supreme Court to explain it. Section 2, Article IV of the Constitution does it for us: “Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship…” There are no two ways of understanding it either.

Under the 1935 Constitution, which was in force and in effect when Mrs. Llamanzares was born, a child must have a Filipino father in order to be a citizen of the Philippines from birth. But nobody knew the infant Grace’s father or mother. As far as the public knows, the newborn was found abandoned inside a church in Jaro, Iloilo on September 3, 1968. She was adopted by the actor Fernando Poe Jr. and his actress wife Jesusa Sonora, popularly known as Susan Roces.

They gave her a good education in Manila and later sent her to pursue her studies in Boston. While abroad, she got married to an American citizen, bore three American children, and became an American citizen herself. They became one happy American family. The fact that Mrs. Llamanzares was a foundling never caused her to suffer discomfort or discrimination anywhere. She was genuinely admired, even envied, for her personal achievements. One of the greatest figures in salvation history was also a foundling—Moses.

But what about her citizenship? Under the Constitution, she could not be a Filipino because nobody knew the nationality of her father. Although her adoptive parents were both Filipinos, the court has ruled in certain cases that adoption does not confer citizenship. So she could not be a Filipino just because FPJ was a Filipino. Some lawyers argue that she was born a Filipino by virtue of Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, which provides: “A foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be considered to have been born within that territory of parents possessing the nationality of that State.”

How I wish that could help! After all, the generally accepted principles of international law become part of the law of our land. But this Convention did not enter into force until 1975, when Mrs. Llamanzares was already seven years old, and the Philippine government, according to a memorandum from the Department of Justice, acceded to it only in 2011, when she was already 43 years old and chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. However, the Department of Foreign Affairs has been unable to confirm the DOJ report, and there is no record of the President having ratified the Convention with the concurrence of the Senate. So it cannot be invoked to cover Mrs. Llamanzares’ case.

There is no doubt or dispute that Grace Poe Llamanzares was not a Filipino from birth. But for her to pursue her studies in the United States she had to become a Filipino citizen in order to be issued a Philippine passport. When and how did this happen? Who facilitated it? This is the first mystery that must be unraveled. What “legal” or “illegal” process allowed the stateless young person to acquire a Philippine passport? The offense, if it entailed an offense, may have proscribed by now, but the truth must be revealed.

Whatever process was employed, it merely conferred upon Mrs. Llamanzares the status of being a Filipino, not that of a natural-born Filipino. That very process deprived her of any claim to being “natural-born,” pursuant to Sec. 2 of Article IV, quoted earlier.

Now, by whatever means she became a Filipino, her citizenship was totally extinguished when she renounced and abjured entirely and absolutely any allegiance and fidelity to the Philippine republic to become a citizen of the United States. In 2006, two years after the sudden death of her adoptive father, she decided to repatriate to the Philippines. She filed a petition “for retention and/or reacquisition of Philippine citizenship under Republic Act 9225.”

Known as the “Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003,” RA 9225 provides that “any provision of the law to the contrary notwithstanding, natural-born citizens by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have reacquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the (prescribed) oath of allegiance to the Republic.” The operative term is “natural-born citizens” who have become naturalized citizens of a foreign country.

This is reiterated in the implementing rules under Bureau of Immigration Memorandum Circular No. AFF-04-01, which provides, “These rules shall apply to former natural-born citizens of the Philippines, as defined by Philippine law and jurisprudence, who have lost their citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country.” A former natural-born citizen of the Philippines, who was born in the Philippines, shall submit the NSO-authenticated copy of his or her birth certificate as proof of his/her former “natural-born” status, the circular says.

Since Mrs. Llamanzares is not a “former natural born citizen” who lost her citizenship through naturalization as a US citizen, she is not covered by the provisions of RA 9225. What proof did she present to prove that she was a former natural-born citizen? Did she submit the mandated NSO-authenticated copy of her birth certificate, or was this requirement waived?

Clearly the oath she took to “reacquire” her citizenship was null and void. Now, having renounced and lost her US citizenship during the second quarter of 2012, according to the Federal Register, the Daily Journal of the US government, and having no valid Philippine citizenship, she now appears to be officially stateless. She needs to go through the normal process of applying to become a Filipino citizen, or get an act of Congress.

But this may be just the tip of the iceberg. For Mrs. Llamanzares has committed serious misrepresentations under oath, which make her liable for perjury and for other crimes. In her 2006 notarized petition for retention and/or reacquisition of Philippine citizenship under RA 9225, she declares:

“I am a natural-born Philippine citizen, born on Sept. 3, 1968 at Iloilo City to Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, a Filipino citizen, and Jesusa Sonora Poe, a Filipino citizen; I became an American national on Oct. 18, 2001, thereby lost my Philippine citizenship. Pursuant thereto, I am a holder of a US passport with Passport No. 017037793, issued on Dec. 19, 2001 in Washington.”

