It ain’t over ‘til it’s over

CARPIOThe Supreme Court did not give a majority ruling on Senator Grace Poe’s citizenship giving hope to petitions to disqualify her from running in the 2016 presidential race.

The Supreme Court in a 9-6 decision only ruled that Poe met the residency requirement to run for President.

But the four petitions filed with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) sought to disqualify her not only for lacking the residency requirement but also for her questionable  citizenship. The Constitution mandates that a candidate should be a natural-born citizen. Poe is a foundling adopted by the late movie icon Fernando Poe and wife Susan Roces and her biological parents have not been established.

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While the Justices voted 9-6 favoring Poe based on the residency requirement, the issue of Poe’s claim she was a natural-born citizen got a 7-5-3 vote.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said in his 55-page dissenting opinion that there was no majority ruling on Poe’s qualification as a natural-born citizen.

Based on Carpio’s dissenting opinion, Manuelito Luna, lawyer of former senator Francisco Tatad, one of four petitioners seeking Poe’s disqualification, will file an appeal for the SC to reconsider its decision allowing Poe to run.

According to Carpio, “what is clear and undeniable is that there is no majority of this Court that holds that Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen.”

Rule 12, Section 1 of the SC Internal Rules requires that all decisions and actions in court cases “shall be made up upon the concurrence of the majority of the Members of the Court who actually took part in the deliberation on the issues involved and voted on them.”

Carpio said only seven of the nine justices in the majority ruling were of the opinion that foundlings like Poe are considered natural-born citizens.

With 15 justices voting, Poe needed at least 8 votes to achieve a favorable ruling on her citizenship requirement.

 “Only seven justices or less than the majority of the SC voted to declare Poe presumptively natural-born. It binds no one; it cannot become part of the law of the land or jurisprudence,” Luna said.

In the decision, justices voting 9-6 overturned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) rulings disqualifying Poe for material misrepresentation on both her citizenship and residency eligibilities.


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