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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW II

JUSTICE AMY JAVIER

DIGESTS: MAIN DECISION


AND SEPARATE CONCURRING
AND DISSENTING OPINIONS
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD, et al.
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016

Prepared by:
ACOSTA, CHARLENE S.

2015-086282

2011-032283
DUQUILLA, ZAIRA NANCY N.

UST LAW 1A

2011-027051

A.Y. 2015-2016

FAJARDO, MICA JOY S.

LELAY, LORD BIEN G.


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JUSTICE AMY JAVIER

2011-026551

TERRE, GENA MYRTLE P.

PANGANIBAN, AUBREY JANE A.

2011-027156

2011-031195

MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
Facts:
Petitioner, Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares(Grace Poe) was found as a
newborn infant in the Parish Church of Jaro, Iloilo in 1968. She was found by one Edgardo
Militar and transfers the babys custody and care to his relative Emiliano Militar. The latter
registered the baby as a foundling and subsequently was issued a Foundling Certificate and
Certificate of Live Birth which contained petitioners given name and Militar as her surname.
When petitioner was five (5) years old, she was adopted by the Spouses Ronald Poe and Jesusa
Poe and changes her surname to Poe. When petitioner reached the age of eighteen (18) in 1986,
she registered as a voter in San Juan City, two years after she was issued a Philippine Passport.
In 1988 she went to the United States to continue her studies, and graduated in the year 1991. At
that same year she married Teodoro Llamanzares, who is both an American and a Filipino
citizen. Petitioner stayed in the United States with her husband. In the year 1991, she was
naturalized as an American citizen and subsequently was issued a U.S. Passport. However,
petitioner returns to the Philippines in 2004 to support her fathers candidacy. After the
election, it was not long when she eventually returned to the Philippine because of the health
condition of her father. In 2005, petitioner and her husband decided to permanently reside in
the Philippines in order to help her grieving mother. May 24, 2005 petitioner came home to the
Philippines. On July 7, 2006, petitioner took her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines pursuant to Republic Act 9225. Eleven (11) days after she takes her oath, the Bureau
of Immigration declared that she reacquired her Philippine Citizenship. Year 2010, she was
appointed by President Aquino as Chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and
Classification Board. Because of that, petitioner executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of
Allegiance to the United States of America and Renunciation of American Citizenship before a
notary public. On July 12, 2011, petitioner executed before the Vice-Consul of the U.S. Embassy
in Manila an Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of the United States. Months
later, she was issued a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States. Petitioner ran and
was voted as a Senator in 2012. And on October 15, 2015 she files her Certificate of Candidacy as
President of the Republic of the Philippines, which is the subject of the petition.
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G.R. No. 221697


Estrella Elampara argued that petitioner cannot be considered as a natural-born citizen
Filipino on account of the fact that she was a foundling. And because of this she cannot be
qualified under reacquisition of citizenship under R.A. 9225 since it is only reserved to naturalborn citizens. And even assuming that petitioner was a natural-born Filipino she is deemed to
have lost that when she was naturalized as an American citizen. She argued that natural-born
citizen must be continuous from birth.
G.R. Nos. 221698-700
Tatad et.al theorized that since the Philippines follows the principle of jus sanguinis,
persons of unknown parentage cannot be considered natural-born Filipino citizens since blood
relationship is determinative of natural-born status. He also argues that as a rule in statutory
construction, what is not included is excluded, a foundling cannot be considered as natural-born
since it was not expressly included in the 1935 Constitution. He also argues that petitioner
cannot rely on international laws since these are not self-executory and that legislation is needed
for it to take effect. No such legislation exists in the Philippines. And just the same as Elampara,
he argues that Grace Poe cannot avail of R.A. 9225 and that assuming she can, it only bestowed
her Philippine citizenship but did not revert her original status as a natural-born citizen.
Issue:
1 Whether or not a foundling is considered a natural-born citizen.
2 Whether or not repatriation under Republic Act 9225 will result in reacquisition of
natural-born citizenship.
Held:
1

A FOUNDLING IS A NATURAL-BORN CITIZEN.


Before discussing the grounds that the Court considered, the Supreme Court ruled that
the burden of proof is on the private respondent. Petitioners admission that she is a
foundling did not shift the burden to her because such status did not exclude the possibility
that her parents were Filipinos.
A
As shown by the official statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there is more
than ninety-nine percent (99%) chance that petitioners parents are Filipino. The official
statistics as offered by the Solicitor General shows the total number of Filipinos born in the
year petitioner was born, as compared to the total number of foreigners born on that same
year bracket. The figures show the ratio that as compared to Filipino born, a foreigner is
likely deficit. It also shows that in the year petitioner was born, majority of population in
Iloilo, where petitioner was left, was Filipino.
The court also accepted as circumstantial evidence the fact that petitioner was left in a
Catholic Church and her typical Filipino features, her height, flat nasal bridge, straight black
hair, almond shaped eyes and an oval face.

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Additionally, the court observed that Filipinos abandon their children out of poverty or
perhaps, shame. It is absurd to imagine that foreigners will come to the Philippines, just to
get pregnant and leave their newborn babies behind thinking that the infants would have a
better economic opportunities or believing that this country is a tropical paradise suitable
for raising abandoned children.
The rejection of the fact that a foundling is a natural-born based on a theoretical chance
that one among thousands of these foundlings might be the child of not just one, but two
foreigners is downright discriminatory, irrational and unjust.
B
The deliberations of the 1934 Constitutional Convention reveal the intent of the framers
to include foundlings as those enumerated as natural-born citizen under the 1935
Constitution. The framers intend to include all kinds of illegitimate children, including
children with unknown parentage, to be a natural-born citizen. This was copied from the
Spanish Code wherein all children of unknown parentage born in Spanish territory are
considered Spaniards because it is presumed that the child is a daughter or son of a
Spaniard.
However, such intention was not expressly included in the 1935 Constitution because the
framers deem it not necessary due to a few number of cases involving this situation. What
was declined was the proposal for a textual and explicit recognition of foundlings as Filipinos
in order to have linguistic efficiency and avoid redundancy. Hence, foundlings as naturalborn citizen, is impliedly recognized.
C
The Court also finds support in the domestic laws on adoption to establish that
foundlings are Filipinos. Under these laws, for an adoption to be valid, the adoptee must in
the first place be a Filipino. In the case of Ellis and Ellis v. Republic,1 where alien adopters
sought to adopt a child left by an unidentified mother, adoption was granted since Court has
acquired jurisdiction over the status of the baby, she being a citizen of the Philippines.
Accordingly, recent legislation such as Republic Act 8043 entitled An Act Establishing
the Rules to Govern the Inter-Country Adoption of Filipino Children and for Other
Purposes and Republic Act 8552 entitled An Act Establishing the Rules and Policies on the
Adoption of Filipino Children and For Other Purposes, expressly refer to Filipino
Children and foundlings are those included as Filipino children who may be adopted.
D
Foundlings are likewise citizens under international laws. The contention of private
respondent that international laws in order to take effect must have a local legislation is
untenable. International law can become part of the sphere of domestic law either by
transformation or incorporation. The Philippines follow the principle of incorporation,
because as embodied in the Constitution, generally accepted principles of international law
forms part of the laws of the land even if they do not derive from treaty obligations.
1 117 Phil. 976 (1963)
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That being said, international laws are sufficient to form the conclusion that foundlings
are natural-born citizen. The principle embodied under the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights (UDHR), United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), clearly emphasize on the right
of every child to acquire a nationality. It even imposes a duty to register and grant such
nationality immediately after birth and ensure that no child is stateless.
Additionally there are two international conventions, with the same principle on
citizenship of foundlings. The first is the Hague Convention on Certain Questions Relating to
the Conflict of Nationality Laws, which provides that a child whose parents are unknown
shall have the nationality of the country of birth. xxx A foundling is, until the contrary is
proved, presumed to have been born on the territory of the State in which it was found. And
second is the United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Stateless, which provides that
a foundling is presumed born of citizens of the country where he is found. These conventions
even though not yet ratified by the Philippines are generally accepted principles of
international law. And even though the Philippines is not a party to both of these
conventions, it does not mean that their principles are not binding. These two convections
effectively affirm the provisions under the UDHR regarding nationality. The Philippines is a
signatory to the UDHR.
The Court also note that at least sixty (60) countries in Asia, North and South America,
and Europe have passed legislation recognizing foundlings as citizen and forty-two (42) of
these countries follow the jus sanguinis regime just like the Philippines. And of the sixty
(60), only twenty-six (26) are signatories to the Convention on Stateless. This shows that it is
a generally accepted principle of international law to presume foundlings as having been
born of nationals of the country in which the foundling is found.
E
And lastly, it is undeniable that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) issue passports
to foundlings. Passports are by law, issued only to citizens. This shows that even the
executive department through the DFA considers foundlings as Philippine citizens.

REPATRIATION UNDER REPUBLIC ACT 9225


REACQUISITION OF THE NATURAL-BORN STATUS.

RESULTS

IN

THE

Respondents argue that only Philippines citizenship and not the natural-born status
is deemed reacquired under RA 9225. Such contention is contrary to established
jurisprudence. In Bengson III v. HRET 2, the Supreme Court held that repatriation results in
the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a naturalized Filipino who lost his
citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino citizen and on the
other hand a natural-born citizen will be restored to his former status as a natural-born
Filipino. R.A. 9225 is a repatriation statute and has been described as such in several cases.
2 409 Phil 633, 649 (2001)
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Additionally respondents contention that natural-born citizenship must begin at birth


and remain uninterrupted and continuous from birth is also rejected by the Court. In the
Bengson Case3, the Court has ruled that there are only two types of citizens, natural-born or
naturalized; there is no third category for repatriated ones. The determination of citizenship
depends on the reasons for the loss and the mode prescribed by the applicable law. Since in
repatriation, a person need not go through the process of naturalization to reacquire his
citizenship, he is perforce a natural-born citizen.

3 Id
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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
CJ. MARIA LOURDES P. A. SERENO CONCURRING OPINION
On citizenship
COMELEC declared that Poe made false representation when she declared that she was
natural-born citizen of the Philippines. According to the resolution of COMELEC, petitioner was
not able to prove her blood relationship to a Filipino parent and her failure precluded her from
claiming the status of natural-born citizen under 1935 Constitution. Chief Justice Sereno
disagreed to the decision of the COMELEC.
Petitioner did not make false material representation regarding her citizenship in 2016
Certificate of Candidacy
There has been no ruling on the citizenship of foundlings. It would be unfair for the
COMELEC to declare that petitioner intentionally misrepresented her status. Based on the
evidence presented, there is every reason to believe that petitioner acted in good faith. There is
sufficient legal basis to sustain presumption of citizenship in favor of petitioner although there is
no physical proof of filiation.
There was no deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact that would otherwise
render her ineligible.
Documents were presented to support the finding of good faith on her part. These
documents provide the petitioner with sufficient basis for her claim of citizenship. She cannot be
faulted for relying upon these pieces of documents especially that when she made declaration
that she was natural born, the presumption created by these documents has not been
overturned. It would be absurd for her to write foundling when birth certificate and official
documents provide otherwise.
A

Adoption Decree

The decree issued in 1974 allows petitioner to legally claim to be the daughter of Ronald
Allan Poe and Jesusa Poe. In Republic v Court of Appeals, it was held that adoption decree
creates a relationship in which adopted children were declared born of their adoptive parents.
Adoptees are entitled to maintain strict confidentiality of adoption proceedings as provided in

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PD 603, RA 8552, and Rule on Adoption. To require an adoptee to go beyond the adoption
decree just to prove her parentage would defeat the purpose of confidentiality.
B. Certificate of Live Birth
Upon issuance of adoption decree, amended certificate is issued. Petitioner has the right to
rely on this birth certificate for information regarding her identity, status, and filiation.
Certificate of Live Birth is a public document which enjoys presumption of validity. The birth
certificate of petitioner has also the official approval of Municipal Court of San Juan, Rizal.
Absence of any declaration that the adoption proceeding is void, the birth certificate is deemed
legitimate and genuine. Thus, petitioner cannot be faulted for relying on the contents of her
birth certificate. In fact, she is obliged to rely on it because the law does not provide her with any
other reference for information regarding her parentage. It must be noted that the records
evidencing her foundling status has already been sealed after issuance of adoption decree. The
fact that the amended birth certificate was without any notation should not be taken against the
petitioner since it merely complies with the confidentiality rule in adoption decree.

