Verdict in mayor’s case may doom Poe

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In a decision that may have implications on pending disqualification cases filed against Sen. Grace Poe, the Supreme Court (SC) has denied with finality an appeal of a former American who reacquired his Filipino citizenship but whose continued use of his US passport led to his disqualification as a mayoral candidate.

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The High Court ended with finality the disqualification case against Rommel Arnado, who was ousted as mayor of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte, in what observers read as a signal sent to Poe.

With 10-4 vote, the tribunal junked Arnado’s motion for reconsideration by ruling that he is not a natural-born Filipino citizen.

Arnado’s case was the first that involved a public official who was disqualified to run for an elective post because he was an American citizen.

In a two-page resolution dated December 1, 2015, but was released only recently, the 15-man tribunal said basic issues were already passed upon by the court and there was reason to disturb its earlier ruling.

The tribunal said it will no longer entertain any appeal or pleading from the petitioner.
Arnado was disqualified by the SC on April 16, 2013.

He ran for mayor of Kauswagan in the May 10, 2010 elections.

Arnado’s candidacy, however, was questioned by his opponent, who claimed that the former still used his American passport even after he had renounced his US citizenship.

The resolution and the decision in the Arnado case was penned by Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, who happens to be the same ponente in the disqualification cases filed against Poe.

According to well-placed sources of The Manila Times in the SC en banc, the justices of the High Court consider Arnado as “almost similarly situated” with Poe.

One senior justice even discussed the case with fellow magistrates as a “precedent” to disqualify Poe.

The only difference in the cases is that Poe is a foundling, thus some groups insist that she is not a natural-born Filipino.

In his decision, del Castillo upheld a ruling of the Commission on Elections disqualifying Arnado from running in the May 13, 2013 polls.

The decision also set aside his proclamation as elected mayor of Kauswagan.

Arnado was twice disqualified by the Comelec–first in the May 10, 2010 elections and again in the May 13, 2013 elections.

“Arnado’s use of his US passport in 2009 invalidated his oath of renunciation resulting in his disqualification to run for mayor of Kauswagan in the 2010 election,” the SC ruled.

“Since then and up to the time he filed his COC [certificate of candidacy]for the 2013 elections, Arnado had not cured the defect in his qualification,” the court said.

“In other words, when Arnado filed his COC on October 1, 2012, he was not
totally unaware that the use of his US passport after he had executed the Affidavit of Renunciation might have an impact on his qualification and candidacy,” it added.

The ruling was concurred in by Sereno, Justices Antonio Carpio, Presbitero Velasco Jr., Teresita Leonardo-de Castro, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin and Estela Perlas-Bernabe.

Justices Arturo Brion, Jose Perez, Jose Mendoza and Marvic Leonen dissented.
Justice Francis Jardeleza took no part because he handled the case when he was the Solicitor General.

The SC, in its ruling, said “only natural-born Filipinos who owe total and undivided allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines could run for and hold elective public office.”

The court ruled that the use of a foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship “is a positive and voluntary act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship.”

“It does not divest one of the reacquired Filipino citizenship but recants the Oath
of Renunciation required to qualify one to run for an elective position,” it said.

Arnado, a natural-born Filipino, became a naturalized US citizen.

He reacquired his Filipino citizenship on July 10, 2008 and took his oath of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and executed an affidavit of renunciation of his foreign citizenship on April 3, 2009.

Arnado filed his COC for mayor of Kauswagan in November 2009 but a disqualification case was filed against him months before the May 2010 polls.

Oral arguments
On Tuesday, the court continued to hear oral arguments in the cases filed against Poe.

The senator’s legal counsel, Alex Poblador, said those seeking the senator’s disqualification failed to show any proof to back their allegations, thus Poe is presumed to be a natural-born Filipino.

Poblador, who was grilled by Leonen, said that as a natural-born citizen, Poe does not have to do anything to perfect her citizenship.

“She is presumed to be a Filipino at birth, and the circumstantial [pieces of]evidence include her being found in Jaro, Iloilo, presumably to a Filipino father and mother,” he added.

Poblador said Poe has lived in the Philippines since birth, except for 14 years when she was in the US.

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22 Comments

  1. Tama na ang mga argumento disqualify si grace poe period.noon nag american citizen sya para sa convienience nya ngayon filipino citizen na naman sya kasi kasi convienience sya dito malay nyo baka sa susunod na taon sa china or sa europe sya maging convenince, mahilig talaga sila sa drama sayang lang ang ginagastos sa hearing, mas mabuti pang tutukan na lang nang mga honorable judge yung mga currup na govt official meyron pa tumatakbo na maging pangulo hindi na nahiya,mas importanti yunmga kaso ng criminalidad yun kay napoles at mga sangkot na opisyal kaysa kay grace poe walang kwenta pagusapan pinipilit pa ng abogado na ilusot mga argumento na inimbento lang,nag U.S citizen si grace poe hindi dahil sa love na sinasabi nya , kung iniibig ni grace poe ang bayang sinilangan hindi sya kailanman mag dual citizen or mag aquire ng U.S citizen

    • Couldn’t agree more. Its a simple math for heaven’s sake. She is not even qualified to be a senator. Citizen by convenience. #NotoTraPoe

  2. Read the Opinion of CJ Sereno at PDI Jan 27 titled SC hearings gives hope to Poe and you’ll be shamed to be bashing Poe as if your bar topnotchers interpreting laws.