The first part is a complete misrepresentation, which contradicts what she had publicly proclaimed. This obviously misled the immigration authorities who acted favorably on her fraudulent petition. As she herself had publicly admitted, she was born on Sept. 3, 1968 of unknown parents, and not to the Poe couple who were married only on Dec. 25, 1968, three months after her birth. Moreover, Susan Roces never conceived nor gave birth to a single child.

Now, even if Mrs. Llamanzares happened to be a former natural-born citizen, the fact that she became a US citizen in 2001 places her outside the coverage of RA 9225. For the only ones covered by the law, who are allowed to retain their Philippine citizenship after becoming citizens of another state, are natural-born Filipinos who become citizens of a foreign country after—not before—-the law took effect in 2003.

How life indeed loves a jest! (Cyrano de Bergerac.)

In reporting David’s petition, some news iyems erroneously identified the petitioner as my former Senate chief of staff (I sat there from 1992 to 2001), and insinuated that I had something to do with his petition, as an alleged service to Vice President Binay, should Mrs. Llamanzares’s be unseated from the Senate and disqualified from running for higher office. This is high-grade speculation.

Lito David worked for me as an executive assistant and political officer from 1992 to 1996, but he has since risen on his own, and is completely his own man. He has not only supported my position on Mrs. Llamanzares’s grand swindle, but has brought it to the next level. He has my full support, and I wish him success. His success would be the triumph of the Constitution.

I have taken up this issue when nobody else was doing it, not because I wanted any politician to benefit from it, but because a serious wrong has been committed against the Filipino people, and its perpetrators seemed confident they could get away with murder. Binay had nothing to do with it. I campaigned with him in 2010, and helped him in international affairs from 2010 to 2012, but I have never been part of his political machine. If he or Mar Roxas or Bongbong Marcos benefits from what I am doing, that would be an unintended consequence. Otherwise, I am merely trying to do my bit to contribute to the conscience of the nation.

fstatad@gmail.com

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80 Comments

  1. CESAR MASCARINA on

    I Grace Poe is allowed to run for president in 2016 and wins then we will have an American first gentleman and first family.

  2. Danny Cascolan on

    And those who by virtue of R.A. 9225 of the dual citizenship, are deemed filipinos but not with a ‘natural born’ status. The status is ‘reacquired’ by law citizenship. To follow that there was operation of law effected ( see definition of ‘natural born’ again in the constitution, then ‘reacquired’ status is already a naturalization in effect and philosophy. So understand now that Poe is now a ‘naturalised’ filipino citizen, not a ‘natural born’ filipino citizen anymore (as I have stretched it to even if she was – even if she was no foundling ), else read and understand my previous comments again and also see where you skipped logic, conveniently it seems just to get your trojan to corrupt integrity of our laws and principles behind our laws meant to protect filipinos and our nation.
    Perhaps you may ask again, why you have not heard that before ..

    Ah you did say ‘former natural born’ and I did say take for granted it was, but now its a naturalised reacquired status by virtue of operation in law, you might have known the laws in our constitution states that only ‘natural born’ citizens are allowed to run for those delicate positions. So wheres your logic of law?
    Comprende na ba un?
    Definitely laws generally for sane nations logically are saying , that naturalized citizens cant take over the helm of a nation, that it is immoral and prohibits so for the protection of that country’s people and national being. Simply put in U.S., Vietnam etc. only ‘natural born’citizens got the right. Simply for example it cant be a naturalised chinese by history of citizenship to become Prime Minister of Japan.

  3. Thank you for pursuing this matter, Mr. Tatad. This issue is a matter of public good and public interest.The Philippines is either a nation of laws or not. No one is above the law, and Mrs. Grace Poe has to prove that she is constitutionally qualified and eligible to sit as a senator of the Philippines.

    Kudos and many thanks again to Mr. Rizalito David – the first and right now the only one who stepped up to officially challenge Mrs. Poe’s eligibility. Apart from his right to file a petition as a concerned citizen, it is even better that he ran as a senatorial candidate in the 2013 elections. He obviously has “standing” to challenge Mrs. Poe.

    So far, Mrs. Poe seems to invoke RA 9225 as the basis for her claim that she is a natural-born Filipino. Unfortunately, as mentioned in the article above, this law (“Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003) is not applicable to her situation. A re-reading of Section 3 of this Act (which became effective on August 26, 2003), shows it applies to two categories of natural born citizens: a) those who lost their citizenship by becoming naturalized citizens of other countries prior to the August 26, 2003, and those who lost their citizenship after August 26, 2003. By taking an oath of allegiance to the Philippines in a prescribed manner, those belonging to the first category can reacquire their citizenship, those in the second category can retain their citizenship. For both categories, however, the first requirement to be satisfied is that one must be a natural born citizen. As a foundling (defined as an abandoned child with parents unknown), Mrs Poe, can in no way be considered as being a natural born Filipino at the moment of birth as “jus sanguinis” or blood descent determines natural born status in the Philippines.

