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A. Caguioa, J.
In his brief opinion, Justice Caguioa concurred with the majority opinion in ruling that
COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
when it cancelled the certificate of candidacy of petitioner. According to Justice Caguioa, the
COMELEC failed to prove that petitioner Grace Poe committed material misrepresentations
when she filed her COC. Based on more recent decisions of the Court, there must be a
deliberate attempt to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact on the part of the one filing his or her
certificate of candidacy. However, as Justice Caguioa states, there was none in the present
Furthermore, the COMELEC erred in shifting the burden of proof on petitioner Grace Poe
instead of the proving the grounds for the cancellation of the latters COC.
In ruling upon the 10-year residency mandated by the Constitution, the petitioner did not
commit any material misrepresentation, contrary to the position taken by the COMELEC.
According to Justice Caguioa, petitioner Grace Poe had a permanent stay in mind when it
returned to the Philippines after her fathers presidential campaign in 2004. Further, there was
actual physical presence on the part of petitioner when it returned to the country in 2005.
Based on the actuations of petitioner (e.g. enrolling her students in private schools in the
country), there was a clear and convincing evidence that there was animus manendi and
animus non-revertendi shown by the overt acts of petitioner throughout her stay.
On the petitioners citizenship, Justice Caguioa deviated from the majority opinion in ruling
that the same should not have been ruled upon by the Court because of the limited power of
the Supreme Court in a certiorari review which is confined to rule upon a grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction of the COMELEC.

B. Jardeleza, J.
The concurrence of Justice Jardeleza does not affirm the majority opinion in toto. Rather, it
declares that petitioners argument with regard to COMELEC jurisdiction is inaccurate. As
the Justice has stated, the exercise of the powers and functions of COMELEC are in accord
with its constitutional mandate and does not encroach upon the jurisdiction of the electoral
In the matter of residency of petitioner, Justice Jardeleza pronounces that, petitioner has been
residing in the country since May 2005 contrary to the COMELECs determination that
petitioner established her domicile in the country in July 2006. According to the Justice, as a
state of mind, residency should be approached with a hard and fast rule. There is none. Rather,
it should be dependent of the evidence presented and the contemporaneous circumstances and
the subsequent acts that would tend to prove the intent to permanently establish domicile here
in the Philippines.
On this note, Justice Jardeleza takes credence on petitioners actuations after the death of the
latters father in 2004 and her intention of residing in the Philippines for good. The intent to
stay in the Philippines permanently is further reinforced by the purchase of real property to
serve as the family abode and relocation of household goods, furniture, cars, and other
personal properties from the US. Her subsequent act: of acquiring Filipino citizenship for
herself and her minor children, renouncing her US citizenship, and holding public office are
all consistent with the intent formed as early as 2005. Although these acts are subsequent to
May 2005, they are relevant because they tend to prove a specific intent formed at an earlier
Further, Justice Jardeleza opines that the international laws invoked by petitioner, such as the
1930 Hague Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, cannot be applied because of the
fact that they are not customary. Therefore, the Constitution should be resorted to as the basis
of her citizenship. A plain reading of the organic law indicates that the right simply means
that a child shall be given the opportunity to become a Filipino citizen. It does not create an
enforceable right of citizenship upon birth. However, it is of the opinion of Justice Jardeleza
that the proceeding with regard to the citizenship of an individual should be subject to the due
process and equal protection clauses.
On this matter, COMELEC denied the petitioner its right to due process. There is no
presumption for and against ones citizenship. In proceedings before the COMELEC, the
evidentiary bar against which the evidence presented is measured is substantial evidence,
however, in this case, the Commission required the presentation of DNA evidence which is
definitive evidence. It effectively subjected her to a higher standard of proof, that of absolute
certainty, denying petitioner the right to due process and the equal protection of the laws.

C. Leonen, J.
The opinion of the Justice Leonen laboriously answers the issues of COMELEC jurisdiction,
citizenship, and residency in his concurrence with the majority opinion. On the issue of the
whether there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Commission on Elections in
cancelling petitioner Grace Poes COC, Justice Leonen poses his answer in the positive. He
argues that, the COMELEC has the duty to accept or deny the COCs that lacks qualifications
on its face. However, this is not so in the case at bar. There was no material misrepresentation
on the part of petitioners COC. Therefore, the jurisdiction on the matter does not belong to
COMELEC in cancelling petitioners COC.
