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Poe-Llamanzares vs.

COMELEC (2016)
Perez, J.
FACTS:
Petitioner was found as an abandoned newborn infant in Jaro, Iloilo by one Edgardo Militar on September 03,
1968.
Care and custody for the petitioner was passed on to a relative, Emiliano Militar, who then registered her as a
foundling with the Office of the Civil Registrar of Iloilo City.
A petition for her adoption was filed by sps. Poe before the MTC of San Juan. The petition was granted on May
13, 1974.
Petitioner initially enrolled in UP, but opted to finish her studies in the US. She graduated from Boston College in
1991.
In the same year, she married Teodoro Llamanzares, a dual citizen of the US and the Philippines. Two days after
the wedding, or on July 29, 1991, she and her husband returned to the US.
On October 18, 2001, petitioner became a naturalized American citizen. She obtained her US Passport on
December 19, 2001.
After her father died, she and her husband decided to move and reside permanently in the Philippines sometime
in the first quarter of 2005.
o They prepared for their resettlement, including pulling her children out of their schools and moving their
property for relocation.
o As early as 2004, petitioner already quit her job in the US.
Petitioner came home to the Philippines on May 24, 2005. Her husband and children stayed behind to facilitate
the sale of their family home.
Petitioner then purchased a condominium unit in San Juan City and a CCT was issued by the San Juan RD on
February 20, 2006. Her children were then enrolled in local private schools.
On February 14, 2006,the petitioner made a quick trip to the US and travelled back to the Philippines on March
11, 2006.
Their US family home was sold on April 2006. Around the same time, they bought their present family home.
On July 07, 2006, petitioner took her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to RA 9225.
o Under the same Act, she filed a sworn petition with the BU to reacquire her PH citizenship together with
petitions for derivative citizenship for her minor children on July 10, 2006.
o The BI acted favorably on the petition on July 18, 2006.
She registered as a voter on August 31, 2006. She also secured from the DFA a new passport.
On October 06, 2010, Pres. Aquino appointed her as chairperson of the MTRCB.
o Before assuming her post, she executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States of
America and Renunciation of American Citizenship on October 20, 2010.
o From then on, she stopped using her American passport.
On July 12, 2011, petitioner executed before the Vice Consul of the US Embassy an Oath/Affirmation of
Renunciation of Nationality of the United States.
o On December 09, 2001, she was issued a Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the United States.
She filed a COC with the COMELEC on October 02, 2012, wherein she stated 6 years and 6 months as to the
question of period of residence in the Philippines before May 13, 2013.
On October 15, 2015, petitioner filed a COC for Presidency. She declared that she is a natural-born citizen and a
resident for 10 years and 11 months counted before May 09, 2016, counted from May 24, 2005. This triggered the
filing of the present cases against her.
Elamparo Petition (G.R. No. 221697):
o On residence: petitioner committed material misrepresentation; she was bound by her declaration in the
2012 COC that she was a resident for 6 years and 6 months.

On citizenship: she cannot be considered natural-born as international law does not confer natural-born
status on foundlings. Therefore, she is not qualified to apply for reacquisition under RA 9225. Assuming
arguendo that she was natural-born, she acquired this status when she became a US citizen. Naturalborn citizenship must be continuous since birth.
On December 01, 2015, the COMELEC Second Division granted Elamparos Petition to Deny Due Course to or
Cancel Certificate of Candidacy,
Contreras/Tatad/Valdez petitions (G.R. Nos. 221698-700):
o Tatad alleged that the Philippines adheres to jus sanguinis, and hence, parents of unknown origin such as
foundlings cannot be considered natural-born. Moreover, there is not standard state practice that
automatically confers natural-born status to foundlings.
o On residency, Tatad claims that petitioner only acquired her domicile in QC when she renounced her US
citizenship, which was in 2010 or 2011. There was lack of intention to abandon domicile as petitioners
husband stayed in the US and had frequent trips thereto.
o For Valdez, natural-born citizens who are repatriated under RA 9225 will not revert to their original status
as natural-born citizens. He also took note of the representation in the 2012 COC.
o Contreras, meanwhile, only attacked the residency issue. The statement that petitioner was a resident for
10 years and 12 months was a false entry. The reckoning date should be July 18, 2006 when the BI
approved her petition.
On December 11, 2015, the COMELEC First Division ruled that petitioner is not a natural-born citizen and that
she failed to comply with the ten-year residency requirement.
Petitioner then filed petitions for certiorari with urgent prayer for TRO/status quo ante order and/or WPI.
o