    Some commenters/lawyers have stated that that Mrs. Poe’s challenger Mr. David must prove that her unknown parents were indeed not Filipinos; i.e., that they were foreigners. The implication here is that Mr. David has to come up with documents showing who Grace true foreign parents were. To me this is unnecessary and irrelevant. The fact is that Mrs. Poe admits she was a foundling is sufficient evidence that constitutionally, she can in no way be considered as a “natural born” Filipino citizen (see section 2, Article 4 of the 1987 Constitution). All Mr David has to do is collect and present as evidence all those published newspaper articles and interviews where she often reiterates her foundling origin or story. He can also as witnesses the authors of those articles to confirm what Mrs. Poe said during the interviews.

    I do not think that the general principles of the specific UN conventions being bandied about by various lawyers can trump or supersede specific provisions of Philippine domestic law, especially where the Philippines is not even a signatory to the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. In fact, even when a country has signed or ratified the convention, it may make certain reservations concerning nationality or citizenship. For example, Belgium stated – when it ratified or signed the Convention – that its own domestic laws will determine who is a natural born Belgian.

    Right now, based on all available information, including legal decisions relevant to the issue at hand, one can conclude that the only way that Mrs. Poe could have acquired or reacquired Filipino citizenship is by going through the process of naturalization prior to accepting the chairmanship of MCTR Board.

    This issue of Mrs. Poe’s citizenship and residency will most likely end up in the Supreme Court. Time is of the essence. Mr. David and his supporters should now be preparing for the elevation of his petition to this court.

    As for Mrs. Poe’s claim that 20 million Pinoys voted for her as senator (the implication being the people have spoken, so it does not matter whether she lied or misrepresented herself), this is unacceptable because at the time of the 2003 election, very few voters knew and were even aware that she was not a natural born Filipino. Assuming that the election had been “clean” (which is doubtful), she won because she used her maiden name “Poe”, and not her married name of “Llamanzares”. Does she think she won on the basis of her competency or merit?

    Finally, I find it odd that Mrs. Poe wouldn’t take a DNA test to determine her true parentage when members of the Militar family (she was apparently found in a church by a Militar male) are willing to be tested, and the gossip about her parents being the late President F. Marcos and Rosemarie Sonora is so widespread. (By the way, I think that she and Bongbong Marcos look alike). The DNA result would certainly help establish whether she was a natural born Filipino at the time of birth.

  4. Joy C. Cabanig on

    Thank you. I am enlighten of Grace Poe’s situation and its relevance to the law. The President’s post is not about a good person. It is about effective leadership. The Philippines need an effective and sincere President that would bring the country to prosperity and better status among nations. To be that, he/she should start being a law abiding citizen. If Grace Poe cant seem to comprehend a simple provision of the Constitution, or if she understood it but denied its existence to protect an ego or avail of popularity’s sympathy or vindication to an unfavorable judgment of his father’s case on citizenship, then something is wrong. As the saying goes “Honesty is still the best policy, and the truth shall set us free”. It is sad that most of us do not take a deeper study of things, then when something bad happens, we blame the government. Shouldn’t we ask ourselves “Am I not a contributor to this rotten society because I casted my vote to this person?”. If we start it wrong, it will be crooked along the way. WE should take note that when we elect a President, we choose our country’s future. Let us vote wisely this coming 2016 elections!

  5. Stephen Bailey on

    Very interesting article. I’m wondering if this article portends a back-lash against repatriating Filipinos; or potentially against foreign born citizens of the Philippines?

    sb

  6. Gilbert ive just read your response & well said my friend. You speak sense unlike this reporter, i wonder what axe he has to grind, is he on the take from the binays. Im not alledging im asking.
    This is a good honest hard working person that will benefit this country, people like this reporter seems to favour the likes of the binays who most of us deem to be totally corrupt from top to bottom of that family. Take your pick who you choose, i ( & im a brit ) choose grace poe, good for you grace & good luck. These snakes in the grass will be after you all the time. They will lie cheat & distort anything & everything. We arnt fools so tattad dont take us for fools.

  7. It shows how dumb some of you filipinos are, she was found just a few hours old in the philippines, where did she come from, well obviously the philippines. What were her parents, well no one knows so we have to assume they were filipino or if you didnt assume that then you have to assume what country they came from. In a court of law its up to others to prove someone guilty not up to the person to prove he is innocent. She wont be given citizenship of any other country by birth as she was born in the philippines. She is a filipino weather you like it or not. Move onto something important as this is very trivial. Something much more serious are all the allegations against the whole binay clan, talk about that as that is what needs to be sorted.

    • You can assume that her biological parents are Filipinos but you can never be 100% sure. she can have Chinese parents for all we know. No doubt that she’s Filipino not just natural born. If this were America she may very well be natural born since she was found right after she was born, no flight records etc. In the Philippines like Japan but unlike America, to be natural born you have to follow by blood not by soil, doesn’t matter if you were born in the Philippines, your parents should be Filipinos if she can’t prove it then she can’t prove that she’s natural born. She’s Filipino no doubt since she was adopted not just a natural born Filipino

  8. And since she lied on her COC she better also charge for Perjury, so that this ambisyosa lady must be punish. Dapat lang na makasuhan para matauhan itong ambisyosa na babae, bakit iyon adopted mother niya na si Susan walang masabi tungkol sa kanyang adopted na anak.