C. Voters ID
This also proves petitioners good faith. Because of all the entries made in Voters ID,
petitioner could not be expected to claim any citizenship other than that of the Philippines.
D. Philippine Passport
The passport should be issued to any Filipino citizen who complies with the requirements.
The Philippine Passport Act states that no passport shall be issued unless the Secretary is
satisfied that applicant is a Filipino citizen. Petitioner, holder of Philippine passport, is
presumed to be Filipino citizen, in view of the presumption of regularity accorded to acts of
public officials in the course of their duties. If the citizenship is doubtful, only travel document is
issued. If the State considers foundling not to be citizens, it would not have given them passport.
However, DFAs website show a list of requirements that a foundling should present to get a
valid passport. This only means that foundlings are considered by the State, or at least by the
executive, to be Filipino citizens.
E. Bureau of Immigration Order
The findings of Bureau of Immigration on citizenship of petitioner is not conclusive on the
COMELEC. However, such negate notion of bad faith when petitioner made representation in
her CoC that she was natural-born citizen. At the time of filing, the presumption created by the
Order was in operation. It has been argued that petitioner only obtained the order because she
misrepresented herself to be born of Ronald Allan and Jesusa Poe. However, writing of the
names of adoptive parents as indicated in birth certificate was justified by the confidentiality
rule in adoption proceeding.
F. Senate Electoral Tribunal Decision

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The SET Decision is a prima facie finding that petitioner can rely on. The fact that the
decision was issued later than the filing of CoC does not take away its validity as basis of
petitioner in saying that she is natural-born. The decision of SET was the determination of
petitioners citizenship status as of the time she was elected as senator. Although the filing of
CoC came first, the application of the ruling of SET predates the filing of CoC for president.
Legal Significance of Confirmation of Renunciation
It was contended that petitioners repatriation as Filipino citizen under RA 9225 was
doubtful because of her subsequent acts in 2011 such as execution of Oath of Renunciation of
Nationality of United States, completion of Questionnaire on Information for Determining
Possible Loss of U.S Citizenship, and issuance of a Confirmation of Loss of Nationality of United
States. These documents were only executed by petitioner for purpose of complying with the
requirements of US Law. What is important is that petitioner properly renounced US citizenship
through execution of Affidavit of Renunciation. Acts done after such were only to confirm the
renunciation of foreign citizenship.
Petitioner validly presumes that she is a citizen of the Philippines
Citizenship of foundling is not expressly addressed in Article IV of the Constitution. But
statutes, administrative orders, and jurisprudence support the conclusion even in absence of
physical proof to establish foundlings filiation. The presumption that foundlings are natural
born citizens can be established by the deliberations of 1935 Constitution. The proposed
standard by COMELEC, which is proof of blood relation to a parent who is Filipino citizen, is an
impossible condition. The arguments of COMELEC are unmeritorius. According to COMELEC,
the fact that petitioner was abandoned in parish church and her biological parents are unknown
render her citizenship questionable. COMELEC further declared that since petitioner is unable
to establish identities of parents, she is incapable of proving blood relation to Filipino citizen
parents.

Filiation as a matter of legal fiction


Determination of filiation does not rely only on physical proof but also on legal
presumptions and circumstantial evidence. The Family Code allows paternity and filiation to be
established through: 1) record of birth; 2) written admission of filiation; 3) open and continuous
possession of the status of a legitimate or illegitimate child; 4)or other means allows by Rules or
special laws. None of these requires physical proof of parentage. The standard proposed by
COMELEC finds no legal basis. To impose such is to impose undue burden on the part of
petitioner, particularly in view of her situation as foundling.
Contemporaneous and subsequent construction by the legislature, executive, and judicial
branches of government
Statutes, rules, issuances, and judicial decisions provided foundlings legal protection. Code
of Civil Procedure recognized that children whose parents are unknown have a right to be
adopted. Failure to identify the parents of a child was not an obstacle to adoption. Also, Act No.
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1670 was enacted to provide adoption of poor children in custody of asylums including orphans
or child with unknown parents. The congress enacted RA No 8043 which established rules on
Inter-country Adoption of Filipino Children. Section 8 of the law provides that foundling can be
adopted through submission of foundling certificate. RA No. 8552 was later on enacted, section
5 provides that the failure to locate parents of a child after exerting efforts gives rise to the duty
to register the child as foundling and should be declared abandoned. RA No. 9523 was also
enacted which requires DSWD to declare first a child legally available for adoption as
prerequisite in adoption proceedings. Administrative Order No. 011-09 was adopted to
implement the law. Under this, the term child includes foundlings. These laws are important
because they effectively recognize foundling as citizens of the Philippines.
In the case of Spouses Ellis v Republic, the Court held that it has the power to determine
citizenship of a foundling based on presumption and that it has jurisdiction over adoption case
of a baby born in the Philippines, the baby being citizen of Philippines, in view of the theory that
jurisdiction over the status of natural person is determined by nationality. The 1976 case of
Duncan v CFI of Rizal also presumed that foundlings are Filipino citizen for purposes of
adoption.
The enactments and decisions prove the contemporaneous interpretation of the
Constitution by the three branches of the government. It is evident that all branches presumed
that these children are Filipino citizens in the absence of contrary evidence. Presumptions are
used by the Court to resolve issues on citizenship. In the case of Board of Commissioners v Dela
Rosa, the Court used presumption of citizenship on basis of Bureau of Immigration Order. In
the case of Tecson v COMELEC, the Court used the presumption that the grandfather of
Fernando Poe, Jr. was a Filipino citizen, being part of en masse Filipinization. The citizenship
would extend to Allan Poe which also extend to Fernando Poe.
It is reasonable to presume that petitioner is Filipino citizen since she was abandoned in
Iloilo at a time when number of children born to foreigners was small fraction of total children
born. Absence contrary evidence, the presumption stands.
The Place of Probability in the Rule of Law
The rules on evidence is a means by which uniformity is instituted in judicial system. These
rules govern the means of ascertaining truth respecting matter of fact. However, this does not
entail absolute certainty. Judges are not precluded from drawing conclusions from inferences
based on established facts. Jurisprudence is filled with cases decided on basis of probability. As
a rule, administrative or quasi-judicial bodies are not bound by technical rules of procedure but
this does not warrant evidentiary rules to be disregarded. In this case, COMELEC refused to
consider pieces of evidence that tends to establish the probability of a fact in issue.

First, it is admitted that petitioner has typical Filipino features like brown eyes, low nasal
bridge, black hair, oval- shaped face, and height. This by itself does not show belief as to her
definite citizenship, but coupled with other evidence, such as abandonment in Iloilo in 1968
when there were no international airports in Iloilo, establishes probability that she was born of
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Filipino parents. This probability is supported by statistics that 99.03% were born to Filipino
parents while 0.07% to foreigners in the Philippines. Election cases requires preponderance of
evidence so it can reasonably concluded that petitioner has fulfilled all requirements of
citizenship.
Petitioner may be considered natural-born citizen under 1935 Constitution
It was already established that foundlings may be presumed citizens of the Philippines. The
question as to whether foundling can be considered natural born may be resolved by using
originalist and functionalist approach in interpretation of Constitution.
Originalist approach was used by the COMELEC in its resolution, saying that in light of
principle of inclusion unius est exlusion alterius, foundlings are not natural born. This approach
resolved constitutional issues by looking at the text and clear intent of framers. Functionalist
approach is one which is not formalism. It is associated with balancing test and with
interpretation in a manner that goes beyond the original intent of persons crafted the text in
view of its adaptability.
A
Originalist Approach (Interpretation in accordance with intent of framers). COMELEC
urged the Court to use this approach claiming that there was no intent on the part of the
delegates to the 1934 Constitutional Convention to consider foundlings as natural born citizens
for if it was their intention, they can explicitly stated it. The rule is if the terms of the
Constitution do not reveal intent of framers, extrinsic aids may be resorted to such as the
debates or proceedings, history, and executive or legislative construction. The transcript of the
deliberation reveals that intent of framers was to make foundling a natural citizen. The delegates
appeared to have been convinced that there was no need to include a provision regarding
foundling because the Spanish Code already recognizes foundlings born of Spanish citizens as
Spanish, foundlings citizenship could be determined by Congress, these case were so few, and
international law recognizes children born in a country with unknown parents as citizens of that
country.
B. Functionalist Approach (Interpretation consistent with natural justice). Under this, the Court
should interpret Constitution that would allow fulfillment of its purpose. The COMELECs
argument that foundlings are excluded in 1935, 1973, and 1987 Constitution would go against
fundamental principle of natural justice.
Mixture of jus soli and jus sanguinis
COMELEC opines that only those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines are
considered natural born under 1935 Constitution citing Valles v COMELEC. However, the Court
in that case only stated that citizenship by blood was retained in the 1973 Constitution but it
never stated that jus sanguinis had been exclusive regime in the Philippines.
The Malolos Constitution provides that all persons in Philippine territory are Filipinos.
Under Philippine Bill, citizen of Philippines includes native-born inhabitants, inhabitant who
was native of Spain, and inhabitant who obtained Spanish papers before April 1899. The Jones
Law provides that citizens of Philippines were subjects of Spain residing in Philippines on April
11,1899 and since that date, not citizens of other country.
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Citizenship under 1935, 1973, and 1987 Constitution


In the three Constitutions, citizens include citizens of Philippines at the time of adoption of
the Constitution. This includes even those who did not have a single drop of Filipino blood.
Constitution is meant to advance fundamental values of the Filipino people. Thus, the Court
should not construe citizenship provisions in a manner that is unjustly depriving on the part of
foundlings just like considering them as stateless. The principle of natural justice was utilized to
avoid unfair outcome.

The requirement of natural- born citizenship should serve to deny certain privileges to those
who acquired and perfect their citizenship through naturalization. The concept is meant to
distinguish the natural born from the foreign born. The term natural born was lifted from US
Constitution. The US Constitution does not define the term but cases decided indicated that
those born in United States, even born to alien parents, are natural born US citizen. In 1935
Constitution of the Philippines, the term was not also defined. However, deliberations of 1935
Constitution framers reveal that natural citizen is person who is a citizen by birth and not by
naturalization or further declaration of law. The term was define in 1973 Constitution and it
excludes only those who are naturalized. As ruled by the Court in Roa v Collector of Customs,
natural born citizen is a person who has become such at the moment of birth.
Foundling is not naturalized in accordance with law. The contention was when foundling
is registered in relation to administrative proceeding, the process amounts to naturalization in
accordance with law. The contention is unacceptable. First, the phrase naturalized in
accordance with law refers to naturalization process provided under naturalization statutes.
Second, registration is not attributable to the foundling. Foundlings do not perform any act
equivalent to acts required in naturalization proceeding. Third, it is possible to register a
foundling even without administrative proceeding.
Applicability of Bengson v HRET
As to whether petitioner reacquired her natural born status, the Court must apply ruling in
Bengson III v HRET. In this case, the Court ruled that there were only two classes of citizens:
natura- born and naturalized. Citizen who is not naturalized Filipino necessarily is a naturalborn. In the absence of separate category for those who after losing their citizenship, reacquires
it, they would either be natural born or naturalized. If a citizen does not have to undergo
naturalization process, then, he is a natural- born. Bengson referred to repatriation of persons
who served in US Army but re-acquisition under RA 9225 has similar process. It allows former
Filipino citizens to recover their natural-born status.
Determination of natural- born status
RA 9225 provides for the loss, re-acquisition, and retention of citizenship. It refers only to
citizenship and not the natural-born status. The status is determined by birth. This
characteristic cannot be changed except in case of naturalization.
Re-acquisition is not naturalization
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RA no 9225 merely discusses retention and re-acquisition of citizenship and does not cover
naturalization. Congress already treated naturalization as different species apart from
repatriation and other modes as may be introduced. Re-acquisition under RA 9225 and
repatriation under RA 8171 are different from naturalization under CA 473. The former merely
requires taking the oath of allegiance and registering it in the proper civil registry. Petitioner did
not have to undergo process of naturalization in order to re-acquire citizenship. She only had to
observe procedure under RA 9225. Therefore, declaring her to be naturalized is contrary to law.
To refuse to recognize foundlings as citizens of the Philippines is to contravene our obligations
under existing international law
Customary international law becomes binding by virtue of Incorporation Clause. For it to
occur there muse be widespread and consistent practice of the states and psychological element
known as the belief on the part of the states that practice in question is rendered obligatory by
existence of rule of law requiring it. In 1935, there was no existing binding norm of customary
international law granting citizenship to foundlings. However, at present, this customary norm
exists. Right of children to acquire nationality is enshrined in international agreements.
Presumption of citizenship accorded to foundlings in a states territory is mentioned in 1930
Hague Convention, 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, and European
Convention on Nationality. These treaties, concurred by several states, show that there is
widespread recognition of the right to nationality of foundlings. 165 out of 189 countries
consider foundlings as citizens by operation of law. 142 countries enacted statutes granting
citizenship to child found in their territories if parents are unknown unless there is proof to the
contrary. The Philippines is a state party to ICCPR and CRC and for this we must respect right of
every child to acquire nationality.
Declaration that foundlings are stateless would lead to unconscionable consequences. It
would render all children of unknown parentage stateless and would place them in an extreme
vulnerable condition. In the Philippines, stateless were deprived of many rights like right to
suffrage, education and training, candidacy, occupation of public office, use of natural resources,
investment, practice of profession, and participation in legal proceedings with regard to status,
condition, and legal capacity. A declaration that individuals of unknown parentage are not
Filipinos or that they are naturalized citizens may lead to removal from government positions,
return of benefits already granted, and end of pension for retirees.
Conclusion
Chief Justice Sereno voted to grant the consolidated petitions. COMELEC relied on
petitioners admission that she was foundling. However, such did not establish the falsity of
petitioners claim that she was natural born citizen. Presumptions leaned in her favor to the
effect that a foundling is a natural- born citizen. Poe had the right to rely on these legal
presumptions, negating the notion of deception on her part in stating in her Certificate of
Candidacy that she was a natural-born citizen.

