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G.R. No. 161434

March 3, 2004

Ronald Allan Kelly Poe also known as Fernando Poe Jr. was one of the candidates for
the position of president in the national election. A petition for disqualification was then
filed against him on the ground that he made a material misrepresentation in his
certificate of candidacy by claiming to be a natural-born citizen. It was alleged that Poes
parents were foreigners, where his mother Bessie Kelly Pow was an American while his
father Allan Poe was a Spanish national, being the son of Lorenzo Poe, who was a
Spanish subject. Further, it was also asseverated that, if Allan was a Filipino citizen, he
could not have transmitted his Filipino citizenship to FPJ being an illegitimate child of an
alien mother.
Whether or not FPJ is a natural-born Filipino citizen.

Yes. Documentary evidence adduced by petitioner would tend to indicate that the
earliest established direct ascendant of FPJ was his paternal grandfather Lorenzo Pou.
The death certificate of Lorenzo Pou would indicate that he died on 11 September 1954,
at the age of 84 years, in San Carlos, Pangasinan. It could thus be assumed that
Lorenzo Pou was born sometime in the year 1870 when the Philippines was still a
colony of Spain.
Under the Jones Law, a native-born inhabitant of the Philippines was deemed to be a
citizen of the Philippines as of 11 April 1899 if he was 1) a subject of Spain on 11 April
1899, 2) residing in the Philippines on said date, and, 3) since that date, not a citizen of
some other country. Hence, Lorenzo is deemed to have acquired the Filipino citizenship
through the Jones Law.
Herein, the date, month and year of birth of FPJ appeared to be 20 August 1939 during
the regime of the 1935 Constitution. Through its history, four modes of acquiring
citizenship naturalization, jus soli, res judicata and jus sanguinis had been in vogue.
Only two, jus soli and jus sanguinis could qualify a person to being a natural-born citizen

of the Philippines. With the adoption of the 1935 Constitution and, jus sanguinis or blood
relationship would now become the primary basis of citizenship by birth.
Further, the 1935 Constitution, during which regime respondent FPJ has seen first light,
confers citizenship to all persons whose fathers are Filipino citizens regardless of
whether such children are legitimate or illegitimate.
But while the totality of the evidence may not establish conclusively that FPJ is a
natural-born citizen of the Philippines, the evidence on hand still would preponderate in
his favor enough to hold that he cannot be held guilty of having made a material
misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy in violation of Section 78, in relation to
Section 74, of the Omnibus Election Code.