  9. Pag malapit na ang eleksyon pati ang otot mo sa 5 years ago ay hahalungkatin,kailan ka natuli,may amoy ba ang kilili , virgin ka pa ba etc..all of the non sense of your history will be revealed..what a crap thinkung twice to run for a seat of any goverment post.

  10. I wonder why this former senator who could not win another election is writing something against a good senator of integrity and principle. Maybe this old former senator would like to get a slate from the Binay’s line-up of senatoriables.

    Mr. Tatad, maybe the public cannot recall by now that you are the one who have read the content of the decree of Marcos on the declaration of Martial Law.

    I want to remind Mr. Tatad that as a rule of court, it is the complainant that needs to produce all the evidence, both testimonial and documentary, to prove its claim. The burden of proof then belongs to the one who filed the complaint. Maybe, you could just help the complainant with your very brilliant mind to prove that Sen. Grace is not a daughter of a Filipino parents. Maybe you could help the complainant find Sen. Grace Poe’s parent.

    For the complainant to prove that Sen. Grace Poe is not a natural-born Filipino, he needs to bring to the court all the evidence that she is not. The court will not listen to your wild analysis of the history and of the law because it’s not your role or not the role of the complainant. Analysis of the evidence and of the law belongs to the judge.

    Mabuhay ka Sen. Grace. Always remember that being the most trusted public official of your time, your detractors will not stop to put you down.

    Grace Poe for president. OFWs need you.

    • Hindi ako nakapagaral kaya pag may election hindi rin ako nakakaboto.Ang panalangin ko lang sana lumabas ang katotohanan sa mga isyu sa ngayon para gumanda naman ang buhay naming mga mahirap at MANGMANG salamat LORD JESUS

    • Jose A. Oliveros on

      To the person using the name Gilbert, it is for Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen because as ruled by the Supreme Court in Paa v. Chan, 21 SCRA 753, “It is incumbent upon a person who claims Filipino citizenship to prove to the satisfaction of the Court that he is really a Filipino. No presumption can be indulged in favor of the claimant of Filipino citizenship and any doubt regarding citizenship must be resolved in favor of the State.” Obviously you do not know this because you want those questioning her citizenship to present evidence to support their claim.

    • vagoneto rieles on

      Ms. Grace Poe-Llamanzares is not just an ordinary citizen who is being accused of some misdemeanor. She is a sitting Senator entrusted with the duty of formulating, enacting and enforcing laws of the land. She should, (even without her Presidential ambitions), be faultless and, like ‘Caesar’s’ wife.. above suspicion. She must take it upon herself to prove that her accusers have no basis, in law, whatsoever. The fact that she is a model public servant, wife and mother has little to do with the issue at hand. We are, after all, a nation of laws, (last time I checked).. laws that apply to every man, woman and child who are citizens of the country. If she begs to differ, and like Binay, says.. “prove it”; we would then know how deep her feelings for her new country runs.

  11. Perhaps , Its about time that Susan Roces should be questioned on the adoption of Grace . As her mother, it should have been an important issue to find her roots.
    I believe that Susan Knows the truth .
    Grace, being a Public servant , should know that her life will have to be an open book.

    I also wonder why Grace seems to wonders who her real father is but not her mother ?
    FPJ and Susan Roces are capable enough to afford and locate the real parents of Grace before adoption. Not unless they are hiding something from the public.

  12. Teddy Sevilla on

    A DNA test might quickly settle this issue. I use the word ‘might’ because the test could go two ways.

    The first possibility is when the test only establishes that she has Southeast Asian/Malay blood or none at all without a MATCH to a specific set of parents. This wouldn’t settle the question of ‘natural born’ status because the question is the parents’ citizenship, not their race. Even if Poe is proven to have all-Caucasian blood, one or both of her parents might still be Filipino by choice at the time of her birth. The second possibility would be the definitive one – when a MATCH with her biological parents is established.

    It is improbable that Grace Poe has not done the DNA test because of a lack of resources. She does not want to because she doesn’t need to? Has she done it but refuses to reveal the results? Is something more than personal curiosity is at stake? Are there national implications too? Might it lead to a realignment of forces, with Marcos loyalist elements of the Binay camp switching allegiance, for example?

  13. If grace llamanzares is a foundling, how did she came to know her real birth of date which she said was Sept 3, 1968? was it her actual birth date or the date she was found inside a church?

    • Exactly!
      In fact NO ONE knows except her biological mother who hasn’t shown up yet. How about the real Dad?
      Are the two still alive at all?

  14. Daniel B. Laurente on

    Mr. Kit Tatad wala na bang ibang paraan na isiwalat ang iyong nalalaman sa pagkatao ni Sen Grace kaysa pilitin si Sen. Grace na magsalita. siguro naman maintindihan mo kalagayan nya. Everybody knows you know a lot about her existence. You know very well in the absence of legality she was a nutural born Filipna from birth to death. Sabni mo pa nga paano sya nakarating sa amerika para mag aral, ang passport nya ay legal

  15. isidro c. valencia on

    Pabelentong balentungin mo man, hinde Filipina si “Hail FPJ full of disGRace,” sa isip, salita at sa gawa.