ISSUES + RULING:
WON the COMELEC committed GAD in denying due course or cancelling the COC of petitioner. YES.
The COMELEC, cannot itself, in the same cancellation case, decide the qualification or lack thereof of the
candidate.
None of the powers enumerated in Art. IX-C, Sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution have the same exactitude of the
provisions of Art. VI, Sec. 17, which provides for the HRET and SET, or that of Art. VII, Sec. 4, which provides that
the SC en banc shall be the sole judge of all contests regarding the Presidency and Vice-Presidency.
These tribunals have jurisdiction over the question of qualifications of the President, VP, Senators, and the HoR.
There is no such provision for candidates for these provisions.
In Fermin v COMELEC, the SC ruled that mere rules could not be sufficient to provide the COMELEC with power
to decide on the ineligibility of candidates.
The COMELEC rules were drastically revised, and the present situation is that in order to disqualify a candidate,
there must be a declaration by final judgment of a competent court that the candidate sought to be disqualified is
guilty of or found by the Commission to be suffering from any disqualification provided by law or the Constitution.
The fact of qualification must be established in a prior proceeding before an authority properly vested with
jurisdiction. The prior determination may be by statute, EO, or judgment of a competent court or tribunal.
[Sub-issue] WoN the fact of petitioners blood relationship with a Filipino citizen was demonstrable. YES.
The burden of proof was on the private respondents to show that petitioner is not a Filipino citizen.
o Petitioners admission that she was a foundling did not shift the burden to her because such status did not
exclude the possibility that her parents were Filipinos. There is a high probability that they are.
Citing Sec. 4, Rule 128 of the RoC, evidence on collateral matters may be allowed when it tends to establish the
probability or improbability of the fact in issue.
The OSG offered statistics to the effect that any child born from 1965-1975 was 99.83% natural-born.
In 1960, 99.62% of the population in Iloilo was 99.62%. The OSG also presented other such data (all above 99%)
to show the percentage of Filipinos in the population. The COMELEC did not dispute these figures.

Other circumstantial evidence: the fact of being abandoned in a Catholic Church and her physical features. There
is disputable presumption that things have happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary
habits of life.

[Sub-issue] WoN foundlings, as a class, are natural-born citizens. YES.


While the 1935 Constitutions enumeration is silent as to foundlings, there is no restrictive language which would
definitely exclude them either.
Because of silence and ambiguity in the enumeration with respect to foundlings, there is a need to examine the
intent of the framers.
During the 1934 convention, Rafols wanted to introduce an amendment that children of unknown parentage be
included in the enumeration; however, Roxas cited that since these cases are few and far in between, the
Constitution need not refer to them.
o Echoed by the OSG in the oral arguments: the Montinola and Roxas were of the view tat there is no more
need to expressly declare foundlings as Filipinos because they are already impliedly so recognized.
All there Constitutions (1935, 1973, 1987) guarantee the basic right of equal protection of the laws. There are also
special provisions that exhort the State to render social justice.
o According to the Court, these provisions contradict intent to discriminate against foundlings.
Domestic laws on adoption also support the principle that foundlings are Filipinos. These laws do not provide that
adoption confers citizenship upon the adoptee. Rather, the adoptee must be a Filipino in the first place to be
adopted.
The Court likewise promulgated Rules on Adoption include foundlings as among Filipino children who may be
adopted.
Under Art. VI, Sec. 2, having to perform an act means that the act must be personally done by the citizen. In the
case of foundlings, determination of their status is done by the authorities. The object of the process is the
determination of the whereabouts of the parents, not the citizenship of the child. This process is also not
analogous to naturalization.
Foundlings are likewise citizens under international law. Generally accepted principles of international law form
part of the laws of the land, via the incorporation doctrine.
o International customary rules are accepted as binding as a result from the combination of two elements:
Established, widespread, and consistent practice on the part of States
Psychological element or the opinion juris sive necessitates (opinion as to law or necessity)
o There are general principles against discrimination, which are the same core principles that underlie the
PH Constitution itself.
o The UDHR states that everyone has a right to a nationality, and that no one shall be deprived of his
nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
o Meanwhile, the UNCRC imposes as a state obligation that a child has the right to acquire a nationality
and state parties must ensure the implementation of rights in particular where the child would otherwise
be stateless.
o The ICCPR also provides for the right of every child to acquire a nationality.
o The 1930 Hague Convention on Certain Questions Relating to the Conflict of Nationality Laws states that
a foundling is presumed to have the nationality of the country of birth. It also carries the principle that a
foundling is presumed born of citizens of the country where he is found.
Although not a party to the 1930 Hague Convention nor to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of
Statelessness, the above principles are still binding.
o The Court, in Razon v Tagtiis and Mijares v Raada, approached the matter of unratified Conventions in
this manner: generally accepted principles of international law are based not only on international custom,
but also on general principles of law recognized by civilized nations.
All of the international law conventions and instruments on the matter of nationality of foundlings were designed to
address the plight of their class, which is not of their own making.