In answering the issue of residency, Justice Leonen poses this argument: residency is one of
intention. The intention of petitioner to stay permanently in the country is readily apparent in
her actions from 2004 to 2005 when she returned here in the country for good. Substantial
evidence were also presented showing the intent of petitioner to permanently reside and settle
in the Philippines. Justice Leonen enumerates the actions of petitioner in satisfying the
residency requirement: (1) there was bodily presence on May 2005; (2) her actions showing
intent to remain, such as applying for TIN; (3) intent to abandon her U.S. domicile.
Petitioner, in the opinion of Justice Leonen, succeeded in establishing herself as a naturalborn
citizen of the country. Based on the evidence of petitioner, she has sufficiently proven
her natural-born status, and this warrants the approval of the COC in the upcoming May 2016
elections. As foundlings, the Constitution does not distinguish between them and those who
have known biological parents. If done, this would amount to utter discrimination on
foundlings, of which the Constitution, together with ratified international laws and treaties
have sought to prevent.
D. Sereno, C.J..
It is of the Chief Justices opinion that the COMELEC committed a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to an excess of jurisdiction when it cancelled petitioners COC for president. In his
concurrence with the majority opinion, C.J. Sereno stated that the COMELEC is only allowed
to determine a patent defect in a candidates COC in order to disqualify a candidate. This
patent defect should be characterized by a material misrepresentation with an intent to deceive
or mislead the electorate, by which the COMELEC to do so. Consequently, ruling on the
matter, C.J. Sereno answered in the negative.
According to the Chief Justice, petitioner was able to prove the fact that she reestablished her
residency and domicile in the Philippines during May 2005. COMELEC did not take into
consideration petitioners assertion that she made an honest mistake in her 2013 COC for
senator. The Commission was of the view that this inconsistency between her two COCs
represents an intent to deceive or mislead the electorate. However, C.J. Sereno is of the view
that petitioner submitted sufficient evidence to prove that it was definitely an honest mistake
on her part when she indicated her period of residency in her 2013 COC. Further, the intent to
reside permanently in the Philippines coupled with the intent to abandon her domicile in the
United States was sufficiently proven through different documentary and substantial evidence.
Therefore, there is no reason why the COMELEC should reject petitioners assertion on the
matter of petitioners residency.
Further, C.J. Sereno ruled that there was no legal basis for the COMELEC to conclusively
hold that petitioner is not a natural-born Filipino citizen in lieu of existing domestic and
international laws, and the Constitution. In the case at bar, to refuse petitioner of recognition
as a citizen of the Philippines would amount to a contravention of the countrys obligations
under international laws. Furthermore, a declaration that foundlings are not natural-born
citizens amount to a deprivation of citizenship in general, rendering them, in effect, stateless.
Therefore, the Chief Justice found that it is incumbent upon the Court to strike down the
decision of the COMELEC in light of prevailing national interests and upholding human
E. Velasco, J.
Justice Velasco concurs with the majority opinion, emphasizing on the points of residency
and citizenship of petitioner Grace Poe. First, on the matter of residency, Justice Velasco
pointed out that there was no issue with regard to petitioners bodily presence in the country
during May 2005. Evidence demonstrating petitioners intent to stay were also presented, and
in substantial form, proved the petitioners animus manendi. On July 2006, she took her oath
of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and was repatriated, reacquiring her Filipino
citizenship. According to Justice Velasco, petitioners change of domicile is not accomplished
with one act, but rather, with a series of acts, which began on May 2005. Justice Velasco
further justifies this stance by stating that there is no express rule that provides for the
reckoning period when can one be considered a resident of the Philippines. Therefore, through
petitioners act of animus manendi and animus non-revertendi, as Justice Velasco holds, it can
be seen that her residency should be counted from May 2005.
Justice Velasco holds that petitioner is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. Petitioners
status as a foundling does not close the possibility that her either or both of her parents are
Filipino citizens. Furthermore, as parens patriae, the State must ensure the protection of
abandoned children under their custody. Justice Velasco then argues that the Rafols
Amenment was not nullified because of a disagreement with the delegates of the 1934
Constitutional Convention, but rather, it was not placed in the organic law because of the fact
that foundlings were too few and that a specific mention is not necessary. A construction of
the 1935 Constitution contrary to the one previously stated, according to the Justice, would
render abandoned children without known parents as stateless.


A. Brion, J.
Justice Brions separate dissenting opinion was divided into three parts. However, it was in
the last 2 parts that the Justice tackled the issues of the case at bar. First, on the issue of
jurisdiction, the Justice reveals the absurd situation brought about by the arguments of the
majority opinion. He argues that, if the COMELEC cannot decide upon the qualifications of
the presidential candidate and that it should only be upon his or her proclamation that it should
become possible, leaving it to the electoral tribunals, it might be too late to do such a thing.