    Hail FPJ full of disGrace was a creation of Inquirer, (Paid Views, Paid News) and ABS-CBN (Anti Binay System-Contra Binay Network). A media hype, cliche says.

    What significant legislative contribution did she contribute? Sa MTCB, kahit na barbero ni PIGNOY tatakbo yan. Kahit na Pokwang ang MTRCB Chief, tatakbo yan.

    Dapat mag pa DNA na lang siya. Kumuha din ng sample ni Rosemarie Sonora at Ferdinand Marcos, SR, para matapos na ang issue.

    • You read my mind Isidro C. Valencia! DNA testing will prove na may dugong maharlika si Ms Grace Poe Sonora Marcos. That will satisfy the
      ‘natural born citizen’ requirement the Filipino people is looking for.

  16. chris escasinas on

    The content of these opinion will be used by the Liberal Party against Grace Poe if she will continue to run for President but if she will run for VP of Mar, these facts will not be heard in any Philippine Court.

    • I agree. I still believe that Grace Poe is a natural born citizen of the Philippines and Kit Tatad is just confusing the issue and making false claims.

  17. Who will benefit if Grace Poe is disqualified? Binay of course, and the biggest losers will still be the Filipino people. Lets not forget that in the overall scheme of things, this citizenship issue is merely a small skirmish that the yellows very likely relish, as it dissipates our energy and diverts us away from the MAIN BATTLE to get rid of Smartmatic which is the essential pre-condition that will enable the people to get back the government from these yellow creeps in 2016. Binay is also a yellow candidate pretending to be the opposition. With the oligarchy’s puppet Grace Llamanzares out, it is the Binay crime family that will occupy Malacanang, and the yellow powers-that-be would have played us like a virtuoso, again.

  18. I beg to disagree with the reasoning of Former Senator Kit Tatad. The mere fact that Senator Grace was a foundling before her adoption does not confer statelessness or not a natural born Filipino. The law presumes her as a natural born Filipino. He who alleges to the contrary has the burden of proof. As of now, there is no convincing proof to overcome this presumption.

    • Bonifacio Claudio on

      The article says: In her 2006 notarized petition for retention and/or reacquisition of Philippine citizenship under RA 9225, she declares:

      “I am a natural-born Philippine citizen, born on Sept. 3, 1968 at Iloilo City to Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, a Filipino citizen, and Jesusa Sonora Poe, a Filipino citizen; I became an American national on Oct. 18, 2001, thereby lost my Philippine citizenship. Pursuant thereto, I am a holder of a US passport with Passport No. 017037793, issued on Dec. 19, 2001 in Washington.”

      Being a foundling, GP has to prove the veracity of her declarations, as cited above, under oath.

    • Jose A. Oliveros on

      Claudio, Art. IV of the 1935 Constitution enumerates who are citizens of the Philippines. This was the Constitution in force and effect in 1968, Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares’s year of birth. Under what category will she fall to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen? Please read also my comment to one “Gilbert” on the Supreme Court decision in the 1967 case of Paa v. Chan

  19. Leodegardo Pruna on

    Congratulations Mr. Tatad. You have been very simple and concise in your commentary on the issue of Grace citizenship and residency. Grace now would like to come out with a law on foundling. What does this imply? God bless the Philippines.

  20. since you brought up the topic of lying, how about admitting to everyone in this forum how you lied everyday as the Information minister of the dictator Marcos during the latter years of martial law! do you have the guts to do that?

    • He has nothing to admit pal. Senator Tatad’s stint as information minister during Marcos time is an open book. And he resigned after a few years due to his differences with Marcos on the application of Martial law. Don’t deviate from the topic of Senator Poe. We wan’t Binay to explain his alleged ill-gotten wealth to the people. Le’t have Senator Poe explain the alleged techinicalities of her birth and why she shouldn’t be disqualified from being a Senator and running for President. Corruption is a crime, so is perjury & lying to the public

  21. Anyone who hasn’t undergone naturalization in favor of any other nationality, citizenship or loyalties will NOT know the real meaning of forever RENOUNCING one’s original country..I should know. and it is an experience not to be taken lightly…

    Fortunately, for me and the 3 million plus Filipinos in the US, choosing American citizenship, and forever renouncing the Philippines, may be a welcome, perhaps even a joyous occasion, but then I, and many others never had an inkling that one day we would be aspiring to become the president of the “renounced’ country…

    …for that would be the greatest irony and hypocrisy…! not to mention greed and opportunism…

    now, compound that with the “defense” of re-acquiring the old loyalties, and consequently, yet renouncing the second acquired country…what the hell…????!!!

    How can anyone now trust this person’s integrity…when you have now renounced, not once, BUT TWICE…!!!!!????