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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
J. MARVIC LEONEN CONCURRING OPINION
PRELIMINARY STATEMENTS
The Constitution, as fundamental law, defines the minimum qualifications for a person to
present his or her candidacy to run for President. It is this same fundamental law which
prescribes that it is the People, in their sovereign capacity as electorate, to determine who
among the candidates is best qualified for that position.
The Constitution requires that either the father or the mother is a Filipino citizen.
It does not require an abandoned child or a foundling to identify his or her
biological parents. It is enough to show that there is a convincing likelihood that
one of the parents is a Filipino. Contrary to the respondents' submissions, it is not
blood line that is required. One of the parents can be a naturalized Filipino citizen.
The reference is only one ascendant generation. The constitutional provision does
not absolutely require being born to an indigenous ethnicity.
There is no rational basis to conclude that the loyalty to this country of a foundling, discovered
in a rural area and adopted by well-to-do parents, will be more suspect than a child born to
naturalized Filipino parents.
That a foundling is a natural-born Filipino, unless clear and convincing evidence is shown
otherwise, is also the definitive inference from contemporaneous acts of Congress and the
Executive. This is also the availing conclusion considering our binding commitments in
international law. There is clear and convincing evidence from the history of the actual text of
the entire Constitution.
In the case at bar, petitioner discharged her burden to prove that she is naturalborn when the parties stipulated as to her status as a foundling found in front of a
church in Jaro, Iloilo. When the yardsticks of common sense and statistics are
used, it borders on the absurd to start with the presumption that she was born to
both a foreign father and a foreign mother.
In all likelihood, she was born to at least a Filipino father or to a Filipino mother,
or both.
ON WHETHER PPETITIONE, A FOUNDLING, IS A NATURAL-BORN FILIPINO
CITIZEN

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Citizenship essentially is the "right to have rights." It is one's "personal and more or less
permanent membership in a political community. . . . The core of citizenship is the capacity to
enjoy political rights, that is, the right to participate in government principally through the right
to vote, the right to hold public office[,] and the right to petition the government for redress of
grievance."
Citizenship also entails obligations to the community. Because of the rights and protection
provided by the state, its citizens are presumed to be loyal to it, and even more so if it is the state
that has protected them since birth.
There are only two categories of citizens: natural-born and naturalized.
A natural-born citizen is defined in Article IV, Section 2 as one who is a citizen of the Philippines
"from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect Philippine citizenship." On
the other hand, a naturalized citizen is one who is not natural-born.
In Bengson v. House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, this court ruled that if a person is
not naturalized, he or she is considered a natural-born citizen of the Philippines:
[O]nly naturalized Filipinos are considered not natural-born citizens. It is apparent from the
enumeration of who are citizens under the present Constitution that there are only two classes
of citizens: ... A citizen who is not a naturalized Filipino, i.e., did not have to undergo the process
of naturalization to obtain Philippine citizenship, necessarily is a natural-born Filipino.
Petitioner did not undergo the naturalization process. She reacquired her Filipino citizenship
through Republic Act No. 9225.
To consider petitioner, a foundling, as not natural-born will have grave
consequences. Naturalization requires that petitioner is of legal age. While it is
true that she could exert time and extraordinary expense to find the parents who
might have abandoned her, this will not apply to all foundlings. Thus, this
approach will concede that we will have a class of citizens who are stateless due to
no fault of theirs.
There is no need for an express statement in the Constitution's citizenship
provisions that foundlings are natural-born Filipino citizens. A contrary
interpretation will be inconsistent with the other provisions of the Constitution.
The Constitution should be interpreted as a whole to "effectuate the whole purpose
of the Constitution."
Article II, Section 13 and Article XV, Section 3 of the 1987 Constitution enjoin the state to defend
children's well-being and protect them from any condition that is prejudicial to their
development. This includes preventing discriminatory conditions in fact as well as in law:
Crucial government positions are exclusive to natural-born citizens of the Philippines. Justice
Leonen enumerated these government positions as mentioned in the 1987 Constitution and said
that: An interpretation that foundlings are not natural-born Filipino citizens would
mean that we should teach our foundling citizens to never aspire to serve the
country in any of the above capacities. This is not only inconsistent with the text of
our Constitution's citizenship provisions, which required only evidence of
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citizenship and not of the identities of the parents. It unnecessarily creates a


classification of citizens with limited rights based on the circumstances of their
births. This is discriminatory. Our Constitution provides that citizens shall have
equal protection of the law and equal access to opportunities for public service.
Further, inasmuch as foundlings are citizens of the Philippines, they are human beings whose
dignity we value and rights we respect. Thus:
Article II, SECTION 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full
respect for human rights.
Moreover, in connection with petitioner who undergone adoption proces, Justice Leonen said
that the statutes providing for adoption only allow the recognition of filiation for children who
are Filipinos. They allow adoption of foundlings. Therefore, foundlings are, by law, presumed to
be Filipino.
However, even if there is no legal presumption of natural-born status for all
foundlings, enough evidence was presented by petitioner before the Commission
on Elections to prove that at least one-if not both-of her parents were Filipino
citizens.
Petitioner's Filipino biological lineage cannot be proven easily by direct evidence such as birth
certificates or witness testimonies of her birth. Her status as an abandoned child makes it
improbable, if not too expensive, to prove her citizenship through DNA evidence.
Aside from direct evidence, facts may be proved by using circumstantial evidence.
Petitioner was found in Jaro, Iloilo at a parish church on September 3, 1968. Iloilo, as in most if
not all provinces of the Philippines, had a population composed mostly of Filipinos. Petitioner is
described as having "brown almond-shaped eyes, a low nasal bridge, straight black hair and an
oval-shaped face." She is only 5 feet and 2 inches tall.
Petitioner wants the Court to take judicial notice that majority of Filipinos are Roman Catholics.
Many Filipinos are poor. Poverty and shame may be dominant reasons why infants are
abandoned.
There was also no international airport in Jaro, Iloilo at the time when petitioner was born.
These circumstances provide substantial evidence to infer the citizenship of her
biological parents. Her physical characteristics are consistent with that of many
Filipinos. Her abandonment at a Catholic Church is consistent with the expected
behavior of a Filipino in 1968 who lived in a predominantly religious and Catholic
environment. The nonexistence of an international airport in Jaro, Iloilo can
reasonably provide context that it is illogical for a foreign father and a foreign
mother to visit a rural area, give birth and leave their offspring there.
The Solicitor General adds that petitioner is, in terms of probability, more likely born a
Filipina than a foreigner based on the records of Philippine Statistics Authority presented by the
former, that out of the 900, 165 recorded births in the Philippines in 1968, only 1,595 or 0.18%
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of newborns were foreign. This translates to roughly 99.8% chance that petitioner was
born a Filipina at birth.

ON WHETHER PETITIONER VALIDLY REACQUIRED NATURAL-BORN


PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP IN RELATION TO THE FILING OF HER CERTIFICATE
OF CANDIDACY.
Justice Leonen emphsized that, Republic Act No. 9225 only requires that the personal and
sworn renunciation of foreign citizenship be made "at the time of the filing of the certificate of
candidacy" for those seeking elective public position. It does not require
CONCLUSION
Admittedly, there is more to democracy than having a wider choice of candidates during
periodic elections. The quality of democracy increases as people engage in meaningful
deliberation often moving them to various types of collective action to achieve a better society.
Elections can retard or aid democracy. It weakens society when these exercises reduce the
electorate to subjects of entertainment, slogans, and empty promises. This kind of elections
betrays democracy They transform the exercise to a contest that puts premium on image rather
than substance. The potential of every voter gets wasted. Worse, having been marginalized as
mere passive subjects, voters are then manipulated by money and power.
Elections are at their best when they serve as venues for conscious and deliberate action.
Choices made by each voter should be the result of their own reasoned deliberation. These
choices should be part of their collective decision to choose candidates who will be accountable
to them and further serious and workable approaches to the most pressing and relevant social
issues. Elections are at their best when the electorate are not treated simply as numbers in
polling statistics, but as partners in the quest for human dignity and social justice.
This case should be understood in this context. There are no guarantees that the elections we
will have in a few months will lead us to more meaningful freedoms. How and when this comes
about should not solely depend on this court. In a working constitutional democracy
framed by the rule of just law, how we conceive and empower ourselves as a people
should also matter significantly.