WoN the petitioners repatriation in July 2006 resulted in the acquisition of natural-born citizenship. YES.
The COMELEC ruled that since the applicant for repatriation under RA 9225 must perform an act, what is
reacquired is not natural-born citizenship but only plain Philippine citizenship
The COMELEC disregarded consistent jurisprudence on RA 9225. The law is a repatriation statute that
provides for an abbreviated repatriation process that restores ones Filipino citizenship.
In Parreo v COA, the Court categorically stated that if petitioner reacquires his Filipino citizenship (under RA
9225), he will recover his natural-born citizenship.
COMELECs position that natural-born status must be continuous was already rejected in Bengson v HRET,
where the phrase from birth was clarified to mean at the time of birth. Thus, a person who at the time of his
birth, is a citizen of a particular country, is a natural-born citizen thereof.
o In the same decision, the Court stated that there were only two types of citizens under the present
Constitution: natural-born and naturalized.
The COMELEC cannot reverse a judicial precedent.
WoN petitioner committed false material misrepresentations in her 2015 COC as to the period of residence. NO.
Petitioners claim that she will have been a resident for 10 years and 11 months on the day before the 2016
elections is true.
o Petitioners entry in the COC corresponds to a beginning date of May 25, 2005, when she returned for
good from the US.
To successfully effect a change in domicile, one must demonstrate an actual removal or an actual change of
domicile; a bona fide intention of abandoning the former place of residence and establishing a new one, and
definite acts which correspond to that purpose.
Petitioner presented evidence showing that she and her family abandoned their US domicile and relocated to the
Philippines for good, such as:
o Passport entry showing arrival on May 24, 2005 and her return to the PH every time she travelled abroad
o Correspondences regarding the shipment of their properties to the PH
o School records of her children in PH schools starting June 2005
o Tax Declarations and titles to properties in the PH
o Sale of their US home
o Questionnaire from the SU Embassy showing that petitioner stated that she was a PH resident since May
2005
COMELEC: there was no animus non-revertendi. Argued that the stay of an alien former Filipino cannot be
counted unless he acquires a permanent resident visa or reacquires citizenship.
o SC: The cases that the COMELEC rely on have only sparse evidence on residence. In contrast, the
evidence in the case at bar is overwhelming and shows no other conclusion that she decided to
permanently abandon her US residence.
COMELEC also took it against petitioner that she entered visa-free as a balikbayan. However, RA 6768 or the
balikbayan program does not treat balikbayans as ordinary transients.
As to the 2012 COC entry, petitioner explained that she misunderstood the date requirement as the period of
residence as of the day she submitted that COC in 2012.
o SC: her explanation is bolstered by the changed introduced by the COMELEC in the 2015 COC which
now asks period of residence in the Philippines up to the day before May 09, 2016. There was thus an
acknowledgement that the previous form of the COC was vague.
It was GAD for the COMELC to treat the 2012 COC as a binding and conclusive admission against petitioner.
o In Romualdez-Marcos v COMELEC, the Court ruled that it is the fact of residence, not a statement in the
COC that is decisive in determining fulfillment of the residency requirement.
o Petitioner was in good faith.

Petitioner also did not appear to have hidden anything. In her Answer in the SET proceedings on September 01,
2015, she admitted that she misunderstood the residency requirement in the 2012 COC. She filed her 2015 COC
on October 15. The SET case was a matter of public record.
There must be evidence that there was a deliberate intent to mislead, misinform, or hide a fact that would
otherwise render a candidate eligible.

DISPOSITION: Granted.