Wait for SC’s final say on Grace Poe, says her lawyer

Senator Grace Poe (left) reverses roles with news photographers, taking the picture of newly elected Press Photographers of the Philippines officers shortly after their oath taking Monday at the Senate. Poe led the oath taking as chairman of the Committee for Public Information and Mass Media. (MNS Photo)

Senator Grace Poe (left) reverses roles with news photographers, taking the picture of newly elected Press Photographers of the Philippines officers shortly after their oath taking Monday at the Senate. Poe led the oath taking as chairman of the Committee for Public Information and Mass Media. (MNS Photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The legal counsel of Senator Grace Poe on Thursday reiterated that the Supreme Court has the final say on whether the presidential aspirant is a natural-born Filipino.

Asked for comment on Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s remark that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino, lawyer George Garcia replied, “The final decision on this issue belongs to the SC.”

“Perhaps we should all wait for this,” he said.

In a radio interview on Wednesday, Santiago said her colleague has a huge problem in qualifying for the presidency, vice presidency, or even a seat in the Senate because candidates for those national posts are required to be natural-born citizens.

Asked if Poe is natural-born, Santiago said, “No, she’s not. I’m sorry to say.”

“Maski ni-adopt siya, or ni-register sa Department of Social Welfare as a foster child, ‘di siya natural-born,” she said, adding that such status would require knowing that the biological parents or relatives are Filipino.

Poe, a foundling, has yet to identify her biological parents. She was found at the Jaro Cathedral in 1968 and was later adopted by actors Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.

Results of a DNA test on the daughters of Eduardo Militar, who was said to have found Poe inside the cathedral when she was a baby, came out negative.

Poe is waiting for results of DNA tests on three other possible relatives, Garcia earlier said.

She has repeatedly insisted that she is a natural-born Filipino “based on settled applicable jurisprudence.”

However, Santiago said, “But that is not the interpretation of constitutional law.”

The Commission on Elections’ Second Division has disqualified Poe for the presidential race, granting the petition of lawyer Estrella Elamparo, who questioned both the senator’s citizenship and residency.

The division said Poe failed to meet the 10-year residency requirement.

In its decision, it also said Poe was not natural-born.

However, it said that unless definitely resolved by the SC, Poe’s assertion that she is a natural-born citizen is made in good faith.

Poe’s camp will file a motion for reconsideration on Monday, Garcia said.

The senator is facing three other petitions before the Comelec. She said she is already looking to the Supreme Court to allow her to run next year. (MNS)

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