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Is Grace Poe a Natural Born Citizen of the Philippines?

Grace Poe, also known as Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, was born
September 3, 1968. Poe was abandoned at birth in Iloilo and was later adopted by
Fernando Poe, Jr. and his wife Susan Roces. At the time of Poes birth, the 1987
Philippine Constitution has not yet been enacted. Hence, it is the 1935 Philippine
Constitution which provides for the qualifications of a Filipino citizen.
Sec. 1, Article IV of the 1935 Philippine Constitution states that:
The following are citizens of the Philippines:
(1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of
this Constitution.
(2) Those born in the Philippine Islands of foreign parents who, before the
adoption of this Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippine
Islands.
(3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.
(4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and, upon reaching the age
of majority, elect Philippine citizenship.
(5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

And a natural-born Filipino citizen is someone who becomes a Filipino


citizen even without performing any action on his part to become one.
In the case of Grace Poe, she is considered a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines, despite the fact that she is a foundling.
Grace Poe is a Filipino citizen since her father, Fernando Poe Jr., is a citizen
of the Philippines. Fernando Poe Jr., the father of Grace Poe, is a citizen of the
Philippines. The issue on Fernando Poes nationality itself was decided by the
Honorable Supreme Court in the consolidated cases entitled Tecson and Desiderio
Jr. vs. Comelec, et al., G.R. No. 161434, Velez vs. Poe Jr., G.R. No. 161634 and

Fornier vs. Comelec and Poe Jr., G.R. No. 161824, all promulgated on March 3,
2004 which concluded that Fernando Poe Jr. is a natural-born Filipino citizen.
And the Constitution did not specify as regards the kind of father (biological
or adoptive) it refers to. Under the principles of statutory construction, when the
law does not distinguish, neither should we. Hence, pursuant to paragraph 3,
section 1, Article IV of the 1935 Constitution, Grace Poe is a Filipino citizen.
On the question as to whether Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen,
Sec. 2, Article IV of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines provides:
SECTION 2. Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines
from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine
citizenship.

Based on the above provision, Grace Poe is a natural-born citizen. It is noted


that Grace Poe was able to acquire her citizenship as a Filipino without having to
perform any act to acquire or perfect it. Absence any act to perfect it, a person is
considered a natural-born citizen. Thus, Grace Poe is a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines.
Poe is also considered a natural-born citizen under international laws, which
includes treaties, agreements and accepted principles.
The Philippines is a signatory to the Convention of the Rights of the
Children. Articles 7 and 8 of the said convention states:
Article 7
1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right
from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and as far as possible, the
right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.
2. States Parties shall ensure the implementation of these rights in accordance with
their national law and their obligations under the relevant international instruments
in this field, in particular where the child would otherwise be stateless.
Article 8

1. States Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his or her
identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognized by law
without unlawful interference.
2. Where a child is illegally deprived of some or all of the elements of his or her
identity, States Parties shall provide appropriate assistance and protection, with a
view to re-establishing speedily his or her identity.

Being a foundling in the Philippines and with the right to acquire a


nationality under Article 7 of the CRC, Grace Poe could only be given the
nationality of a Filipino citizen. Our government and the state could not have
provided her any other nationality. It follows that Grace Poe was accorded Filipino
citizenship when she was born. And again, she did not perform any act to perfect
her Philippine citizenship, denoting that she is a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines.
One of the tenets of Natural Law is social justice. It is but proper in our
quest for social justice to grant Grace Poe a nationality when she was born. The
same goes for all other foundlings. (Please discuss social justice based on Nat Law
I class naton) And social justice would dictate that foundlings must be considered
natural-born citizens.
And finally, whoever questions that Grace Poe is a natural-born citizen
should prove otherwise. The burden of proving that Grace Poe is not a natural-born
citizen is on them. Unless they could prove it, I am of the belief that Grace Poe is a
natural-born citizen of the Philippines.

Sources:
http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/crc.aspx
The 1935 Philippine Constitution
The 1987 Philippine Constitution