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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
J. FRANCIS JARDALEZA CONCURRING OPINION
There are only two types of citizens, natural-born or those from birth without having to perform
any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship, and the other class who have to go
naturalization process. The former is the only one eligible to run as President of the Philippines.
A
Justice Jardaleza does not agree with the conclusion of the ponente that international laws cited
confer upon foundlings or Grace Poe for that matter, the status as natural-born citizen. He
reasoned that the power of the state to confer citizenship is derived from its sovereignty. As a
sovereign nation, the Philippines has the inherent right to determine for itself who its citizens
are. The determination and recognition made by such sovereign must be respected by
international laws.
Likewise, Justice Jardaleza does not agree that the 1930 Hague Convention and the 1961
Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness purportedly conferring birth right upon
foundlings or creating presumptions thereof can be considered as customary rule of
international law. It is based on the respect to the Presidents treaty-ratification powers and the
Congress treaty-concurring powers. Courts of law cannot declare a convention as customary
without pre-empting the exercise of the two branches of the Government of its authority.
Also, Poe and the ponencia anchors such right of foundlings to different international covenants
such as the Convention on Rights of the Child (CRC) and the International Convention on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR) which both speaks of the childs right to nationality. However such
provision does not by itself create an enforceable right. A simple reading of it may seem to
suggest that a child shall be given an opportunity to become a Filipino. The obligation imposed
is upon the State to enact citizenship statutes specifically for children. The Constitution and
statutes providing for derivative citizenship is the Philippines compliance to such obligation.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) likewise does not specifically confer such
natural-born status to foundlings. The right to a nationality under the UDHR must be
interpreted as subject to domestic laws. A contrary interpretation would effectively amount to an
unqualified adoption of the jus soli principle which would be repugnant to our constitutional
statute which adheres to the jus sanguinis principle. It may be said then that the right conferred
under UDHR is not specifically for recognition of foundlings but as against statelessness and the
obligation of a negative duty not to create or perpetuate statelessness.
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B
The 1935 Constitution is silent as to the citizenship of a foundling. In interpreting the silence of
the Constitution the best guide is none other than the Constitution itself. Certainly the 1935
Constitution adhered to the jus sanguinis principle as the primary basis of determining
citizenship. In determining a persons parentage, determination in appropriate proceedings is
required observing due process and equal protection rights. The COMELEC failed in such
aspect.
In administrative proceedings, cardinal primary rights must be observed. These include: 1) the
right to a hearing, which includes the right of the party interested or affected to present his own
case and submit evidence in support thereof (2) tribunal must consider the evidence presented;
(3) while the duty to deliberate does not impose the obligation to decide right, it
does imply a necessity which cannot be disregarded, namely, that of having
something to support its decision; (4) not only must there be some evidence to
support a finding or conclusion, but the evidence must be "substantial;" (5) the
decision must be rendered on the evidence presented at the hearing, or at least contained in the
record and disclosed to the parties affected; (6) the tribunal must act on its or his own
independent consideration of the law and facts of the controversy; and ('7) the tribunal should
render its decision in such a manner that the parties to the proceeding can know the various
issues involved, and the reasons for the decision rendered. The COMELEC failed to observe the
third and fourth requirement. They made a conclusion of law without making a
determination based on the evidence on record and admissions of the parties of the
probability or improbability that Poe was born of Filipino parents; and second, by concluding
that Poe can only prove her parentage through DNA or other definitive evidence, set a higher
evidentiary hurdle than mere substantial evidence.
COMELECs position that foundlings are not natural-born citizen unless they can prove by DNA
evidence the contrary is a violation of the due process and equal protection rights of the
foundlings.
First, it creates a conclusive presumption. Conclusive presumptions are statutes creating
permanent and irrebuttable presumption violating due process clause. This was illustrated in
the case of Dycaico v SSS4 and GSIS v Montescarlos5 wherein two different laws create a
conclusive presumption that marriages contracted after the retirement date or within three (3)
years before the pensioner are qualified for the pension are only for the purpose of securing the
survivorship pension. The surviving spouse is deprived of the opportunity to disprove the same.
The same is true with COMELECs approach. It presumes a fact that foundlings are foreigner
where in fact such probability is very small as can be shown by the data of the Philippine
Statistics Office. Also a foundling may belong to any of the four classes: 1) her father and mother
is a Filipino; 2) her father is a Filipino and her mother is an alien; 3) her father is an alien and
4 G.R. No. 161357, November 30, 2005, 476 SCRA 538
5 GSIS v. Montesclaros, G.R. No. 146494 July 14, 2004, 434 SCRA 441, 449
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her mother is a Filipino; 4) both of her parents are aliens. Of all the four classes only one does
not confer to the foundling Filipino citizenship.
Second, the requirement that the foundling must produce DNA evidence subjected the
petitioner to a higher standard of proof than that required of COMELEC proceedings. In
COMELEC proceedings, the evidentiary bar against which the evidence presented is measured is
substantial evidence, which is defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion. This is the least demanding in the hierarchy of
evidence, as compared to the highest, proof beyond reasonable doubt applicable to criminal
cases, and the intermediate, preponderance of evidence applicable to civil cases. When the
COMELEC insisted that Poe must present DNA or other definitive evidence, it effectively
subjected her to a higher standard of proof, that of absolute certainty. This is even higher than
proof beyond reasonable doubt, which requires only moral certainty; in criminal cases, neither
DNA evidence nor direct evidence are always necessary to sustain a conviction. If circumstantial
evidence is sufficient to establish proof beyond reasonable doubt, then it should also be
sufficient to hurdle the lower threshold of substantial evidence, particularly in the present case
where there are a number of circumstances in favor of Poe.
Third, COMELECs presumption creates two classes of children: (1) those who know their
biological parents; and (2) those whose biological parents are unknown. As the COMELEC
would have it, those belonging to the first class face no presumption that they are not naturalborn and, if their citizenship is challenged, they may prove their citizenship by substantial
evidence. On the other hand, those belonging to the second class, such as Poe, are presumed not
natural-born at the outset and must prove their citizenship with near absolute certainty. The
COMELECs classification is objectionable on equal protection grounds because, in the first
place, it is not warranted by the text of the Constitution.
The maxim expressio unius est exclusio alterius, which the COMELEC used to arrive on its
presumption, is just one of the various rules of interpretation that courts use to construe the
Constitution; it is not the be-all and end-all of constitutional interpretation.
The more appropriate interpretive rule to apply is the doctrine of necessary implication, which
holds that no statute can be enacted that can provide all the details involved in its application.
There is always an omission that may not meet a particular situation. The doctrine states that
what is implied in a statute is as much a part thereof as that which is expressed.
Another useful interpretive rule in cases with equal protection implications is the one embodied
in Article 10 of the Civil Code: "In case of doubt in the interpretation or application of laws, it is
presumed that the lawmaking body intended right and justice to prevail." "When the statute is
silent or ambiguous, this is one of those fundamental solutions that would respond to the
vehement urge of conscience." Indeed, it would be most unkind to the delegates of the 1934
Constitutional Convention to ascribe upon them any discriminatory animus against foundlings
in the absence of any positive showing of such intent.
The fourth conclusion arrive by Justice Jardaleza is that foundlings are being considered as
"discrete and insular" minority who are entitled to utmost protection against unreasonable
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discrimination applying the strict scrutiny standard. According to this standard government
action that impermissibly interferes with the exercise of a "fundamental right" or operates to the
peculiar class disadvantage of a "suspect class" is presumed unconstitutional. The burden is on
the government to prove that the classification is necessary to achieve a compelling state interest
and that it is the least restrictive means to protect such interest.
Foundlings comprise a suspect class under the strict scrutiny analysis. The traditional indicia of
"suspectness" are (1) if the class possesses an "immutable characteristic determined solely by the
accident of birth," or (2) when the class is "saddled with such disabilities, or subjected to such a
history of purposeful unequal treatment, or relegated to such a position of political
powerlessness as to command extraordinary protection from the majoritarian political process."
The COMELEC's classification is based solely on the happenstance that foundlings were
abandoned by their biological parents at birth and who, as a class, possess practically no
political power. The classification is therefore suspect and odious to a nation committed to a
regime of equality.
Applying the strict scrutiny standard, the COMELEC failed to identify a compelling state interest
to justify the suspect classification and infringement of the foundling fundamental right. It may
be the rationale that only natural-born citizens may hold certain high public offices in order to
insure that the holders or these high public offices grew up knowing they were at birth citizens of
the Philippines. It flows from the presumption that, in their formative years, they knew they
owed from birth their allegiance to the Philippines aid that in case any other country claims
their allegiance, they would be faithful and loyal to the Philippines. To be sure this interest is
compelling because the Constitution itself demands it. Nonetheless, it can only be used where
the issue involves the bright-line between natural-born and naturalized citizens. It cannot be
used as justification in a case where no clear constitutional line has been drawn, i.e., between
foundlings and persons who know their parents. It finds no application in this case where there
was absolutely no evidence, not even an allegation, that Poe's parents were foreign nationals.
Nevertheless the COMELEC failed to adopt the least restrictive means to protect such interest. A
more narrowly tailored approach would avoid making a sweeping presumption. The COMELEC
's fixation with a scientific application of the jus sanguinis principle, as opposed to a legal one
guided by rules of evidence, led to its discriminatory interpretation of the Constitution. It acted
with "an evil eye and unequal hand.

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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
J. ALFREDO CAGUIOA CONCURRING OPINION
The Omnibus Election Code (OEC) positively requires an aspiring candidate to formally
manifest his or her intention to run through the filing of a certificate of candidacy, the
information required in such COC enumerated in Sec. 74 thereof. Under Sec. 78, a COC can be
denied due course or cancelled in case of false material representation therein: (1) that a
representation is made with respect to a material fact, (2) that the representation is false, and
(3) that there is intent to deceive or mislead the electorate.
The question in these Consolidated Petitions is whether or not the Assailed Resolutions of
the COMELEC are tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. If the COMELEC committed grave abuse, then it becomes this Courts bounden
duty to strike down the assailed judgment. Moreso in this case, when the right of an individual
to run and be voted for public office and the right of the electorate to choose their leader are at
stake.
I

The COMELEC acted with grave abuse of discretion when it cancelled the
petitioners certificate of candidacy
Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion by (1) misinterpreting the
jurisprudential requirements of cancellation of a certificate of candidacy under Sec.
78, and (2) for placing the burden of proof upon the petitioner to show that she
complies with the residency and citizenship qualifications for the position of
President. Specifically, it gravely abused its discretion by failing to determine the
existence of petitioners intent to deceive separate from the determination of whether
there were false material representations in her certificate of candidacy. As culled
from Mitra v. Comelec and Jalover v. Comelec, there must be a deliberate attempt to
mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate
ineligible. Therefore, the requirement of intent cannot be disposed of by a simple
finding that there was false misrepresentation of a material fact; to be sure, there
must also be a showing of the candidates intent to deceive as animating the making
of a false material representation.
In the case of petitioner, apart from finding that there were false material
representations in the petitioners certificate of candidacy, the Comelec relied mainly
on the representation previously made in her 2012 COC for the position of Senator,
and that she is a foundling, to support the inference that the petitioner intended to
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mislead the electorate into believing that she has the requisite residency and naturalborn status. The existence of intent to mislead is not a question of law; petitioner has
adduced substantial evidence to show that she honestly believed herself to have the
requisite qualifications to run for President, but such evidence was not considered by
Comelec.
Also contrary to the rules of evidence, Comelec shifted the burden of proof to
petitioner the onus of showing that she had the qualifications to run for President,
instead of requiring respondents to prove the three elements to deny of due course or
cancel the COC. This act unfairly skewed the analysis and resulting conclusions
reached by Comelec.
II

There was no intent to deceive (citizenship)


The question of petitioners citizenship as a foundling is subject to legal
interpretation. The rule is that any mistake on a doubtful or difficult question of law
may be the basis of good faith. If indeed a mistake was made by petitioner as to her
real status, this could be considered a mistake on a difficult question of law that
could be the basis for good faith. In this regard, good faith is presumed in the same
vein that a person is innocent of a crime or wrong.
The lack of intent to deceive is fully supported by evidence tending to show that
she fully discharged the burden of her oath in the COC that her status as a naturalborn Filipino is true and correct to the best of her knowledge. The evidence
submitted by the petitioner tends to more than adequately establish that before her
naturalization as an American citizen, she consistently comported herself as, and was
deemed, a Filipino citizen, she consistently comported herself as, and was deemed a
Filipino citizen, even by the government. Given what petitioner believed of her
status, the claim that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen is far from groundless or
deceptive. It is credible that she believed in good faith that she is a natural-born
Filipino citizen, and that this fact is true and correct to the best of her knowledgeas
she so swore in her COC. Even assuming falsity in her representation, this fact alone
should not have led to an automatic finding of intent to mislead and deceive the
electorate, and ultimately to the cancellation of her COC under Rule 78.

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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
J. PRESBITERO VELASCO, JR. CONCURRING OPINION
Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. concurred with the ponencia, penned by Justice Jose
Perez, and added some emphasis on the issues.
First, on the issue of residency, he emphasized the three requisites for a person to have a
new domicile: (1) residence or bodily presence in the new locality, (2) an intention to
remain there (animus manendi), and (3) an intention to abandon the old domicile
(animus non revertendi).
There was no issue as to Sen. Poe's actual bodily presence in the Philippines since May 24,
2005, whence she, per her 2015 Certificate of Candidacy, reckoned her residency in the country.
What has been questioned is the animus to stay in the Philippines and to abandon the
domicile in the US since then.
Intent is basically a state of mind that exists only in idea. Its existence can only be determined by
the overt acts that translate it to fact and can be made via a series of steps through what the
Court adverts in Mitra v. COMELEC as an incremental process.
The facts of the case showed that Petitioners change of domicile and repatriation from the US to
the Philippines was, to borrow from Mitra, accomplished, not in a single key move but, through
an incremental process that started in early 2005. Specifically, Sen Poe took definite albeit
incremental moves to reacquire her domicile of origin as shown by the following overt acts:
repatriation of her children and their pet from the US to the Philippines; the enrollment of her
children in Philippine schools; the sale of their family home in the US; the repatriation of her
husband and his employment in the Philippines; the transfer of their household goods,
furniture, cars and personal belongings from the US to the Philippines; the purchase of a
residential condominium in the Philippines; the purchase of a residential lot; the construction of
her family home in the country; her oath of allegiance under RA 9225; her children's acquisition
of derivative Philippine citizenship; the renunciation of her US citizenship; her service as
chairperson of the MTRCB; and her candidacy and service as a senator of the Philippines.
All these acts are indicative of the intent to stay and serve in the country
permanently, and not simply to make a temporary sojourn. The suggestion that
Petitioners animus manendi only existed at the time she took her oath of allegiance under RA
9225 in July 2006 and that her animus non revertendi existed only in October 2010 when she
renounced her US citizen is simply illogical.
Petitioner was born and raised in the Philippines, who went through the tedious motions of, and
succeeded in, re-establishing her home in the country. She maintained close ties to the country
and has frequently visited it even during the time she was still recognized as a US citizen. Her
parents lived in the country, her friends she grew up with stayed here. She is, by no means,
foreign to the Philippines nor its people.
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After all, the residence requirement was in context intended to prevent a stranger from holding
office on the assumption that she would be insufficiently acquainted with the conditions and
needs of her prospective constituents. Having helped her father during his presidential
campaign and having served as a senator and before that an MTRCB chairperson, it cannot be
contested that she has more than enough knowledge of the country, its people, and
the many issues and problems that beset them.
Second, on the issue of citizenship, on whether Petitioner is a natural-born citizen or not.
There was no question that Petitioner has no known biological parents and was found on
September 3, 1968 in Jaro, Iloilo when she was but a newborn, and was then adopted by spouses
Ronald Allan Kelly and Jesusa Sonora Poe in May 1974.
Article IV, Section 1 of the 1935 Constitution merely provides:
Section1. The following are citizens of the Philippines:
1. Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of this
Constitution.
2. Those born in the Philippine Islands of foreign parents who, before the adoption of
this Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippine Islands.
3. Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.
4. Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age of
majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
5. Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.
The term natural-born Filipino does not even appear in the above-quoted provision. This
Court, however, had construed the term to refer to those falling under items 1 to 4 of the section.
But Petitioner was not born before the adoption of the 1935 Constitution so that the first item is
inapplicable. Her status as a foundling does not foreclose the likelihood that either or both of
her biological parents were Filipinos rendering her a natural-born Filipino under items 3 and/or
4.
Petitioners abandonment when she was just a newborn did not obliterate the fact
that she had biological parents and the private respondents had not shown any
proof that they were not Filipino citizens.
Section 1, Rule 131 of the Rules of Court provides that the burden of proof is the duty of a
party to prove the truth of his claim or defense, or any fact in issue by the amount of evidence
required by law.
To shift the burden of proof to foundlings, like the Petitioner, to prove the citizenship of their
parents who had abandoned them is as preposterous as rubbing salt on an open bleeding
wound. Instead, the judiciary, as the instrumentality of the State in its role of parens patriae,
must ensure that the abandoned children, who were forced into an unfavorable position, are
duly protected.
As pointed out by petitioner, the same view was shared by the framers of the 1935 Constitution.
A delegate to the 1934 Constitutional Convention, Sr. Nicolas Rafols, proposed to explicitly
include children of unknown parentage in the enumeration of jus sanguinis Philippine Citizens
in Section 1, Article IV of the 1935 Constitution. The suggestion, however, was not accepted not
on the ground that these children are not Philippine citizens, but rather because the cases of

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foundlings were few and far in between. As pointed out by delegate Manuel Roxas, citing a
similar Spanish Law, they are already presumed to have been born to Filipinos.
Moreover, an alternative construction of the 1935, not to say the present Constitution, presents
dire consequences. In such a scenario, abandoned children with no known parents will be
considered stateless. This violates the rights of a child to immediate registration and nationality
after birth, as recognized in the United Nation's Convention on the Rights of a Child.