Therefore, in accordance with existing laws and pursuant to its constitutional mandate, the
COMELEC has jurisdiction over the case at bar.
On the issue of petitioners citizenship, Justice Brion notes that Poe's original certificate of
live birth (foundling certificate) does not indicate her Philippine citizenship, as she had no
known parents from whom her citizenship could be traced. Despite the absence of such, she
presented government documents that show otherwise. It is of the Justices opinion that the
issuance of these government documents, notwithstanding the questionable natural-born
status of petitioner Grace Poe, in itself arouse the suspicion in using the same as reference to
prove her citizenship.
Justice Brion further dissents from the majority opinion in the matter of residency petitioner
Grace Poe. Petitioners residency should be based on her valid 2013 COC for senator wherein
she indicated her residency as beginning from November 2006. This date is in accordance
with the date when the Bureau of Immigration issued an Order that granted her application for
re-acquisition of Philippine citizenship.
B. Carpio, J.
The dissent of Justice Carpio is limited on the issue of citizenship but provides an extensive
discussion of the same. Passing upon the issue of jurisdiction by which the he answered in the
positive, arguing that, pursuant to their Constitutional mandate, the COMELEC can initially
determine the qualifications of all the candidates for the different positions both in the local
and national elections. Justice Carpio further explains that, to deprive the COMELEC of its
vested power under the organic law would be a mockery of the election process.
Justice Carpio narrows down on the matter of citizenship, laying down, what, in his opinion,
should be the proper interpretation of international laws and its application in the
Philippines. In ruling against petitioners natural-born status, Justice Carpio argued that the
intention of the framers of the Constitution was to categorically reject the proposal to include
foundlings as citizens of the country. He argues that there was a deliberate and glaring
omission of the deliberations of the 1934 Constitutional Commission. Simply put, the
commission intended to exclude these foundlings. In answering petitioners argument, Justice
Carpio categorically states that there was no silence of the Constitution to speak of, and
therefore, there was no need for statutory construction.
With regard to the argument of petitioner that foundlings are governed by international laws
and that generally accepted principles of international law forms part of the law of the land,
Justice Carpio argues that, every independent state has the right and prerogative to determine
who its citizens are. Notwithstanding the existence of these international laws, nations have
the capacity to decide upon which to accept as forming part of the law of the land. Conventions
have explicitly provided that each state has the right to determine, under its own laws, who
are its nationals. Further, he argues, under the international laws as cited by petitioner, it does
obligate its member states to automatically confer upon foundlings a nationality.
Furthermore, with regard to some of the conventions cited by the petitioner, the Philippines is
not a party or a signatory to these conventions. Therefore, it is not bound the same.

Summarized by Justice Carpio, he states that, the Philippines is not a party or signatory to any
treaty or convention which provides expressly or impliedly that a foundling is considered as
a natural-born citizen of the country in which the foundling is found. Furthermore, the country
is not obligated to automatically confer to foundlings found in the country Philippine
citizenship at birth.
However, this does not totally deprive of the right of petitioner to a nationality. This is in
accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Convention
of Civil and Political Rights to which the Philippines is a signatory. Further, it expressly states
that [member] states have the obligation to facilitate the naturalization of stateless persons,
which includes foundlings living within its borders. Pursuant to these express provisions,
specifically the right of every human being to a nationality and the Philippines obligation to
grant citizenship to persons who would otherwise be stateless, a foundling may be naturalized
as a Filipino citizen upon proper application for citizenship, but not as a natural-born citizen.
C. De Castro, J.
In his dissent, Justice De Castro tackles the three-pronged issue of jurisdiction, citizenship,
and residency. Similar to the previous dissents, Justice De Castro rules on the affirmative with
regard to the jurisdiction of COMELEC to rule upon the (dis)qualification of candidates for
the national and local elections. On the other two issues, he provides for a more substantive
discussion in ruling upon the matter of residency and citizenship of petitioner Grace Poe.
The opinion of Justice De Castro with regard to the residency of petitioner Grace Poe revolves
on the assumption arguendo that petitioner can validly repatriate under RA 9225. To this
effect, she only reacquired her Filipino citizenship on July 18 2006. It is argued by
COMELEC that the same date should be the reckoning period by which she could have
reestablished her domicile. For the purposes of election, domicile refers to the place where a
person actually or constructively has his permanent home, where he, no matter where he may
be found at any given time, eventually intends to return and remain.
