What lawyers say about Grace Poe's residency

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2015 03:07 AM | Updated as of Jun 03 2015 10:17 PM

MANILA - Senator Grace Poe can fulfill the 10-year requirement to run for President or Vice-President of the Philippines, if one relies on her certificate of candidacy (COC) in the 2013 polls, an election lawyer said Tuesday night.

Atty. Romulo Macalintal, in a press statement, said instead of being used evidence to disqualify her -- as raised by the camp of Vice-President Jejomar Binay -- Poe's COC for senator in 2013 will even strengthen her claim of 10-year residency in the Philippines.

"If Poe was a resident of the Philippines for '6 years and 6 months' in October 2012, then the additional period from October 2012 till the May 2016 elections which is three years and 7 months, will give her a total of 10 years and 1 month residence in the Philippines," Macalintal said.

He added that Poe's COC in the 2013 elections cannot be used as basis to disqualify her for the position of President or Vice-President in next year's elections.

"While the COC shows that she answered '6 years and 6 months' to the question 'Period of Residence in the Philippines before May 13, 2013,' the said answer is not decisive in determining whether or not she could comply with the said residency requirement for President or VP," Macalintal said.

He compared the issue to the case of former first lady Imelda Marcos, who ran for representative of first district of Leyte in the 1995 elections.

"In answer to the question 'period of residence in the constituency immediately preceding the election' she wrote 'seven (7) months.' But upon proof of her having been a domicile or resident of first district of Leyte since birth, the Supreme held that 'it is the fact of residence and NOT a statement in the COC which ought to be decisive in determining whether or not an individual has satisfied the constitution's residency qualification,'" Macalintal said.

Another lawyer, Ateneo School of Government dean Antonio La Viña, on Tuesday also pointed out constitutional law and the doctrine of animus revertendi in Poe's case.

The Supreme Court has used the principle to decide on many election-related cases in the past.

It applied the animus revertendi doctrine, or intent to return, in Co v. Electoral Tribunal of the House of Representatives.

The high court ruled that absence from residence to pursue studies or practice a profession or registration as a voter other than in the place where one is elected, does not constitute loss of residence.