SC insists Sandigan justice is Filipino citizen-A A +A
Friday, May 3, 2013
THE Supreme Court maintained that Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Gregory Ong is a Filipino and not a Chinese citizen as claimed by former Special Prosecutor Dennis Villa-ignacio.
"The pronouncements of the Court in both GR No. 179895 and GR No. 180543, and the finality of the decision rendered by the RTC (Pasig Regional Trial Court branch 264) on October 24, 2007 in Special Proceedings No. 11767-SJ recognizing Justice Ong as a natural born citizen of the Philippines and directing the correction of the existing records of his birth and citizenship have already settled the subject of the query posed by SP Villa-ignacio," the SC said in a resolution signed by clerk of court Enriqueta Vidal.
Ong was named to the SC by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in May 2007 to succeed retired Associate Justice Romeo Callejo Sr. but his appointment was withdrawn due to citizenship issues.
It was the first time for the justices to turn down a presidential appointment since the High Court was created in 1901. The Constitution only allows natural-born citizens to be appointed as justices of the SC, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals and Court of Appeals.
Ong, 59, was reportedly vying to replace Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Francisco Villaruz Jr. upon his retirement next month. He has been with the anti-graft court since October 1998. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)