    I will forever remember the pain of “renouncing” one country…but then again, I am not
    as insensitive, nor ambitious as Mrs. Llamanzares…! It is soo obvious she is an opprtunist of the first kind..

    Filipinos, wake up…to all these moro-moros…the law is the law…if not to be followed, why have them, at all…?

    • vagoneto rieles on

      I never quite saw it in this light; but you are absolutely correct. Renouncing both the native and the host countries to suit one’s personal agenda smacks of opportunism and reeks of greed and arrogance. Your take on this Poe-Llamanzares business, coupled with Mr. Tatad’s analysis is the ‘one-two-punch’ that would end the lady-politician’s budding career. Add to this the posting of an earlier contributor that it would be absurd to see a Ms.Poe-Llamanzares being sworn in as Philippine President with Americans husband and children in the background.. and, you could see how ridiculous the country could become. It is quite comical as it is.

    • Admit it, you went to the US and renounced the Philippines because of your poor life here in the Philippines. But your case is not the same as Sen. Grace Poe. She has a good life in the Philippines being a daughter of two popular movie stars, not to mention rich stars.

      She went to the US to get good education. She met her husband who is a Fil-am just like you. She became US citizen because of her husband and not because she want a good life.

      Ibahin mo ang katayuan mo sa katayuan ni Grace Poe.

  22. I hope Poe’s lawyer, Atty. Makalintal, will respond. He usually speaks out about very important issues.

    • Sen. Grace Poe’s issue of citizenship is a big matter that relate to our constitution clearly violating in all it’s sense. Her Lawyer must tackle this matter not by talking and twisting the legal aspect of the law but rather to drive the subject matter with sense as to how the issue can be correctly pursued.

  23. When I was in college, I learned the principle of “Jus Sanguinis” (right of blood, or blood relationship) as basis for citizenship. Under Jus Sanguinis, being followed in our country, those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines ARE citizens of the Philippines, NOT only the fathers as mentioned by Sen Tatad. Since Grace Poe is a foundling whose father and mother are unknown, perhaps it would not be too imaginative to conclude that either one or both her parents are Filipinos that would make her a natural born Filipino.

    • I will assume that she had at least a Filipino father or mother, either of which is enough to make her a natural-born Filipino citizen. However, since a disqualification case has been lodged against Grace Poe, she must now prove that indeed one of her parents is a Filipino citizen. In the Philippines, we follow the principle of jus sanguinis, that is, a person follows the citizenship of either Filipino blood parent. The 1987 Constitution defines natural-born Filipino citizens as those “who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.” For the purpose of determining citizenship, therefore, the identity of the blood parents is important. Also, the 1935 Constitution did not define “natural-born Filipino”. Although, para. (3) and (4) under Article IV confers natural-born Filipino citizenhsip to:
      (3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines. (4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
      Since Grace Poe doesn’t know her real parents, I believe her claim of being a natural-born Filipino is derived from generally accepted principles of international law on the presumed citizenship of foundlings. Under Art. 2 of the 1961 International Convention on Statelessness, “[a] foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State shall, in the absence of proof to the contrary, be considered to have been born within the territory of parents possessing the nationality of that State.”
      According to an an article written by former SC Justice Artemio Panganiban, it is true that the Philippines is not a signatory or a “Contracting State” in this treaty. However, the treaty possesses the two elements of a generally accepted principle of international law because the grant of nationality to a foundling is an “established, widespread and consistent practice” of many states since 1961 to the present. Hence, it is deemed a “part of the law of the Nation.”

      Another issue that Grace Poe has to prove to the SET (Senate Electoral Tribunal) is her residency, which is also being questioned in the case filed by Mr. Rizalito David.

  24. SENATOR TATAD, Thank you very much for this column. You did a great service to the Filipino people for having explained simply the case of Ms. Lamanzares. We do hope that our lawyers will be transparent enough. How we wish that our “de campanilla” lawyers would be courageous to inform the Filipino people.

  25. Primitivo Mijares on

    Former senator Kit Tatad is one of the few persons still alive who closely knows the true parents of Grace Poe.

    How I wished that instead of assailing the citizenship of Grace Poe as not being natural-born is he bear witness of her being a natural born citizen of this country for he worked closely with his biological father.

    Come to think of it, if DNA tested, Grace will find a match to Susan Roces who had no issue and to Sheryl Cruz who is her ardent supporter.

    • Daniel B. Laurente on

      Ikaw ha..may chismiss ka pang gusto ikalat.
      Ako din puedeng sabihin na ipa DNA na lang para sure.

  26. Bert O. Romero on

    Which is worse for Ms. Llamanzares? To be declared not a natural born Filipino citizen or to admit she was born out of wedlock to known Filipino biological parents? Was she really legally adopted by the Poe couple or was the adoption a facade of convenience to cover up a purported scandal in the family?

    Life is indeed a journey of difficult choices.

