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MARY GRACE NATIVIDAD S POE- LLAMANZARES vs. COMELEC,et al. GR 221697 , GR 221698-700 March 8,2016
ISSUE: (1) Whether or not Grace Poe- Llamanzares is a natural- born Filipino citizen (2) Whether or not Poe satisfies the 10-year residency requirement
FACTS: In her COC for Presidency on the May 2016 elections, Grace Poe declared that she is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and that her residence up to day before May 9, 2016 would be 10 years and 11 months counted from May 24, 2005. Grace Poe was born in 1968., found as newborn infant in Jaro,Iloilo and was legally adopted by RONALD ALLAN KELLY POE (FPJ) and JESUS SONORA POE (SUSAN ROCES) in 1974. She immigrated to the US in 1991 after her marriage to Theodore Llamanzares who was then based at the US. Grace Poe then became a naturalized American citizen in 2001. On December 2004, he returned to the Philippines due to his father’s deteriorating medical condition, who then eventually demice on February 3,2005. She then quitted her job in the US to be with her grieving mother and finally went home for good to the Philippines on MAY 24, 2005. On JULY 18, 2006, the BI granted her petition declaring that she had reacquired her Filipino citizenship under RA 9225. She registered as a voter and obtained a new Philippine Passport. In 2010, before assuming her post as appointes Chairperson of the MTRCB , she renounced her American citizenship to satisfy the RA 9225 requirements as to Reacquistion of Filipino Citizenship. From then on, she stopped using her American passport. Petitions were filed before the COMELEC to deny or cancel her candidacy on the ground particularly among others, that she cannot be considered a natural born Filipino citizen since she was a FOUNDLING and that her bioligical parents cannot be proved as Filipinos. The Comelec en banc cancelled her candidacy on the ground that she is in want of citizenship and residence requirements and that she committed misrepresentation in her COC. On CERTIORARI, the SUPREME COURT, reversed the ruling and held a vote of 9-6 that POE is qualified as candidate for Presidency.
RATIO DECIDENDI: YES. GRACE POE is considerably a natural-born Filipino Citizen. For that, she satisfied the constitutional reqt that only natural-born Filipinos may run for Presidency. (1) there is high probability that Poe’s parents are Filipinos, as being shown in her physical features which are typical of Filipinos, aside from the fact that she was found as an infant in Jaro, Iloilo, a municipality wherein there is 99% probability that residents there are Filipinos, consequently providing 99% chance that Poe’s bilogical parents are Filipinos. Said probability and circumstancial evidence are admissible under Rule 128, Sec 4 of the Rules on Evidence. (2) The SC pronounced that FOUNDLINGS are as a class, natural born- citizens as based on the deliberations of the 1935 Constitutional Convention, wherein though its enumeration is silent as to foundlings, there is no restrictive language either to definitely exclude the foundlings to be natural born citizens. (3) That Foundlings are automatically conferred with the natural-born citizenship as to the country where they are being found, as covered and supported by the UN Convention Law. As to the residency issue, Grace Poe satisfied the 10-year residency because she satisfied the requirements of ANIMUS MANENDI (intent to remain permanently) coupled with ANIMUS NON REVERTENDI (intent of not returning to US) in acquiring a new domicile in the Philippines. Starting May 24,2005, upon returning to the Philippines, Grace Poe presented overwhelming evidence of her actual stay and intent to abandon permanently her domicile in the US, coupled with her eventual application to reacquire Filipino Citizenship under RA 9225. Hence, her candidacy for Presidency was granted by the SC.
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