Senator Grace Poe. Photo by Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
MANILA - A lawyer is asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to deny or cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) of Senator Grace Poe who is running for president next year.
In her petition to deny due course to or cancel the COC, Estrella Elamparo cited as grounds for Poe’s disqualification the latter’s alleged "material misrepresentation in stating that she is a natural-born Filipino."
Elamparo argued that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino citizen because she is a foundling, and that her adoption did not have the effect of transmitting or conferring upon her the status of a natural-born Filipino.
She also argued that international conventions and treaties on stateless persons are not sufficient to grant Poe the status of a natural-born citizen, and any presumption that the senator is a natural-born Filipino is not sufficient for the residency requirement under the Constitution.
Elamparo added that the burden to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen rests on Poe because “citizenship is determined by blood, not by place of birth.”
Poe, currently the front runner in pre-election surveys, is facing a quo warranto case before the Senate Electoral Tribunal in relation to her winning a Senate seat in the 2013 mid-term elections.
Her accuser, presidential wannabe Rizalito David, said Poe must be disqualified because she is not a natural-born Filipino due to her foundling status.
Poe’s camp has argued that the burden to prove that she is not a natural-born Filipino rests on her accuser.
Another point being raised against Poe is her acquisition of US citizenship. The senator has since renounced her US citizenship, but Elamparo said Poe is not qualified to reacquire her Filipino citizenship, “assuming arguendo that she was a natural-born.”
The petitioner also said Poe’s use of her passport after she renounced her US citizenship on October 20, 2010 rendered her renunciation meaningless.
Elamparo added that Poe also committed material misrepresentation in her certificate of candidacy when she stated that she has been a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years.
“Assuming arguendo that respondent was able to establish her residence in the Philippines, her filing of a petition for reacquisition of Philippine citizenship in July 2006 is the earliest starting point from which one may reckon her residency,” Elamparo said.
“By the principle of estoppel and the Filipino relying on what she stated in her certificate of candidacy during the 2013 senatorial elections, respondent (Poe) cannot deny her 6 years and 6 months residency in the Philippines as of May 2013.
Meanwhile, the camp of Senator Poe said the petition to disqualify the latter was "expected."
"We totally expected and prepared for it. We know who are the people behind this and their evil plans. This is just the beginning and definitely will not be the last. We will fight them to the end, armed only with the law, reason and the truth," Atty. George Garcia said.
"Our faith in the Comelec and the collective wisdom of its members is unparalleled. We assure our supporters and the Filipino people that justice will prevail and we will emerge victorious in this fight."