  27. I had this gut feeling that Grace is the daughter of FPJ or Marcos. Look at her nose. It resembles that of FPJ. Her fair skin resembles that of Rosemarie, Susan’s sister whom Marcos greatly admires. So there goes my thesis. Why on earth FPJ and Susan adopted Grace is a great mystery itself. Perhaps FPJ or Susan knows very well who her parents was. Is it either FPJ or Marcos then?. If it was FPJ, then its one of the actor’s fling to another woman who had abandoned Grace. If it was Marcos as the father whom the Marcos family happily embraced, it was a case of trying to hide the identity of the father because of political consideration at that time and Rosemarie is well known. There was a rumor in the late 60’s that Rosemarie was abducted and Marcos has somthing to do with it. Another question is why the mother of Grace or the Komadrona or the hospital in any case, did not register Grace to the Local Civil Registrar in which it identifies her mother or father because at that time the Cory Family Code is not yet a law.. Hmmmm. too much tales. But personally, Grace to me is a natural-born Filipino. She look, smell,laugh, talk, and eat like a Filipino and her height and nose and fair skin is Fernando’s.

  28. You have to be kidding. Your quoting law blah blah blah trying to disqualify Ms. Poe. Give me a break since when in the last 20+ years has the Binay family actually lived to the letter of the law? People of the Philippines needs to wake up and smell the coffee if they ever want to see daylight in this country. Binay makes all these promises he can not keep and the educated see that. Nothing is going to transpire in six years, it will take many.

  29. Senate President Franklin Drilon and Senator Grace Poe on July 29th thumbed down a proposal by Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano to reopen the probe into the January 25 Mamasapano incident.

    In a letter dated July 23 urging Poe to reopen the probe, Cayetano cited the need to learn why the Ombudsman charged SAF personnel who survived the debacle.

    Guess that’s why Poe gave the report to Ombudsman Morales so that it would be impossible to reopen since now Poe claims it has to be voted on to be reopened.

    There won’t be any vote to reopen the report now with the Aquino allies in congress who only do what they are told unless they want to join the 3 jailed opposition senators for giving their pork barrel allocations to fake non government organizations.

    Grace Poe is riding the Aquino express shielding the President but trying to hide it.

  30. genesisbughaw on

    That’s it.
    Ignorance of the Law excuses no one.
    Well, it’s the job of sommersaulting lawyers to play with semantics.
    Salamat po.
    Mabuhay!

  31. Ednar Dayanghirang on

    Perfect!

    Bye bye Sen Grace when these arguments by Kit becomes adopted by the courts!

  32. The law is a ass! _ _ i believe it was Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist who said it

    anyway this Grace Poe was a nobody when she run for the Senate so nobody was interested in her, problem is she got away with it with a lot of bang landing the no. 1 spot with a lot of votes. at the present she is a real threat to the political ambition of some dirty politician(s)? and that’s the only reason she gets a lot of flak. problem still is when they started to dig dirt against her they couldn’t find any so they invent/fabricate/manufacture! if she gets disqualified i really couldn’t care less but then it just proves that our political system is such a big joke!

  33. Jose A. Oliveros on

    According to the website of the UN Treaty Collections, the Philippines has not yet acceded to the 1961 UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness as of “09-08-2015:5:00:34EDT”, consequently, Sen. Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares cannot invoke that Convention in her favor. Furthermore, that Convention cannot amend the provision of the Philippine Constitution that a candidate for President, Vice President, Senator, Member of the House of Representatives must be a “natural-born Filipino citizen” as that phrase is defined under the Constitution.

  34. We have to follow the Constitution. The petition filed by Mr. David should clear up this issue once and for all!

  35. Richard Thompson on

    Dear Sir:

    I think your reasoning in the above article is weak. Ultimately. you suggest that Grace Poe is not a citizen because she was an orphan/had not natural born father from the Philippines. Following that line or reasoning-then the millions of children born in the Philippines who do not have a father listed on their birth certificate-then are not Philippine citizens. Do you suggest that they do not have lawful residency and therefore should be deported? The trouble is where to deport them.

    I suspect that the is a presumption that all people born in thee Philippines are citizens of the country. That presumption is rebuttable, by a showing that the father is not a natural born citizen. That proof would have to be substantial and very persuasive to a court.

    IN 1937 the Philippines was under the united States. A natural born citizen in the U.S. is as follows: The Constitution does not define the phrase natural-born citizen, and various opinions have been offered over time regarding its precise meaning. The consensus of legal scholarship, together with relevant case law, is that “natural born” comprises all people born subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, including, generally, those born in the United States, those born to U.S. citizen parents in foreign countries, and those born in other situations meeting the legal requirements for U.S. citizenship “at birth.” I would suggest that the provision in the Philippine constitution would be very similar and the courts in the Philippines would follow that same reasoning; simply to do otherwise would create chaos. If such is the case, then your whole argument falls apart as you presented above.

    • “I am a Filipino by birth, abode and choice,” she said.