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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
J. ANTONIO CARPIO DISSENTING OPINION
Petitioner, being a foundling, is not a natural-born Filipino citizen; thus, she is a
nuisance candidate whose certificate of candidacy may motu proprio be dismissed by the
COMELEC.
First, there is no Philippine law automatically conferring Philippine citizenship to a
foundling at birth. Even if there were, such a law would only result in the foundling being a
naturalized Filipino citizen, not a natural-born Filipino citizen. The laws conferring Filipino
citizenship to foreigners are Commonwealth Act No. 473, as amended by Republic Act No. 530,
known as the Revised Naturalization Law, which refers to judicial naturalization, and Republic
Act No. 9139 which pertains to administrative naturalization. Moreover, Philippine laws and
jurisprudence on adoption, contrary to Chief Justice Serenos averment, are not determinative
of natural-born citizenship because the adoption laws do not distinguish between a Filipino
child and an alien child found in the Philippines, and thus these adoption laws apply to both
Filipino and alien children.
Second, there is no legal presumption in favor of Philippine citizenship, whether naturalborn or naturalized. Citizenship must be established as a matter of fact and any doubt is
resolved against the person claiming Philippine citizenship. Any person who claims to be a
citizen of the Philippines has the burden of proving the same. Any person who claims to be
qualified to run for the position of President of the Philippines because he or she is, among
others, a natural-born Filipino citizen, has the burden of proving such status. The constitutional
requirement of a natural-born citizen, being an express qualification for election as President,
must be complied with strictly.
Third, petitioner failed to discharge her burden to prove that she is a natural-born
Filipino citizen. Being a foundling, she admitted that she does not know her biological parents,
and therefore she cannot trace blood relation to a Filipino father or mother. Without credible
and convincing evidence that petitioners biological father or mother is a Filipino citizen,
petitioner cannot be considered a natural-born Filipino citizen. However, res judicata does not
lie in citizenship cases; thus, if in the future, petitioner can find a DNA match to a Filipino
parent, or any other credible and convincing evidence showing her Filipino parentage, then
petitioner can still be declared a natural-born Filipino citizen.

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Fourth, the letter and intent of the 1935 Constitution clearly excluded foundlings from
being considered natural-born Filipino citizens. Contrary to the Solicitor Generals assertion, the
silence of the Constitution as regards foundlings is actually an express rejection by the
Constitution of conferring natural-born Filipino citizenship to a foundling given that such
proposal was voted down by the 1934 Constitutional Convention. Moreover, the Constitution
adopts the jus sanguinis principle, and identifies natural-born Filipino citizens as only those
whose fathers or mothers are Filipino citizens. Petitioner failed to prove that either her father or
mother is a Filipino citizen.
Fifth, there is no treaty, customary international law or a general principle of
international law granting automatically Philippine citizenship to a foundling at birth. Petitioner
failed to prove that there is such a customary international law. At best, there exists a
presumption that a foundling is domiciled, and born, in the country where the foundling is
found. Petitioner anchors her claim of natural-born Filipino citizenship on the (a) 1989
Convention on the Rights of the Child, (b) 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, (c) 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (d) 1930 Hague Convention, and the
(e) 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, among others. However, all these
Conventions do not guarantee a child a nationality at birth, much less a natural-born citizenship
at birth as understood under the Philippine Constitution, but merely the right to acquire a
nationality in accordance with municipal law. Moreover, the principle forwarded by the 1961
CRS, that a foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State shall, in the absence of proof
to the contrary, be considered to have been born within that territory of parents possessing the
nationality of that State, cannot be deemed a customary international law since out of the 64
States which ratified the Convention (less than the majority of UN member-nations), only 13
provide for the automatic and unconditional acquisition of nationality by foundlings with the
other states imposing various conditions for the acquisition of nationality. Thus, the first
essential element for an international rule to be considered a customary international law, that
is widespread and consistent practice by states of a specific international principle, is
immediately absent. Further, the Philippines is not bound by the last two Conventions
mentioned, the country not being a Contracting State.
Sixth, even assuming that there is a customary international law presuming that a
foundling is a citizen of the country where the foundling is found, or is born to parents
possessing the nationality of that country, such presumption cannot prevail over our
Constitution since customary international law has the status merely of municipal statutory law.
This means that customary international law is inferior to the Constitution, and must yield to
the Constitution in case of conflict. Any international law which contravenes the jus sanguinis
principle laid down in the Constitution must of course be rejected.
Seventh, a foundling has to perform an act, that is, prove his or her status as a foundling
through administrative proceedings, to acquire Philippine citizenship. It is only after a factual
determination of the childs status as a foundling after an administrative investigation (IRR of
Act No. 3753 and Other Laws on Civil Registration) verifying that the child is of unknown
parentage that he or she may properly apply for citizenship. Such application for citizenship may
be any overt act which involves recognition by the Philippines that the foundling is indeed its
citizen, such as the act of applying for a Philippine passport, which serves as evidence of
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citizenship. This being so, a foundling can only be deemed a naturalized Filipino citizen because
the foundling has to perform an act to acquire Philippine citizenship. Since there is no
Philippine law specifically governing the citizenship of foundlings, their citizenship is addressed
by customary international law, namely: the right of every human being to a nationality, being a
fundamental human right, and the States obligations to avoid statelessness and to facilitate the
naturalization of foundlings.
As a final word, the Constitution defines natural-born citizens as those who are citizens
of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their
Philippine citizenship. From birth means that the possession of natural-born citizenship
starts at birth and continues to the present without interruption. The phrase without having to
perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship means that a person is not a
natural-born Filipino citizen if he or she has to take an oath of allegiance before a public official
to acquire or reacquire Philippine citizenship. Thus, natural-born Filipino citizens who have
renounced Philippine citizenship and pledged allegiance to a foreign country have become
aliens, and can reacquire Philippine citizenship, just like other aliens, only if naturalized in
accordance with law.

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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
J. TERESITA LEONARDO-DE CASTRO DISSENTING OPINION
PRELIMINARY STATEMENTS
By their opinion, the seven (7) Justices would amend the 1935 Constitution which was in
effect when petitioner was born, to add "foundlings found in the Philippines whose parents are
unknown" in the enumeration of natural-born citizen, as follows:
ARTICLE IV
CITIZENSHIP
(1935 Constitution)
Section 1. The following are citizens of the Philippines
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of
this Constitution.
(2) Those born in the Philippine Islands of foreign parents who, before the
adoption of this Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippine
Islands.
(3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines [and foundlings found
in the Philippines whose parents are unknown].
(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and upon reaching the
age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
(5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with the law.
This amendment of the Constitution by the judicial opinion put forth by the seven (7)
Justices is based mainly on extralegal grounds and a misreading of existing laws, which will
have unimaginable grave and far-reaching dire consequences in our constitutional and legal
system and national interest which this Dissenting Opinion will explain below.
Petitioner Senator Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares (Poe for brevity) failed to
show that the COMELEC En banc gravely abused its discretion in affirming its Second Division's
December 1, 2015 and its First Division's December 11, 2015 Resolutions, both denying due
course to and/or cancelling her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for the position of President of
the Republic of the Philippines, particularly with respect to the finding that she made therein
material representations that were false relating to her natural-born citizenship and ten-year
period of residence in the Philippines that warrant the cancellation of her COC.

