MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe expressed confidence that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc will eventually decide in her favor against the decision of the Second Division of the public office to cancel her Certificate of Candidacy for the 2016 elections.
“I maintain that I am a natural born Filipino and have complied with the ten-year residency requirement based on settled applicable jurisprudence,” she said in her official statement.
In a 34-page decision, the Comelec’s 2nd division granted the petition of petititoner Estrella Elamparo who sought to deny “due course” or to cancel Poe’s COC on the basis of the residency requirements for presidential candidates.
According to the press reports, Poe will appeal the decision before the Comelec en banc, according to Poe’s spokesman Rex Gatchalian. “We will exhaust all legal remedies,” he said, noting that this is a long process and that the decision was only made at the division level of the poll body.
In the meantime, Poe continues to be a candidate, he stressed. “She’s still a candidate and will continue to be a candidate in the coming elections.”
Poe has also message to the people who are criticizing her. “My critics will use any excuse to exclude me, much like they tried to do when FPJ ran for president, and in the process disenfranchising the people as well. They show a lack of trust in the ability of Filipinos to make the right decision.”
But still she believes that the en banc will be on her favor at the end. “I have faith in the process, and we are confident that the Comelec en banc will side with the interest of the people,” she concluded.
Here are some of the major points raised by Second Division of Commission on Elections:
– Grace Poe swore under oath in her 2013 Certificate of Candidacy that for her period of residence in the Philippines up to May 2013 elections, she was a resident for 6 years and 6 months. Using her own words which the COMELEC assumes to be true, she would have resided here for 9 months 6 months by the time of May 2016 elections which falls short of the 10 year residency requirement in the 1987 Constitution.
– Grace Poe reacquired her Filipino citizenship on July 18, 2006. Before that period from the moment she became a US Citizen in October 18, 2001 up to July 18, 2006, her domicile of choice was the United States as residence in the united states is a requirement to become a US Citizen. Using July 18, 2006 as the reckoning point when her residency timer starts, she will have 9 years 10 months in the philippines for the 2016 elections which still fails to comply with the 10 year residency requirement to run for President.
– Under the 1935 Constitution which is applicable because she was born under it, in order for Grace Poe to be a natural born citizen, she would have to born to a Filipino father. It does not matter if she was born to a Filipino mother. Since Grace Poe’s parents are unknown, she cannot be presumed to be a natural born citizen. [NOTE: The rule under 1987 Constitution is different now as under Jus Sanguinis as long as either your Biological Mother or Father are Filipino, you are Filipino]
– Grace Poe argues under international law, she is a natural born citizen. The COMELEC says that the treaties relating to foundlings the Philippines did NOT sign while the treaties which the Philippines did sign only provided for a right to acquire a nationality but not a right to natural born citizenship status. In any case, the COMELEC says the 1987 Constitutional provisions defining citizenship will prevail over any conflicting international law.
– COMELEC declared she deliberately attempted to mislead the electorate on the issue of residency in her 2016 Certificate of Candidacy but declared her good faith in believing she is a natural born citizen.