      It was a headline-grabbing quote, but it completely missed the point.The issue is not whether Mrs. Llamanzares is a Filipino or not, but rather whether she is a “natural-born Filipino” or not. And the truth is that she is not a natural-born Filipino by birth, which is the only way one could become a natural-born citizen, especially where citizenship is conferred by blood. One cannot be a natural-born citizen by abode or choice. Either way would be absurd.

      3rd and 4th paragraphs from the article above….

    • Sir Richard,

      Your comment starts the thought process that the law itself is totally wrong and intrinsically racist in origin.

      Equating to the USA, if your mother travels from Mars and gives birth in New York, the little alien is a US citizen by birth. The USA does not define birthright via race for very good reason. Someone already tried that in Germany and started a world war….

      One also should point out that Grace must be a Filipino by deductive reasoning. What would the odds be of a foreign mother taking the trouble to travel to the Philippines just to give birth then abandon the child?….if the child was foreign born already and brought in he/she would have to pass through customs and a record would exist….and again…who is going to smuggle a child in for the purpose of abandonment in this country?….the act of abandonment itself is cruel enough.

    • The case of Mrs llamnzares was singled out because she ran and questionably won as a senator, a position which required eligibility as mandated by our constitution

    • There is no questions about her being a Filipino but about her being a natural born Filipino. They are two different things.

    • There is no question about her being Filipino but there is about her being a natural-born Filipino. They are two different things.

    • Assuming, without admitting, that she is a natural-botn Filipino, the process by which she reacquired her Filipino citizenship from the United States is highly questionable because as could be gleaned from reports, she did not go gthrough the ‘formal’ renunciation of her American citizenship. Therefore, technically her allegiance to the United States of America was nevered ‘severed’ at all. This brings a further question of the required residence in the Philippines before she could file for candidacy for Senator. Following these circumstances, there is a possibility that she perjured her applications, etc. which will subject her to a criminal liability. But, despite all these questions, is she really qualified to govern the country with her work experience and background? Any other candidate aside from one accused ‘corruption’ and having a dynasty, or, one anointed to ‘continue’ a mediocre administration and having shown no remarkable decisions or achievements as a major official in the government? Poor Philippines!

  36. Hermie Rivera on

    Clear as dawn bells ringing in the faithful at the advent of Christmas —Keep Punchin’ Sen. Francisco ‘Kit’ Tatad.— !!!

  37. Flipino lawyers have different views interpretation about FOUNDLING CITIZENSHIP … WELL, WHAT DOES THE SUPREME COURT SAY , SINCE THE SC is the ultimate interepreter of the Phil. Constitution… Para matapos na ang AGONY / ??? NG mga concerned Filipinos .. sagutin na ng sc para hindi sayang ang gastos at pagod

  38. You have argued well like a lawyer, with a logical mind trained by Thomistic logicians. The country owes you much for the clear presentation of arguments re the grand swindle of Mrs. Llamanzares.

    I notice you no longer call the fake senator as Sen. Poe, but Mrs. Llamanzares. This is all very well and good. This too will put her in her place. Imagine, she cites as her defense the alleged fact that she won by 20 M votes.

    The fact is – she is being accused on constitutional grounds. Her defense should also be grounded on the Constitution, not on the number of votes she got.

  39. Poe doesn’t care, anyway, about all these acts of persecution by envious and crabbing people of our land and all she wants now is for the truth to come, once and for all – is big enough. Resign from senate and join Mar Roxas as VP in tandem, the accept whatever will come out in court. Life is just simple as that accepting with clear conscience the course of time.

  40. Come on, Mr. Tatad, you know the real story. She’s a product of the gun room. You collaborate with Ernie and tell the world the true story.

    • Daniel B. Laurente on

      Ikaw talaga..isa ka parin..ayaw na nga sabihin ni Sen Tatad ang alam nya. Gusto ni Sen. Tatad na mismo si Grace ang magsabi nito. Ang tao nakakaunawa ngunit ang batas may sariling panukala. Ang batas ay batas na dapat sundin at ipairal.

  41. Mr. Kit Tatad…what about the qualification of the the first gentleman should (knock on woods) Ms. Poe wins the 2016 Pres election. I will find it very silly that standing with her during the inauguration is her husband and children, all americans,..How will the media construct their banner story? RP President with her american husband and children witnessed her oath taking…too much gap in there and surely the whole world will start unearthing how this happened. For the sake of RP not to be the laughing stock of this planet..please Ms. Poe spare us the agony. FPJ if he still alive will stand down, he will sacrifice albeit for his countrymen.

    • Wow! What a shocking scenario Mr./Ms. “Supsupin” ! You are right! American Family running the Philippines God forbid.

    • I guess he does not want to become Poe’s First Gentleman. He detests anything and everything that has something to do the words Filipino and Philippines.

    • That is why, Mr. Duterte does not want to support the Senator as he may end up voting an American to be the president of the Philippines!

  42. I think it is disgaceful if her foundling status is used to disbar her. The concern should not be this, but her subsequent actions as an adult. By renouncing Philippino citizenship, until it suited her ambitions to return here, she has shown no genuine commitment to this Country, and it is this which should ensure voters reject her at the polls.