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ON CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENT
Justice Leonardo-De Castro submits that petitioner Poe's representation that she is a
natural-born Filipino citizen, hence, eligible to run for and hold the position of President, is
false. Justice Leonardo-De Castro's position is anchored on the following reasons:
UNDER THE CONSTITUTION,
NATURAL-BORN FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP IS BASED ON
BLOOD RELATIONSHIP TO A FILIPINO FATHER OR
MOTHER FOLLOWING THE ''JUS SANGUINIS" PRINCIPLE
Petitioner Poe being a foundling does not come within the purview of this
constitutionally ordained principle.
During the effectivity of the Spanish Civil Code in the Philippines on December 8, 1889,
the doctrines of jus soli and jus sanguinis were adopted as the principles of attribution of
nationality at birth.
It was in the 1935 Constitution that the Philippines adopted the doctrine of jus
sanguinis, literally translated to right by blood, or the acquisition of citizenship by birth to
parents who are citizens of the Philippines. The doctrine of jus sanguinis considers blood
relationship to one's parents as a sounder guarantee of loyalty to the country than the doctrine
of jus soli, or the attainment of a citizenship by the place of one's birth.The case of Tecson v.
Commission on Elections traced the history, significance, and evolution of the doctrine of jus
sanguinis in our jurisdiction as follows:
While there was, at one brief time, divergent views on whether or not jus soli was a mode
of acquiring citizenship, the 1935 Constitution brought to an end to any such link with common
law, by adopting, once and for all, jus sanguinis or blood relationship as being the basis of
Filipino citizenship.
Subsection (4), Article III, of the 1935 Constitution, taken together with existing civil law
provisions at the time, which provided that women would automatically lose their Filipino
citizenship and acquire that of their foreign husbands, resulted in discriminatory situations that
effectively incapacitated the women from transmitting their Filipino citizenship to their
legitimate children and required illegitimate children of Filipino mothers to still elect Filipino
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. Seeking to correct this anomaly, as well as fully
cognizant of the newly found status of Filipino women as equals to men, the framers of the 1973
Constitution crafted the provisions of the new Constitution on citizenship to reflect such
concerns.
"The 1987 Constitution generally adopted the provisions of the 1973 Constitution, except
for subsection (3) thereof that aimed to correct the irregular situation generated by the
questionable proviso in the 1935 Constitution.
The changes in the provisions on citizenship was done to harmonize the Article on
Citizenship with the State policy of ensuring the fundamental equality before the law of women
and men under Section 14, Article II of the 1987 Constitution.
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Thus, contrary to the insistence of petitioner Poe that there is nothing in our
Constitutions that enjoin our adherence to the principle of "jus sanguinis" or "by
right of blood," said principle is, in reality, well-entrenched in our constitutional
system. One needs only to read the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions and the jurisprudence
detailing the history of the well deliberated adoption of the jus sanguinis principle as the basis
for natural-born Filipino citizenship, to understand that its significance cannot be lightly
ignored, misconstrued, and trivialized.
NATURAL-BORN CITIZENSHIP BY LEGAL FICTION OR
PRESUMPTION OF LAW IS CONTRARY TO THE
CONSTITUTION UNDER SALIENT RULES OF
INTERPRETATION OF THE CONSTITUTION
In this case, petitioner Poe's original birth certificate stated that she was a foundling, or a
child of unknown father or mother, found in Jaro, Iloilo, on September 3, 1968. The
Constitution in effect then was the 1935 Constitution. To reiterate, it enumerated the "citizens of
the Philippines" in Section 1, Article IV, which included the following:
(3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.
(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching
the age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
Petitioner Poe would want this Court to look beyond the above-quoted enumeration and
apply the disputable or rebuttable presumption brought about by the principles of international
law and/or customary international law. However, the above-quoted paragraphs (3) and (4) of
Article IV are clear, unequivocal and leave no room for any exception.
INTERNATIONAL LAW INSTRUMENTS/
CONVENTIONS ARE NOT SELF-EXECUTING
Petitioner Poe cannot find succor in the provisions of the 1930 Hague Convention on
Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws and the 1961 Convention on the
Reduction of Statelessness, in claiming natural-born Filipino citizenship primarily for the
following reasons: firstly, the Philippines has not ratified said International Conventions;
secondly, they espouse a presumption by fiction of law which is disputable and not based on the
physical fact of biological ties to a Filipino parent; thirdly, said conventions are not selfexecuting as the Contracting State is granted the discretion to determine by enacting a domestic
or national law the conditions and manner by which citizenship is to be granted; and fourthly,
the citizenship, if acquired by virtue of such conventions will be akin to a citizenship falling
under Section 1 ( 4 ), Article IV of the 1987 Constitution, recognizing citizenship by
naturalization in accordance with law or by a special act of Congress.
Notice must be made of the fact that the treaties, conventions, covenants, or declarations
invoked by petitioner Poe are not self-executing, i.e., the international instruments invoked
must comply with the "transformation method' whereby "an international law [must first]
be transformed into a domestic law through a constitutional mechanism such as local
legislation."
The cited international conventions are as follows:
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(a) 1930 Hague Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality
Laws;
(b) 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;
(c) 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child;
(d) 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and
(e) 194 7 UN Declaration on Human RRight
Each of the aforementioned recognizes the need for its respective provisions to be transformed
or embodied through an enactment of Congress before it forms part of the domestic or
municipal law.
Nowhere in the identified international rules or principles is there an obligation to
accord the stateless child a citizenship that is of a "natural-born" character. Moreover, even if it
so provided, it cannot be enforced in our jurisdiction because it would go against the provisions
of the Constitution.
CITIZENSHIP BY "NATURALIZATION"
UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
Citizenship is not automatically conferred under the international conventions cited but
will entail an affirmative action of the State, by a national law or legislative enactment, so that
the nature of citizenship, if ever acquired pursuant thereto, is citizenship by naturalization.
There must be a law by which citizenship can be acquired by a foundling. By no means will this
citizenship can be considered that of a natural-born under the principle of jus sanguinis, which
is based on the physical existence of blood ties to a Filipino father or Filipino mother. It will be
akin to citizenship by naturalization if conferred by fiction created by an international
convention, which is of legal status equal to a statute or law enacted by Congress.
PROBABILITIES/POSSIBILITIES BASED ON
STATISTICS
The Solicitor General argues for Petitioner Poe citing the ratio of children born in the
Philippines of Filipino parents to children born in the Philippines of foreign parents during
specific periods. He claims that based on statistics, the statistical probability that any child
born in the Philippines would be a natural-born Filipino is either 99.93% or 99.83%,
respectively, during the period between 2010 to 2014 and 1965 to 1975. This argument, to say
the least, is fallacious.
Firstly, we are determining blood ties between a child and her/his parents. Statistics
have never been used to prove paternity or filiation. With more reason, it should not be
used to determine natural-born citizenship, as a qualification to hold public office, which is of
paramount importance to national interest. The issue here is the biological ties between a
specific or named foundling and her parents, which must be supported by credible and
competent evidence. We are not dealing with the entire population of our country that will
justify a generalized approach that fails to take into account that the circumstances under which
a foundling is found may vary in each case.
Secondly, the place of birth of the foundling is unknown but the argument is based on
the wrong premise that a foundling was born in the place where he/she was found. The age of
the foundling may indicate if its place of birth is the place where he or she is found. If the
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foundling is a newly born baby, the assumption may have solid basis. But this may not always be
the case. It does not appear from the documents on record that petitioner Poe was a newborn
baby when she was found. There is no evidence as to her place of birth. The Solicitor General
cannot, therefore, use his statistics of the number of children born to Filipino parents and to
alien parents in the Philippines since the places of birth of foundlings are unknown.
Natural-born citizenship, as a qualification for public office, must be an established fact
in view of the jus sanguinis principle enshrined in the Constitution, which should not be
subjected to uncertainty nor be based in statistical probabilities. A disputable presumption can
be overcome anytime by evidence to the contrary during the tenure of an elective official. Resort
to this interpretation has a great potential to prejudice the electorate who may vote a candidate
in danger of being disqualified in the future and to cause instability in public service.
A FOUNDLING DOES NOT MEET THE
DEFINITION OF A NATURAL-BORN
FILIPINO CITIZEN UNDER SECTION 2,
ARTICLE IV OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION
Other than those whose fathers or mothers are Filipinos, Section 2, Article IV of the
Constitution further defines "natural-born citizens" to cover "those who are citizens of the
Philippines from birth without having to perform an act to acquire or perfect their
Philippine citizenship."
A foundling is one who must first go through a legal process to obtain an official or
formal declaration proclaiming him/her to be a foundling in order to be granted certain rights
reserved to Filipino citizens. This will somehow prevent opening the floodgates to the danger
foreseen by Justice del Castillo that non-Filipinos may misuse a favorable ruling on foundlings
to the detriment of national interest and security. Stated otherwise, the fact of being a foundling
must first be officially established before a foundling can claim the rights of a Filipino citizen.
This being the case, a foundling does not meet the above-quoted definition of a natural-born
citizen who is such "from birth".
Republic Act Nos. 8552 and 9523, though pertaining to adoption of a Filipino child,
clearly demonstrate that a foundling first undergoes a legal process to be considered as one
before he/she is accorded rights to be adopted available only to Filipino citizens. When the
foundling is a minor, it is the State under the concept of "parens patriae" which acts for or on
behalf of the minor, but when the latter reaches majority age, she/he must, by herself/himself,
take the necessary step to be officially recognized as a foundling. Prior to this, the error of outrightly invoking the "disputable presumption" of alleged "natural-born citizenship" is evident as
there can be no presumption of citizenship before there is an official determination of the fact
that a child or person is a foundling. It is only after this factual premise is established that
interference or presumption can arise.
That being so, a foundling will not come within the definition of a natural-born citizen
who by birth right, being the biological child of a Filipino father or mother, does not need to
perform any act to acquire or perfect his/her citizenship.
It should also be emphasized that our adoption laws do not confer "natural-born
citizenship" to foundlings who are allowed to be adopted. To read that qualification into the
adoption laws would amount to judicial legislation. The said laws of limited application
which allows the adoption of a foundling, cannot also be used as a basis to justify the natural34
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born citizenship of a foundling who has reached majority age like petitioner Poe who applied to
reacquire her citizenship under R.A. No. 9225. The opinion of the seven (7) Justices if pursued,
there will be no need for a foundling to misrepresent himself or herself as a biological child of
her adoptive parents like what petitioner Poe did, and instead, a foundling can be truthful and
just submit a Foundling Certificate to be entitled to the benefits of R.A. No. 9225. Since from
their point of view a foundling need not perform any act to be considered a natural-born citizen,
said foundling need not prove the veracity of the Foundling Certificate. This will include a
Foundling Certificate in the Bureau of Immigration (BI) prepared list of evidence of naturalborn citizenship. This is pure and simple judicial legislation. Foundlings are not even mentioned
at all in R.A. No. 9225.
Apart from violating the Constitution, it will be a reckless position to take as a Foundling
Certificate should not automatically confer natural-born citizenship as it can easily be obtained
by impostors who pretend to have found a child of unknown parents.
ON THE VALIDITY OF PETITIONER'S REACQUISITION OF PHILIPPINE
CITIZENSHIP
In Justice Leonardo-De Castro's opinion, the July 18, 2006 Order of the
Bureau of
immigration approving petitioner Poe's application for dual citizenship was not
valid.
First, petitioner Poe's claim to a dual citizenship by virtue of R.A. No. 9225 is invalid for
the simple reason that the said law limits its application to natural-born Filipino citizens only. In
other words, the right to avail of dual citizenship is only available to natural-born citizens who
have earlier lost their Philippine citizenship by reason of acquisition of foreign citizenship.
Second, petitioner Poe obtained dual citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225 by
misrepresenting to the BI that she is the biological child of a Filipino father and Filipino mother
such that the Bureau was misled in to believing that "[petitioner Poe] was a former citizen of
the Republic of the Philippines being born to Filipino parents. Third, the said order was not
signed by the Commissioner of the BI as required by implementing regulations. And her reacquisition of Philippine citizenship being clearly invalid, petitioner Poe's acceptance and
assumption to public office requiring natural-born citizenship as condition sine qua non is
likewise invalid.
Republic Act No. 9225 particularly Section 1 thereof, it is categorically provided that Section 1. Coverage. - These rules shall apply to natural-born citizens of the
Philippines as defined by Philippine law and jurisprudence, who have lost their Philippine
citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country.
Hence, given my preceding discussion on the citizenship of petitioner Poe, I submit that
she could not have validly repatriated herself under the provisions of Republic Act No. 9225 for
purposes of "reacquiring" natural-born Filipino citizenship.
Another point that Justice Leonardo-De Castro emphaized is the fact that in petitioner's
Petition for Retention and/or Re-acquisition of Philippine Citizenship filed before the BI on July
10, 2006, petitioner Poe knowingly committed a false representation when she declared under

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oath that she was "a former natural-born Philippine citizen, born on Sept. 3, 1968 at Iloilo
City to Ronald Allan Kelly Poe, a Filipino citizen and Jesusa Sonora Poe, a Filipino citizen[.]"
In so answering the blank form of the petition, petitioner Poe plainly represented that
she is the biological child of the spouses Ronald Allan Kelly Poe and Jesusa Sonora Poe; thereby
effectively concealing the fact that she was a foundling who was subsequently adopted by the
said spouses.
This false representation paved the way for the issuance by the BI of the Order dated July
18, 2006 that granted Poe's petition, which declared that she "was a former citizen of the
Republic of the Philippines, being born to Filipino parents and is presumed to be a natural-born
Philippine citizen.
Petitioner Poe's re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship was not validly approved as it
was based on an erroneous finding of fact based on the false representation by petitioner Poe as
to her parentage.
CONCLUSION
Petitioner Poe implores this Court not to allow the supposed disenfranchisement of the
sovereign people by depriving them of "of something rightfully theirs: the consideration of
petitioner as a viable and valid choice for President in the next elections. "
But the Constitution itself is the true embodiment of the supreme will of the people. It
was the people's decision to require in the Constitution, which they approved in a plebiscite, that
their President be a natural-born Filipino citizen. The people did not choose to disenfranchise
themselves but rather to disqualify those persons, who did not descend by blood from Filipino
parents, from running in an election for the Presidency.
The will of the electorate will never cure the vice of ineligibility. As so eloquently
reminded by then Justice Isagani A. Cruz in Frivaldo v. Commission on Election.
The qualifications prescribed for elective office cannot be erased by the electorate alone.
The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility,
especially if they mistakenly believed, as in this case, that the candidate was qualified.
Obviously, this rule requires strict application when the deficiency is lack of citizenship.

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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
J. ARTURO BRION DISSENTING OPINION
I.

On burden of proving that petitioner is a natural-born Philippine citizen


The cases before us are petitions for certiorari under Rule 64 (in relation to Rule 65) of the Rules
of Court. In these types of petitions, the petitioner challenges the rulings made by the
respondent pursuant to Art. VIII Sec. 1 of the Constitution. Thus, it is the petitioner who carries
the burden of showing that the respondent, the Comelec in this case, committed grave abuse of
discretion.
The original petitioners undertook the task on the citizenship issue by alleging that Poe is a
foundling; as such, her parents are unknown, so that she is not a Philippine citizen under the
terms of the 1935 Constitution. Since Poe indeed could not factually show that either of her
parents is a Philippine citizen, the Comelec concluded that the original petitioners are correct in
their position that they have discharged their original burden to prove that Poe is not a naturalborn citizen of the Philippines. To arrive at this conclusion, the Comelec considered and relied
on the terms of the 1935 Constitution. Thus, the original burden is discharged and the burden of
evidence was shifted to Poe.
Petitioner, by filing a COC, actively represents that she possesses all the qualifications and none
of the disqualifications for the office she is running for. When this representation is questioned,
particularly through proof of being a foundling, the burden should rest on the present petitioner
(Poe). Any doubt regarding citizenship must be resolved in favor of the State. Citizenship cannot
be presumed; the person who claims Filipino citizenship must prove that he or she is in fact a
Filipino. It is only upon proper proof that a claimant can be entitled to the rights granted by the
State.
The exercise by a person of the rights and/or privileges that are granted to Philippine citizens is
not conclusive proof that he or she is a Philippine citizen. A person, otherwise disqualified by
reason of citizenship, may exercise and enjoy the right or privilege of a Philippine citizen by
representing himself to be one.

II.

Citizenship
a

Equal protection clause not applied to citizenship

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The argument that the equal protection clause should be applied to the constitutional provisions
on citizenship is patently misplaced. The Constitution is supreme; as the highest law of the land,
it serves as the gauge or standard for all laws and for the exercise of all powers of government.
Hence, this Court cannot invalidate a constitutional provision, but merely act on an
unconstitutional governmental action trampling on the equal protection clause.

The citizenship provisions of the constitution authorize the States exercise of its sovereign
power to determine who its citizens are. the State accordingly grants rights and imposes
obligations to its citizens.

Foundlings do not fall under any suspect class (a class saddled with such disabilities, or
subjected to such a history of purposeful unequal treatment, or relegated to such a position of
political powerlessness as to command extraordinary protection from the majoritarian political
process). Foundlings are not being treated differently on the basis of their race, national origin,
alienage, or religion. It is the lack of information on the circumstances of their birth because of
their unknown parentage and the jus sanguinis standard of the Constitution itself that exclude
them from being considered as natural-born citizens. They are not purposely treated unequally
nor are they purposely rendered politically powerless; they are in fact recognized under binding
treaties to have the right to be naturalized as Philippine citizens. All these take place because of
distinctions that the Constitution itself made.

There is likewise no denial of a fundamental right that does not emanate from the Constitution.
Naturalized citizens who do not fall under the definition of a natural-born citizen have no
actionable cause for complaint for unfair treatment based on the equal protection clause under
the strict scrutiny test.

On immediate scrutiny test: foundlings may be arguably subject to intermediate scrutiny since
their classification may give rise to recurring constitutional difficulties. The classification of
foundlings vis--vis Philippine citizens is undeniably important as already explained and the
purpose of the classification is the State exercise of sovereignty: it has the inherent power to
determine who are included and excluded as its own nationals.

