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GRAND LAW DEBATE 2016

SPEECH
AFFIRMATIVE: BENEFICIALITY
Since the existence of foundlings is a
fact, why are their rights shrouded with
conjectures and suppositions?
Respected
board
of
judges,
distinguished
guests,
ladies
and
gentlemen, a pleasant evening to you
all.
Contrary to what the negative side
wishes to impress upon everyone this
evening, this debate is not only about us
natural-born citizens or
about our
overzealousness to protect and uphold
the mandate and integrity of our
constitution, but rather this is also about
the foundlings whose status we have
miserably failed to clearly define. And
we should tarry no more, for indeed, a
right delayed is a right denied.
As the beneficiality speaker for the
affirmative, I have no doubt in mind that
declaring foundlings as non-natural born
citizens will be beneficial not only for our
system of government but also for the
foundlings themselves whose rights,
and status we have neglected for so
long, like an elephant in the room.
The fact of the matter is, neither the
constitution nor existing legislative
enactments provide for a manner by
which a foundling may be considered a
Philippine Citizen This, despite our clear
obligation under international law to
enable them to do so.
As they are essentially of unknown
parentage, foundlings cannot fall under
those who acquire Philippine citizenship
by the mere fact of birth to a Filipino

mother or father. They cannot also


source their Filipino citizenship from
naturalization in accordance with the
existing law as there is yet no law that
has been passed allowing a process for
them to acquire citizenship. Republic Act
9139, which amended the Revised
Naturalization Act, prescribes that the
applicant must at least be above 18
years of age. As a result, until such time
the foundling opts and is qualified to
undergo the process, he/she is
temporarily a stateless person in the
eyes of our Constitution.
The 1954 Convention relating to the
Status of Stateless Persons defines a
stateless person as one who is not
considered as a national by any State
under the operation of its law. As such,
he/she cannot exercise certain civil and
political rights which are especially
reserved for citizens of a State.
Through the affirmative side of the
proposition, we will be able to clarify and
firmly establish the status of foundlings
in a manner that is consistent with the
constitution. It is fundamental in our
legal system that the rights and best
interest of the child is paramount, and it
is to the best interest of the foundling to
be declared a Filipino. Whether it be
achieved through an amendment to the
naturalization law, or through an entirely
different law to enable foundling minors
to be naturalized, the problem of their
statelessness is resolved. As a
consequence, they become citizens of
the Philippines, with all the rights and
privileges of a naturalized Filipino.
On the other hand, it also benefits the
State in that not only will the proposition
vest upon foundlings the rights of a
naturalized Filipino, the State in turn

becomes compliant with its obligations


under international law. Under the
International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights and the UN Convention
on the Rights of a Child, States Parties
are required to enable every child to
acquire
a
nationality.
It
also
accomplishes the State interest in that it
clarifies where foundlings belong in the
category of Filipino citizens, thus
preserving the reservation of certain key
government positions to natural-born
Filipinos as required by the Constitution.
Through the proposition, two interests
are therefore benefited: the interest of
the foundling and the interest of the
State. A balance is therefore created.
The end of the law, John Locke reminds
us, is not to abolish and restrain, but to
preserve and enlarge freedom. For in all
the states of created beings capable of
law, where there is no law, there is no
freedom.
Mister/Madam Moderator, I am now
ready for my interpellation.