  3. not a patriotic candidate through and through, she renounced not only her filipino citizenship but also her u.s. citizenship. a perfect example of acquiring citizenships for convenience.

  4. Arnado case is very different from Grace Poe. Paid hacks are still using this case to spread misinformation.

    Arnado used his US passport AFTER HE RENOUNCED his US citizenship and thereby recanted his renunciation. On the other hand, Grace Poe NEVER USED HER US PASSPORT AFTER SHE RENOUNCED her US citizenship.

    It is very clear that Arnado is different from her case. Did the writer really took time to study this case before writing this article?

  5. At this point everybody’s opinion is irrelevant. This case is already at the hands of the Supreme Court justices. So just chill out…..

  6. To me Llamanzares’s case is clear cut. There is a precedent case. So what is taking the Supreme Court so long to make a decision? Get this thing over with so we can move one with the election and our lives. Then throw her out of the Senate and deport and bar her out of the country for good… so I can sing the song: ‘hit the road, jack. don’t you come back no more, no more, no more…’

    • Grace Poe will be declared as a qualified candidate. The Chief Justice herself explained that foundlings are Filipinos based on the adoption laws approved by Congress.

      Ano ang galit mo kay Grace Poe? Dahil nagnakaw ba sya? Dahil pumatay ba sya? Dahil nang agrabiyado ba sya ng Filipino? O dahil matatalo ang kandidato mo pag kandidato si Grace Poe kaya ka galit na galit sa kanya?

    • Couldn’t agree more. Its a simple math for heaven’s sake. She is not even qualified to be a senator. Citizen by convenience. #NotoTraPoe

  7. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    26 January 2016

    I can almost hear the requiem bells tolling in melancholy fashion as far as Grace Poe Llamanzares’ desperate appeal to the Supreme Court is concerned, after the Court’s adverse ruling in the disqualification case against Rommel Arnado.

    In Arnaldo’s case, the COMELEC disqualified him twice.

    In Grace Poe Llamanzares’ case, the COMELEC disqualified her three times, for 2 constitutional reasons: 1] she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen; and 2] she is not in compliance with the 10-year residency requirement.

    Another parallel with the Arnado case is that she used her US Passport, even at a time when she claims to have had renounced her US citizenship.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    • san mo naman nakuha ang ebidensya mo na ginamit pa rin ni Grace Poe ang kanyang US passport after her renunciation of US citizenship? Grace Poe last use of US passport was on March 2010 and she renounced her US citizenship on October 2010. Maybe you are one of those people who hate Grace Poe because if she stays as candidate, your candidate will lose.

  8. Big difference! GP did not use anymore her U.S. passport after she renounced her U.S. citizenship. Her pre-renunciation usages of that passport is allowed because that’s the purpose/essence of R.A. 9225 or Dual Citizenship Law. You can use either passport you think is most convenience.

    REPLY
    But if you really THINK and FEEL that you are a Filipino and proud to be obe, then you would use your Filiupino passport and through away your US passport. Grace POe’s rule, according to your definition is, to be guided by what is “most convenient.” Is that wh6y she wqants tobecome president of the Philipines? Top USE the position for her own convenience?

    • Sir Sam De Asis,

      FYI, Madam Grace Poe Llamanzares formally renounced her US citizenship on June 30, 2012.

      If you don’t believe, give it me your fax no. and I will fax it to you the copy of the publication which her name included. Or go to Internal Revenue Services(IRS) website. You will be surprised…!

    • How about the “total and undivided allegiance”, how do you reason that out? You can not used “dual citizenship” argument to serve two masters and the US constitution doesn’t allow that.

    • zak Pasiking, as per RA 9225 a filipino who wishes to run for public office just need to have a sworn statement renouncing his/her US citizenship administered by an authorized official. The June 30, 2012 or July 2012 approval of US government of her renunciation has no bearing under the Philippine laws.

      As far as the Philippine government is concerned, Grace Poe renounced her US citizenship on October 2010.

  9. He renounced his US citizenship but his continued to use the US passport when he travels to the US and elsewhere is reason enough to disqualify him for the mayoral seat.

    This is also true for Grace Poe. Her continued use of the US passport is reason enough to disqualify her. Under the Philippine Constitution, a”foundling” is not a natural born citizen. I do not understand why the framers of the Constitution excluded “foundlings” as natural born Filipino citizen.

    • Because the Philippines follow the principle jus sanguini not jus soli! Poe is a Filipino citizen but not natural born because she cannot prove that she has a Filipino blood! She was not denied Filipino citizenship! Her continued use of US passport until 2009 only proves that she considers herself an American until 2009 therefore she does not satisfy the residency requirement!

  10. wrong. The two cases are entirely different Poe never used her US passport after renunciation so there is no reason the use of passport BEFORE renouncing should be used against her.

    She used it legally and never used it again after renouncing her US citizenship.

    • She renounced her US citizenship in 2010, she used her US passport in Dec 2009 therefore she still consider herself as US citizen in Dec 2009. She lived in the Philippines as dual citizen from 2006 to 2010 and therefore she does not satisfy the 10 year requirement! Palusot na Lang ang mga argument na mistake in good faith or honest mistake!

    • Dear, have you followed the news; it has been questioned over and over again that the honorable senator used her American passport even though she has reapplied for Philippine citizenship and renounced her American citizenship. cheers.