Justice De Castro argues that it is clear that petitioner Grace Poe lost her domicile when she
became a naturalized American in 2001. Thereafter, upon taking her oath of allegiance on July
2006 under RA 9225, assuming that petitioner can validly take the same, she was deemed to
have reacquired her citizenship on the same date. However, following the cases decided upon
by the Court on the matter, petitioners reacquisition of Philippine citizenship did not
automatically make her regain her residence in the Philippines. She merely had the option to
again establish her domicile here.
Categorically, Justice De Castro states that the petitioner, being a foundling, does not come
within the purview of the constitutional definition of natural-born citizens. The history of the
doctrine of jus sanguinis provides that blood relationship to ones parents would ensure a
sounder guarantee of loyalty to the country rather than its counterpart, jus soli providing for
the attainment of citizenship determined by the place of birth.
A plain reading of the 1935, 1973, and 1987 Constitutions alongside the different
jurisprudence that traces the history of jus sanguinis provides for the exclusive conferment of

citizenship to those born with a Filipino mother and/or father. In the present case, however,
the birth certificate of petitioner Grace Poe indicates that she is a foundling, with unknown
parents, found in Jaro, Iloilo in 1968. Consequently, the Constitution in effect would be the
1935 Constitution. It provides for an exclusive list of who are considered natural-born
citizens of the Philippines, namely, (1) those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines,
and (2) those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age of
majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
Petitioner argues that there is a rebuttable presumption of this enumeration on account of the
generally accepted principles of international law. However, the clear and unequivocal
language of the Constitution leaves no room for statutory interpretation. It must be noted that
the treaties and conventions cited by petitioner are not self-executory, which means that the
same cannot be binding for as long as no legislation is passed to execute the same.
Summarizing his arguments, Justice De Castro states that, in case of conflict between the
Constitution and a statute, the former always prevails because the Constitution is the basic law
to which all other laws, whether domestic or international, must conform to.
D. Del Castillo, J.
Justice Del Castillo divided this dissent into two, separating the procedural and substantive
issues of the case. Starting off with the procedural issues, the Justice answers the question of
whether the COMELEC has jurisdiction over the case of petitioner Grace Poe and their power
to cancel the latters COC. Justice Del Castillo answers in the positive, arguing that the
declaration to cancel petitioners COC lies within the power of the COMELEC, pursuant to
existing election laws and its constitutional mandate. Also, the Commission is not precluded
from determining the qualifications of petitioner notwithstanding the declarations of the
Senate Electoral Tribunals resolution on petitioners case and the declaration of the Bureau
of Immigrations that petitioner is a natural-born citizen. Therefore, to reiterate, jurisdiction
lies within the COMELEC in determining the qualifications and disqualifications of the
Residency requires the intention to remain in the country or animus manendi and the intention
not to return to the country of origin or animus non-revertendi. In the case of petitioner, Justice
Del Castillo points out, upon renunciation of her citizenship as a Filipino and becoming a
citizen of the United States, petitioner would have to establish the earlier two requisites to be
able to prove her domicile in the Philippines. However, in her attempt to do so, petitioner was
not able to show sufficient evidence to prove her intent to remain. As Justice Del Castillo
states, [p]etitioner is not so uneducated as to not understand what the COC asked of her. Even
without the assistance of counsel, it is plainly worded. She graduated from UP and Boston
College, where she most probably learned the basics of Politics. She should have known the
qualifications before she ran for president. On the second requirement, Justice Del Castillo
was not convinced that petitioner did not intend to return to the United States. It was when
petitioner used her U.S. passport five times within 2005 and 2010 that her claim of animus
non-revertendi is disproved.
On the issue of citizenship, Justice Del Castillo invokes the doctrine of constitutional
avoidance referring to the discretion of the court to ignore or side-step a constitutional
question if there is some other ground upon which the case would be resolved. In invoking
this doctrine, the Justice opined that resolving the issue of citizenship would open floodgates
for certain groups with vested interests to use the same to their own advantage. Therefore,
Justice Del Castillo does not rule upon the matter.

E. Perlas-Bernabe, J.
Justice Perlas-Bernabe, in her dissent, disagreed from the majority opinion when it ruled
against the jurisdiction of COMELEC in cancelling the petitioners certificate of candidacy.
She opined that under the Constitution and other existing laws and jurisprudence, there is no
perceivable restriction imposed upon COMELEC that would effectively prevent it from
exercising jurisdiction in ruling upon the qualification and disqualification of petitionercandidate
in the case at bar.
