Senate Electoral Tribunal wants Poe's records

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 28 2015 07:36 PM | Updated as of Aug 29 2015 04:54 AM

MANILA - The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) has issued a resolution ordering the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to produce documents in connection with Senator Grace Poe's birth and citizenship.

The resolution dated August 27, which assumes the form of a subpoena duces tecum, directs the NSO to produce Poe's birth certificate and the BI to show the senator's complete travel records and her citizenship papers and immigration records when she was still an American citizen.

The nine-member tribunal, led by Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, wants to know if Poe satisfied the requirements under Republic Act 9139 or "An Act Providing for the Acquisition of Philippine Citizenship for Certain Aliens by Administrative Naturalization and for other Purposes."

The BI has yet to receive the order of the SET, according to bureau spokesperson Elaine Tan, but she assured that they will comply with it.

The order proceeds from the quo warranto case filed by Rizalito David asking the tribunal to invalidate Poe's election as senator in 2013.

David alleged that Poe failed to meet the citizenship and residency requirements for a senator as stated in the 1987 Constitution.

David, a Kapatiran Party member who ran but lost in the 2013 senatorial elections, accused Poe of misrepresenting herself when she stated in her certificate of candidacy (CoC) that she was a natural-born Filipino citizen -- a key requirement for being a public official.

He claimed that Poe is "stateless" since she supposedly abandoned her Filipino citizenship in 1991 and later her American citizenship.

For her part, Poe, a foundling, maintained that she is a natural-born Filipino and not stateless. Poe was found abandoned when she was still a baby in a church in Iloilo in 1968.

(READ: A foundling named Grace)

She said she became an American citizen in 1991 after she went to the United States to pursue her relationship with Neil Llamanzares, a natural-born American.

But she re-acquired Filipino citizenship in 2005, a year after she decided to settle in the Philippines following the death of her father, the late film action king Fernando Poe Jr.

David, however, said Poe lost her US citizenship only in 2012, just a few months before she filed her CoC for senator, based on documents he obtained from the civil registry of the US government.

He noted that one who wants to renounce or abandon his or her US citizenship must do so before a US government official before any renouncement is accepted as official.

David also urged Poe to immediately answer the summons given to her by the SET, which said in a resolution it found the petition in order and took jurisdiction over the case.

The tribunal has ordered Poe to file an answer to the quo warranto case David filed against her within 10 days upon receipt of the resolution.