MANILA — Senator Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino and also complied with the residency requirement to run for president in the May 9, 2016 elections.
This was declared by the Supreme Court (SC) in a 47-page decision released on Friday on the case of the qualification of Poe to run for president.
During the deliberations last Tuesday, with a 9-6 vote, the SC reversed the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) which cancelled the certificate of candidacy (COC) for president of Poe in the May 9 elections.
The SC said that the Comelec has committed “grave abuse of discretion” in the decision it rendered.
According to the SC, the pieces of evidence are more than sufficient to believe that Poe is a natural-born citizen.
The SC said that the issue should not focus on who were the parents of Poe such that their identities were not established, but rather, were her parents Filipinos.
If the basis will be the statistics presented by the Solicitor General as well as the circumstancial evidence presented by Poe, the SC said, there’s a big possibility to say that the parents of the senator were Filipinos.
Among the circumstancial evidende pointed out by the SC were that Poe was abandoned when she was just a baby in a church in Iloilo City, where majority of the population are Filipinos, as well as her physical trait which is typical in a Filipino such as the straight black hair, almond-shaped eyes and oval face.
The SC said that the private respondents or those who pursued the cancellation of Poe’s COC have the responsibility to prove that the parents of Poe were foreigners.
On the issue of residency, the SC was convinced that Poe was telling the truth when she declared in her COC that she shall have been a resident of the Philippines for 10 years and 11 months come the eve of the May 9, 2016 elections.
The SC believes that the change of domicile by Poe began on May 24, 2005 when she returned to the Philippines and decided to leave the United States as their residency.
The SC also gave weight on the pieces of evidence presented by Poe proving that they already decided to reside again in the Philippines, including the email correspondence or exchange of messages in the email from March 2005 to September 2006 in a freight company for the shipment of their belongings from the United States to the Philippines; the enrolment of their children in a school in the Philippines and the tax declaration. PNA