In the matter of residency of petitioner Grace Poe, Justice Perlas-Bernabe argues that the
claims of petitioner of overt acts of establishing her domicile proves to be insufficient. In
her view, a stronger proof is required in the reestablishment of national domicile. All the
more is required when it involves a position in public office. Arguably, the realities of the
Philippine elections have far greater implications, objectively speaking, from a simple citizen
domiciled in a foreign country intending to return to the Philippines.
Justice Perlas-Bernabe maintains the stance of her fellow justices that have dissented from the
opinion of the Court by ruling against the natural-born status of the petitioner Grace Poe.
There was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of COMELEC when it ruled against
petitioner. In the present case, it is insufficient that the majority opinion based its rulings on
statistical probability and other circumstantial evidence. Petitioner has not shown any
evidence of blood relation to any Filipino in order to prove her natural-born status.
Under the 1935 Constitution, which is applicable to petitioner, there is no provision that
provides for the status of foundlings as natural-born citizens. In order to prove her point,
petitioner resorts to the supposed intent of the framers of the Constitution. However, this
was never carried over to the 1973 and 1987 Constitutions which defeats the argument of
petitioner in the case at bar.
In invoking existing international laws as generally accepted principles as part of the law of
the land, petitioner erroneously argues that the same should be considered as binding to the
Philippines. These existing international laws on foundlings consider the latter as natural-born
citizens of the country in which they are found. Contrary to this stance, the past and present
Constitutions have subscribed to the jus sanguinis principle wherein blood relationship defines
a citizen of the country. Therefore, even assuming that these international laws are binding in
the Philippines, they blatantly contravene the organic law. It is well-settled that international
laws are in the same realm as domestic laws. Therefore, in the legal hierarchy, international
laws such as the ones invoked by petitioner cannot prevail over the Constitution.
A subsequent motion for reconsideration would require the Court to reconsider the facts and
different applicable laws and jurisprudence. Moreover, it should always be noted, the external
circumstances that surround a case affect its resolution. A motion for reconsideration, based on
facts of the case at bar and taking into consideration the opinions of the esteemed justices,
amount to a REVERSAL of the majority opinion.
In the case at bar, the intensifying political climate in the country has now reached its peak, with
the presidential candidates scrambling for their supporters. Election surveys are now rampant,
whether self-serving or not. Debates have widened their range of inquiries: from platforms to
personal background. Election gimmicks and theatrics, good or bad, are widespread throughout
different types of media. Amidst this election circus, however, the Filipino people should not
lose sight of the purpose of elections: to preserve the spirit of freedom and democracy, which is
the essence of the Filipino nation.
I dissent from the majority opinion.
As held by the 5 Justices that expressed their dissent, depriving the COMELEC of its jurisdiction
over the matter of the (dis)qualifications of petitioner Grace Poe pursuant to its constitutional
mandate and under existing laws, would amount to the mockery, not only of the electoral
as held by Justice Carpio, but also of the democratic character of the Philippine elections.
Time and again, we are faced with the burden of choosing our candidates, knowing for a fact
a single vote cast determines the future of the country. The past achievements and platforms
the future (if elected) of these candidates are now brought to the fore. However, this should not
blind the Filipinos from choosing who is really qualified. The citizens should always ask
themselves, Is he or is she qualified for the position? The Constitution, ratified by the people
themselves prescribes the qualifications of the highest position in the land, and perhaps the
important positions are now the issues in the case at bar: residency and citizenship.
The return of the petitioner Grace Poe during 2004 was because of her fathers condition and
eventual expiration. Eventually, as petitioner claimed, she decided to permanently reside in the
Philippines for good, as early as May of 2005. However, this cannot be held as conclusive. The
fact that petitioner went back to the United States, using her U.S. passport, cannot, in any
of the imagination, be held as intent to not return, or animus non-revertendi, which is
for proving residency and domicile. Therefore, her claim that she intended to permanently
in the Philippines is debunked, as mentioned earlier, by her intent to return to the United
Therefore, I am of the opinion that petitioner lacks the 10-year residency requirement under
1987 Constitution.
Provided that the petitioner does not satisfy this essential requirement, it is already not
to pass upon the issue of citizenship of petitioner as it can be discussed in a separate case in
for the court to provide for a more thorough discussion. As opined by the esteemed Justice Del
Castillo, a precedent such as the case at bar would open flood gates for petitions, which would
eventually amount to the deterioration of the whole democratic process of the elections in the
country. In this case, the doctrine of constitutional avoidance should be applied. It is my
however, that in a separate case, the issue on citizenship of Grace Poe would amount to the
approval of the court of her status as a natural-born citizen of the country. This can be based
only on the existing international laws but also in the circumstances both nationally and
internationally. that provide for a culture of acceptance and non-discrimination of foundlings.