THE Supreme Court has decided. Voting 9-6 in an en banc session last March 9, 2016, it ruled in favor of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares allowing her to run for president, and junking the poll body's decision disqualifying her for the presidency on account of her questionable citizenship and residency status.
But the full text of the High Court's ruling -- the oral arguments of the parties involved in the case, the concurring and dissenting opinions of the justices in attendance--was disclosed only days later.
For clarity sake, let me state herein the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution regarding the requirements for a person who wants to run for president:
--Article VII (Executive Department) Sec. 2 states that “no person may be elected president unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least 40 years of age on the day of election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.
--Article IV (Citizenship) Sec.2. Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or to perfect their citizenship.
The aforementioned constitutional provisions are unambiguous and self-explanatory. Since there are valid complaints being lodged against Poe questioning the status of her citizenship, then by all means she must present substantial evidence before the High Court to prove that she is indeed a natural-born citizen of this country. The word "foundling" is not even mentioned by our Constitution.
In fairness to Poe, she made all-out efforts to trace the bloodline of her family in Jaro, Iloilo province, the place of her birth, but all DNA results proved to be negative. Thus, until now, she has not been able to submit to the High Court the positive results of the DNA aimed at identifying her biological parents.
We can't help but be dismayed by the High Court's decision allowing the neophyte lady senator to run for president in spite of her questionable and unproven status of being a natural-born Filipino citizen. A number of legal experts are of the opinion that the High Court acted or strayed outside the ambit of law.
The late Philippine president Ramon Magsaysay once said, "Those who have less in life should have more in law." Have the majority of the justices of the Supreme Court been overwhelmed by these unforgettable words of the late president that they voted in favor of presidential aspirant Grace Poe?
The Constitution is silent about foundlings in the field of political battle. And yet the lady senator got the green light from the majority of the justices allowing her to run for the highest post of the land.
A biblical passage says it all, "The sabbath was made for man not man for the sabbath." In simple words, I can then say with all boldness: The Constitution was made for man not man for the Constitution.
Hence, our Constitution should be submissive and accommodating to presidential aspirant Poe, not that she should submit to what the Constitution requires from her. I can be corrected on this but this was what happened in the judiciary when it ruled in favor of the embattled presidential wanna be.
Now, who says that a foundling does not have any slot in the forthcoming presidential race? In line with the Supreme Court ruling, it is not awkward to say at this particular point of time that the lady senator and presidential aspirant is a natural-born Filipino citizen by presumption or legal fiction. --Joselito S. Berdin of Lapu-Lapu City