Manila: The Commission on Elections has disqualified Senator Grace Poe from the presidential race for the residency after determining that she failed to satisfy constitutional requirements for such elected office.
A decision issued on Tuesday by the Philippines’ Commission on Elections (COMELEC) Second Division granted a petition by lawyer Estrella Elamparo to dismiss Poe’s candidacy on the basis that she is not qualified to run for presidential elections because she lacks residency and was not proven to be a natural-born Filipino.
Based on the requirements stated under COMELEC rules, candidates running for the presidency must be a natural born citizen and had been a resident of the Philippines “for at least ten years preceding the elections.”
But based on the ruling issued by the COMELEC pertaining to Poe’s residency, she does not satisfy the residency requirement and even tried to hide this fact from the electorate.
“Respondent deliberately attempted to mislead or misinform the electorate or hide a fact from them when she supplied the ’10 years and 11 months’, to the question in Item No. 7 of her CoC (certificate of candidacy),” division, which is made up of COMELEC commissioners Arthur Lim, Al Parreno, and Sherif Abbas, said.
The decision was issued five months before the presidential elections in 2016.
Poe, according to the tribunal, only became a resident on July 2006 when she applied for dual citizenship — two months short of meeting the 10-year residency rule
Likewise, the division also ruled that Poe, being a “foundling” has no clear citizenship.
The Philippines prescribes to the “jus sanguinis” and “jus soli” principle in determining citizenship.
Jus Sanguinis refers to right to citizenship by blood if either mother or father, or both are Filipino.
Jus Soli on the other hand refers to citizenship on the basis of birthright such as when an individual is born in the Philippines.
In the case of Poe, it cannot be fully ascertained if her parents are Filipino as she was a “foundling.” According to narratives, she was left at the doorstep of a church in Iloilo in Central Philippines.
“Nowhere in any of the three Constitutions of the Philippines is there a direct or indirect inclusion of a foundling as a natural-born Filipino citizen, or a Filipino at birth,” the decision said.
“Wherefore, in view of all the foregoing considerations, the instant Petition to Deny Due Course to or Cancel Certificate of Candidacy is hereby granted,” the division said.
Earlier, a separate but similar case filed before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) ruled in contrary to the COMELEC tribunal’s decision. It said Poe satisfies the residency requirement set by the Constitution.
Poe reacting to the Comelec Second Division ruling said: “I am disappointed in the decision, but this is not the end of the process. We will continue to fight for the rights of foundlings and the fundamental right of the people to choose their leaders,” Poe said in a statement.
“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.
Poe is adapted daughter to the late screen idol Fernando Poe Jr, who ran and lost in presidential elections in 2004 against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.