Under the circumstances, the most direct answer can be provided by the rational basis test in
considering petitioners charge that the Comelec denied her equal protection by applying the
constitutional provisions on citizenship the way it did. The equal protection guaranty of the laws
is not violated by a legislation or governmental action based on reasonable classification. Poe is
a foundling; in the context of classification, the Comelec effectively recognized that Poe, whose
parents are unknown, cannot be the same, and cannot be similarly treated, as other persons
born in the Philippines of Filipino parents under the 1935 Constitution.

All foundlings found in the Philippines and covered by international treaties have the right to
acquire Philippine nationality; it is a question of availing of the opportunity that is already there.

Comelecs exercise in classification could not be but reasonable, as it were based on standards
provided by the Constitution, to give effect to the Constitution and to protect the integrity of our
elections.

Intent to deceive as an element in false misrepresentations; Poe had the intent to deceive

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The statement [t]he said statement becomes material only when there is or appears to be a
deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a
candidate ineligible should thus be understood in the context of a disqualification proceeding
looking at the fact of a candidates residence, and not at a COC cancellation proceeding
determining whether a candidate falsely represented her eligibility.

The element of deliberate intent to deceive should be considered complied with upon proof of
the candidates knowledge that the representation he or she made in the COC was false. The
COC must contain the candidates representation, under oath, that he or she is eligible for the
office aspired for, i.e., that he or she possesses the necessary eligibilities at the time he or she
filed the COC. This statement must have also been considered to be true by the candidate to the
best of his or her knowledge.

The oath, the representation of eligibility, and the representation that the statements in the COC
are true to the best of the candidates knowledge all operate as a guarantee from a candidate that
he or she has knowingly provided information regarding his or her eligibility. The information
provided in the COC should be considered a deliberate representation on his or her part, and
any falsehood regarding such eligibility would thus be considered deliberate.

Once the status of a candidates ineligibility has been determined, it is not necessary to establish
his deliberate intent to deceive the electorate as he had already vouched for its veracity and is
found to have committed falsehood.

Even if deliberate intent to deceive needed to be established in a Sec. 78 proceeding, Comelec


did not gravely abuse its discretion in concluding that Poe deliberately falsely represented her
residence and citizenship qualifications. As a highly educated woman, Poe had the necessary
acumen to read and understand the plain meaning of the law.

Upon plain reading of Art. IV Sec. 1 of the 1935 Constitution: such section does not provide for
the situation where the identities of both an individuals parents from whom citizenship may be
traced are unknown; this exclusion necessarily means that Poe cannot be a Philippine citizen
under the 1935 Constitutions terms.

The following also involve falsities: in Poes petition for reacquisition of citizenship, she
misrepresented her status as a former natural-born Philippine citizen, listing her adoptive
parents are her parents without qualifications; she also falsely represented her status as a
Philippine citizen in various public documents. Poes false representation regarding her
Philippine citizenship did not merely involve a single and isolated statement, but a series of
falsities that started from her RA no. 9225 application, as can be seen from the presented public
documents recognizing her citizenship.

Heightened suspicion: Poes original birth certificate does not indicate her Philippine citizenship
as she had no known parents from whom her citizenship could be traced. However, the birth
certificate was amended in May 2006 shortly before she applied for reacquisition of Philippine
citizenship. The timing strongly suggest that it was used purposely in case questions are raised
about Poes birth. This strongly indicates that at the time she executed her COC, she knew that
her claimed Philippine citizenship is tainted with discrepancies, and that she is not a Philippine
citizen under Art. IV Sec. 1 of the 1935 Constitution.

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Comelec did not gravely abuse its discretion in interpreting Art. IV Sec. 1 of the 1935
Constitution

The 1935 Constitution does not expressly list foundlings among Filipino citizens, using verba
legis. The 1934 Constitutional Convention also rejected the inclusion of foundlings in the
Constitution, lest foundlings, with unknown parents, would have greater rights than those
whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and who had to elect Philippine citizenship upon
reaching the age of majority.

As the list of Philippine citizens under Art. IV Sec. 1 does not include foundlings, then they are
not included among those constitutionally-granted or recognized to be Philippine citizens except
to the extent that they fall under the coverage of paragraph 5, that is, if they choose to avail of
the opportunity to be naturalized.

The 1935 Constitution did not also have the effect of fostering unfairness by not expressly
including foundlings as citizens via the parentage route as foundlings could not rise any higher
than children whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines. Like them, they fell under the
naturalized classification under the terms of the 1935 Constitution. That under the terms of the
subsequent Constitutions the children of Filipino mothers were deemed natural-born citizens of
the Philippines does not also unfairly treat foundlings as there is a reasonable distinction
between their situationsthe former have established Filipino parentage while the latters
parents are unknown.

The application of Art. IV Sec. 1 of the 1935 Constitution does not violate social justice
principles or the equal protection clause

The Court should not interpret the provisions of the 1987 Constitution to add meaning to the
provisions of the 1935 Constitution. Likewise, what the 1935 Constitution provides cannot be
amended and applied at present because of what the 1987 Constitution now provides. Such will
constitute judicial legislation.

Determining the parameters of citizenship is a sovereign decision, ratified by the Filipino nation
acting as its own sovereign through the 1935 Constitution and should not be disturbed.
Distinguishing the kind of citizenship based on who of the two parents is Filipino is a hallmark
of the 1935 Constitution, and allowing persons with whom no parent can be identified for
purposes of tracing citizenship would contravene this distinction.

Adhering to the clear text of the 1935 Constitution would not necessarily deprive foundlings the
right to become Philippine citizens, as they can undergo naturalization under our current laws.

The Philippines has no treaty obligation to automatically bestow Philippine citizenship to


foundlings under the 1935 Constitution

Treaties are acts made in the exercise of sovereign rights. The Philippines now has every right to
enter into treaties as it is independent and sovereign. Such sovereignty only came with the full
grant of Philippine independence on July 4, 1946. Thus, the Philippines could not have entered
into any binding treaty before this date, except with the consent of the US which exercised
foreign affairs powers for itself and all colonies and territories under its jurisdiction. No such
consent was every granted by the US.
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Moreover, the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and United Nations
Convention on the Rights of the Child do not require the immediate and automatic grant of
Philippine citizenship, much less of natural-born status, to foundlings. These treaties merely
require the grant to every child of the right to acquire a nationality.

The right to acquire a nationality is different from the grant of an outright Filipino nationality.
States are merely required to recognize and facilitate the childs right to acquire a nationality.
These treaties recognize, too, that the obligations should be complied with within the framework
of a States national laws. There is the measure of flexibility which runs from the absolute
obligation to recognize every childs right to acquire a nationality, all the way to the allowable
and varying measures that may be taken to ensure this right. These measures may range from an
immediate and outright grant of nationality, to the passage of naturalization measures that the
child may avail of.

Neither does the Philippines participation as signatory to the United Nation Declaration on
Human Rights, which is not a treaty, obligate it to automatically grant Filipino citizenship to
foundlings in its territory. Assuming, however, that we were to accord the right to nationality
under the UDHR the status of a treaty obligation or of a generally-accepted principle of
international law, it still does not require the Philippine government to automatically grant
Philippine citizenship to foundlings in its territory. It only recognizes the right of nationality
without imposing how signatory States would recognize this right.

In the context of the present case, compliance with our treaty obligations to recognize the right
of foundlings to acquire a nationality must be undertaken under the terms of, and must not
contradict, the citizenship provisions of our Constitution.

In legal terms, a State is obliged to ensure every childs right to acquire a nationality through
laws in the States legal system that do not contradict the treaty. The 1935 Constitution defined
who the citizens of the Philippines then were and the means of acquiring Philippine citizenship
at the time the respondent was found. This constitutional definition must necessarily govern the
petitioners case. The constitutional listing is exclusive. It neither provided nor allowed for the
citizenship of foundlings except through naturalization. Since the obligation under the treaties
can be complied with by facilitating a childs right to acquire a nationality, the presence of
naturalization laws that allow persons to acquire Philippine citizenship already constitutes
compliance.

Since the ICCPR and the UNCRC allow the States a significant measure of flexibility in
complying with their obligations, how the Philippines will comply within the range of the
flexibility is a policy question that is fully and wholly within the competence of the Congress and
of the Filipino people to address.

Until the Court declares a legal norm to be a generally accepted principle of international law, no
other means exists in the Philippine legal system to determine with certainty that a legal norm is
indeed a generally accepted principle of international law that forms part of the law of the land.

A generally accepted principle of international law is considered binding on a State because


evidence shows that it considers this legal norm to be obligatory. Meanwhile, States have the
inherent right to decide who may or may not be its citizens, including the process through which
citizenship may be acquired.
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Given that the States right to determine who may be its nationals, it is inextricably linked to its
sovereignty, and cannot be properly be the subject of state consensus or norm dictated by the
practice of other States.

Even if it is a generally-accepted principle of international law, it cannot be applied in the


Philippines as it contradicts the jus sanguinis principle of the 1935 Constitution.

A presumption that a child with no known parents will be considered to have Filipino parents
runs counter to the most basic rules on citizenship under the 1935 Constitution. Also, the
presumption that Jaro, Iloilo was her birth place because that was where she was found is based
on jus soli or place of birth, a theory on which citizenship may be based and is a principle that
has been pointedly rejected in the country, thus the presumption runs counter to the 1935
Constitution.

A presumption of Filipino parentage cannot similarly apply or extend to the character of being
natural-born, as this character of citizenship can only be based on reality; when the Constitution
speaks of natural-born, it cannot but refer to actual or natural, not presumed, birth. A
presumption of being natural-born is effectively a legal fiction that the definition of the term
natural-born under the Constitution and the purposes this definition serves cannot
accommodate.

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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
J. MARIANO DEL CASTILLO DISSENTING OPINION
The COMELEC committed no grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction, in taking cognizance of the petitions and in denying due course to and cancelling
petitioners 2015 Certificate of Candidacy. It properly exercised its power to determine whether
a candidates COC contains false material representation; its resolution was anchored on settled
jurisprudence and fair appreciation of facts; and it accorded the parties ample opportunity to be
heard and to present evidence. The COMELEC did not usurp the jurisdiction of the SET, or the
PET, or the DOJ or any other tribunal; it did not disregard or contravene settled jurisprudence;
and it did not violate the parties right to due process. Petitioner miserably fell short of
portraying that the COMELEC had whimsically, arbitrarily, capriciously and despotically
exercised its judgment as to amount to grave abuse of discretion.
However, as to the issue regarding petitioners citizenship, a loftier interest dictates that
we take pause and exhaust all possible avenues and opportunities to study the issue more
dispassionately despite the tempting opportunity to sit in judgment on said issue which has
generated so much attention, invited heated and vigorous discussion, and evoked heightened
emotions. After all, any judgment at this time upon this issue might directly impact on G.R. No.
221538 (David v. Senate Electoral Tribunal) which is a Quo Warranto case seeking the removal
of petitioner as Senator of the Philippines wherein her natural-born citizenship status is directly
assailed. The resolution of the issue on petitioners citizenship must be carefully studied and
deliberated upon. Any hasty or ill-considered ruling could open the floodgates to abuse by
certain groups and individuals looking only after their own interest to the prejudice and undoing
of our motherland. Non-Filipinos might use the ruling to advance their vested interests by
simply posing as foundlings so that they would be presumed or cloaked with natural-born
citizenship without going through the ordinary naturalization proceedings. The objective is to
secure, protect and defend the Philippines from being ruled by non-Filipinos; hence, the Court
should stand firm on its own hearing and not allow itself to be swept by the tides of
sentimentality and emotion.
No less consequential is the Doctrine of Constitutional Avoidance, under which the Court
may choose to ignore or sidestep a constitutional question if there is some other ground upon
which the case can be disposed of. Such is the situation in this case.
Moreover, it is not improbable, of course, that petitioner was born to Filipino parents;
yet the fact remains that their identities are unknown. Given that petitioners citizenship is
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uncertain, she could use this breather to gather proof such as DNA evidence to establish her
genealogy. Every opportunity should be given to the innocent child, deprived not only of
parental love and care but also of identity and pedigree, to trace his/her parentage and
determine compliance with the Constitution. This opportunity and privilege should not be timebound, and should be afforded to every foundling at any stage of his/her life. Thus, the ruling
laid down by the Court now can be changed or altered at any time when there is certainty or
definiteness about her biological lineage. Since there is generally no res judicata in matters of
citizenship, this issue may be threshed out again and again as the occasion demands.
Further, according unto petitioner ample opportunity to trace her genealogy is also
better than (a) creating a presumption that she is a natural-born citizen or fashioning a new
specie/category of citizenship based merely on statistical probabilities; or (b) denying her claim
of citizenship outright. On one hand, aliens with known parents may just take advantage of such
presumption by representing themselves as foundlings if only to be entitled to privileges
exclusively enjoyed by natural-born Filipino citizens. On the other hand, petitioner may be
unwittingly denied of her rightful citizenship which she could very well establish through the
exertion or employment of more deliberate, vigorous, and sustained efforts.
Hence, it is imperative for the Court to carefully tread on the issue of citizenship. As
correctly postulated by petitioner, what is at stake in this case is not only a foundlings right to
run for high public offices, but the enjoyment of even seemingly ordinary rights or positions
which our laws reserve only for natural born citizens.

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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.


COMELEC AND ESTRELLA C. ELAMPARO
G.R. Nos. 221697, March 8, 2016
MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S. POE-LLAMANZARES vs.
COMELEC AND FRANCISCO TATAD et.al
G.R. Nos. 221698-700, March 8, 2016
J. ESTELLA PERLAS-BERNABE DISSENTING OPINION
Associate Justice Estela M. Perlas-Bernabe dissented to the ponencia, penned by Justice Jose
Perez, emphasizing on the COMLECs powers and functions, and the validity of the COMELECs
disqualification of the Petitioner.
In her opinion in this case, she said that the COMELECs power to deny due course to or cancel
the Petitioners certificate of candidacy (COC) stems from Section 2, Article IX-C of the 1987
Constitution, which gives the COMELEC the broad power to enforce and administer all laws
and regulations relative to the conduct of an election, plebiscite, initiative, referendum, and
recall, in order to give COMELEC all the necessary and incidental powers for it to
achieve the objective of holding free, orderly, honest, peaceful, and credible
elections. The quasi-judicial power of the COMELEC embraces the power to resolve
controversies arising from the enforcement of election laws, and to be the sole judge of all
pre-proclamation controversies.
Thus, it would greatly emasculate the COMELEC's constitutionally-conferred powers by treating
it as a mere administrative organ, as held in the ponencia, relegated to the task of conducting
perfunctory reviews only to spot falsities on the face of COCs or ministerially enforce
declarations from a prior authority.
As in this case, a pre-proclamation controversy may arise from a petition to deny due course to
or cancel a COC. It is governed by Section 78, Article IX of Batas Pambansa Bilang 881,
otherwise known as the Omnibus Election Code of the Philippines (OEC):
Section 78. Petition to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy. - A
verified petition seeking to deny due course or to cancel a certificate of
candidacy may be filed by the person exclusively on the ground that any
material representation contained therein as required under Section 74 hereof is
false. The petition may be filed at any time not later than twenty-five days from
the time of the filing of the certificate of candidacy and shall be decided, after
due notice and hearing, not later than fifteen days before the election.
The false representation contemplated by Section 78 of the OEC pertains to a material fact, and
is not simply an innocuous mistake. A material fact refers to a candidates qualification for
elective office such as ones citizenship and residence.
While there are decided cases wherein this Court has stated that a false representation under
Section 78 must consist of a deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact, which
would otherwise render a candidate ineligible, nowhere does the provision mention this
requirement.
Notably, the Dissenting Opinion of former Supreme Court Associate Justice Dante O. Tinga in
Tecson v. COMELEC, where he explains the irrelevance of the candidate's intention or belief in
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ruling on a Section 78 petition, and even pointed out the jurisprudential missteps in the case of
Romualdez-Marcos v. COMELEC, wherein the phantom requirement of deliberate intention to
mislead was first foisted.
Asserting that proof of intent to conceal is also necessary for a petition under Section 78 to
prosper, Justice Kapunan wrote in Romualdez-Marcos:
It is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which
ought to be decisive in determining whether or not an individual has satisfied
the Constitution's residency qualification requirement. The said statement
becomes material only when there is or appears to be a deliberate attempt to
mislead, misinform, or hide a fact which would otherwise render a candidate
ineligible. It would be plainly ridiculous for a candidate to deliberately and
knowingly make a statement in a certificate of candidacy which would lead to
his or her disqualification.
These pronouncements in Romualdez-Marcos, however, are clearly not supported by a plain
reading of the law. Nowhere in Section 78 is it stated or implied that there be an
intention to deceive for a certificate of candidacy to be denied due course or be
cancelled. Also drawing on the principles of criminal law for analogy, the offense of material
representation is malum prohibitum not malum in se. Intent is irrelevant. When the law speaks
in clear and categorical language, there is no reason for interpretation or construction, but only
for application.
The reason for the irrelevance of intent or belief is not difficult to divine. Even if a
candidate believes that he is eligible and purports to be so in his certificate of
candidacy, but is subsequently proven to be, in fact or in law, not eligible, it would
be utterly foolish to allow him to proceed with his candidacy. The electorate would
be merely squandering its votes forand the COMELEC, its resources in counting
the ballots cast in favor ofa candidate who is not, in any case, qualified to hold
public office.
The Kapunan pronouncement in the Romualdez-Marcos case did not establish a
doctrine. It is not supported by law and it smacks of judicial legislation. Moreover,
such judicial legislation becomes even more egregious considering that it arises out of the
pronouncement of only one Justice, or 6% of a Supreme Court. While several other Justices
joined Justice Kapunan in upholding the residence qualification of Rep. Imelda RomualdezMarcos, they did not share his dictum. It was his by his lonesome.
Thus, in this case, it does not matter that respondent knows that he was not a natural-born
Filipino citizen and, knowing such fact, proceeded to state otherwise in his certificate of
candidacy, with an intent to deceive the electorate. A candidate's citizenship eligibility in
particular is determined by law, not by his good faith. It was, therefore, improper for the
COMELEC to dismiss the petition on the ground that petitioner failed to prove intent to mislead
on the part of respondent.
This broad constitutional power and function vested in the COMELEC is designed precisely to
avoid any situation where a dispute affecting elections is left without any legal remedy. If one
who is obviously not a natural-born Philippine citizen, like Arnold [Schwarzenegger], runs for
President, the COMELEC is certainly not powerless to cancel the certificate of candidacy of such
candidate. There is no need to wait until after the elections before such candidate may be
disqualified.
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Verily, we cannot tolerate an absurd situation wherein a presidential candidate, who has already
been determined by the COMELEC to have missed a particular eligibility requirement and, thus,
had made a false representation in his/her COC by declaring that he/she is eligible, is still
allowed to continue his/her candidacy, and eventually be voted for.
Moreover, the proposition that the matter of eligibility should be left to the Presidential
Electoral Tribunal (PET) to decide only after the elections is a dangerous one for not only does it
debase the COMELECs constitutional powers, it also effectively results in a mockery of the
electoral process, not to mention the disenfranchisement of the voters. The Filipino people
deserve to know prior to the elections if the person they intend to vote for is ineligible. In all
reasonable likelihood, they would not have cast their votes for a particular candidate who would
just be ousted from office later on.
At any rate, the jurisdictional boundaries have already been set: the COMELECs jurisdiction
ends, and that of the PET begins, only when a candidate therefore has already been elected, and
thereafter, proclaimed. The Supreme Court, sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all
contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President,
and may promulgate its rules for the purpose. And the rules categorically speak of the
jurisdiction of the tribunal over contests relating to the election, returns and qualifications of the
President or Vice-President, of the Philippines, and not of candidates for President
or Vice-President.
Thus, Associate Justice Perlas-Bernabe respectfully objected to the ponencias enfeebling take
on the COMELEC's power to determine the eligibility of a candidate prior to the elections.
On the issue of grave abuse of discretion of the COMELEC in its decision to cancel the COC of
the Petitioner [due to the reason that she would be a resident of this country for ten (10) years
and eleven (11) months on the day immediately preceding the May 9, 2016 Elections and her
citizenship, particularly, that she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines in her 2015 CoC are
false], the finding of falsity by the COMELEC even as to one representation would already be
enough to deny due course to or cancel her COC.
On the issue of residency, the ponencia claims that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion
in concluding that petitioner falsely represented in her 2015 COC that she is a resident of the
Philippines for at least ten (10) years and eleven (11) months immediately preceding the May 9,
2016 elections. While the COMELEC, in ruling that petitioner failed to re-establish her domicile
in the Philippines on May 24, 2005 as she claimed, it primarily observed that all of the evidence
presented by petitioner were executed before July 2006, which is the date of reacquisition of her
Filipino citizenship.
While it is undisputed that petitioner resigned from her work in the US in 2004; acquired,
together with her husband, quotations and estimates from property movers regarding the
relocation of all their goods, furniture, and cars from the US to the Philippines as early as March
2005; enrolled two of her children in Philippine schools for the school year 2005 to 2006; and
purchased a condominium unit in the Philippines in the second half of 2005, petitioner never
bothered applying for permanent residency up until July 2006, which is the date when she
reacquired Filipino citizenship under RA 9225, and consequently, waived her status as a nonresident alien.

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Thus, the COMELEC can hardly be blamed from reaching its ruling as petitioners intention to
permanently reside in the Philippines and to abandon the US as her domicile on May 24, 2005
were, based on reasonable premises, shrouded in doubt.
At any rate, the overt acts on which petitioner premises her claims are insufficient to prove her
animus manendiand animus non-revertendi. In fact, same as her failure to promptly address
her permanent residency status, some of these overt acts might even exhibit her ambivalence to
re-establish her domicile in the Philippines on May 24, 2005. For instance, while she purchased
a condominium unit in the Philippines in the second half of 2005 (which period is even past
May 24, 2005), records unveil that petitioner had other real properties in the US, one of which
was purchased in 1992 and another in 2008; among others.
For another, the COMELEC cannot be faulted for relying on petitioners admission
in her 2012 COC for Senator that her period of residence from May 13, 2013 is 6
years and 6 months, which, hence, implied that she started being a Philippine
resident only in November 2006.
While it is true that it is the fact of residence, not a statement in a certificate of candidacy which
ought to be decisive in determining whether or not an individual has satisfied the Constitutions
residency qualification requirement of 10 years, the COMELEC cannot be said to gravely abuse
its discretion when it considered petitioners admission against interest as another circumstance
which militates against her claims legitimacy.
Neither did the COMELEC gravely abuse its discretion in ruling that petitioner made a false
material representation in her 2015 COC when she declared that she was a natural-born citizen
of the Philippines.
There are two ways of acquiring citizenship: (1) by birth, and (2) by naturalization. These ways
of acquiring citizenship correspond to the two kinds of citizens: the natural-born citizen, and the
naturalized citizen.
A person who at the time of his birth is a citizen of a particular country, is a natural-born citizen
thereof. As defined under the present Constitution, natural-born citizens are those who are
citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect
their Philippine citizenship. On the other hand, naturalized citizens are those who have become
Filipino citizens through naturalization.
The Philippine law on citizenship adheres to the principle of jus sanguinis. Thereunder, a child
follows the nationality or citizenship of the parents regardless of the place of his/her birth, as
opposed to the doctrine of jus soli which determines nationality or citizenship on the basis of
place of birth.
In Valles v. COMELEC, the Court held that the signing into law of the 1935 Philippine
Constitution has established the principle of jus sanguinis as basis for the acquisition of
Philippine citizenship. So also, the principle of jus sanguinis, which confers citizenship by virtue
of blood relationship, was subsequently retained under the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions.
Following this principle, proof of blood relation to a Filipino parent is therefore
necessary to show that one is a Filipino citizen by birth. In this case, petitioner has
shown no evidence of blood relation to a Filipino parent to prove that she acquired Filipino
citizenship by birth under the jus sanguinis principle.
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Moreover, under Section 1, Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, foundlings are not included in
the enumeration of who are considered as Filipino citizens. A foundling refers to a deserted or
abandoned infant or child whose parents, guardian or relatives are unknown; or a child
committed to an orphanage or charitable or similar institution with unknown facts of birth and
parentage and registered in the Civil Register as a foundling.
The fact that a candidates parents are unknown directly puts into question his/her Filipino
citizenship because the candidate has no prima facie link to a Filipino parent from which he/she
could have traced her Filipino citizenship. This is why the burden of evidence shifted to
petitioner Poe.
Without any proof of blood relation to a Filipino parent, and without any mention in the 1935
Constitution that foundlings are considered or are even presumed to be Filipino citizens by
birth, the COMELEC's finding that petitioner was not a natural-born citizen cannot be taken as
patently unreasonable and grossly baseless so as to amount to grave abuse of discretion. As it is
apparent, the COMELEC, with good reason, relied on the plain text of the 1935 Constitution
based on the statutory construction axioms of expressio unius est exclusio alterius and verba
legis non est recedendum, as well as firmly abided by the jus sanguinis principle which, as
repeatedly stated, necessitates proof of blood relation, of which petitioner presented none.
Accordingly, its analysis was grounded on sound legal basis and therefore
unreflective of grave abuse of discretion.
As for Associate Justice Perslas-Bernabe, it [is] safer to construe the constitution from what
appears upon its face. Furthermore, in our legal hierarchy, treaties and international principles
belong to the same plane as domestic laws and, hence, cannot prevail over the Constitution.
For all of these reasons, for Associate Justice Perslas-Bernabe dissent to the majoritys ruling
that the COMELEC gravely abused its discretion and therefore, voted to DISMISS the petitions.

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UST LAW 1A 2015-2016