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FACTS: Senator Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares is a foundling whose biological

parents are unknown. As an infant, she was abandoned at the Parish Church of
Jaro, Iloilo. She was later adopted and raised by spouses FPJ and Susan Roces.
She took her college degree in the USA. She returns to the Philippines frequently.
On July 29, 1991, Senator Poe decided to settle in the US with her husband and
children and lived there for some time. She was naturalized and granted American
citizenship on October 18, 2001. She was subsequently given a United States
When FPJ ran for President in 2004, she returned to support her father's candidacy.
After the Elections, she returned to the United States on July 8, 2004.
On December 14, 2004, FPJ died. She stayed in the country until February 3, 2005
to attend her father's funeral and to attend to the settling of his estate.
In 2004, Senator Poe resigned from work in the United States and decided to return
home in 2005. She came back on May 24, 2005. On July 7, 2006, she took the Oath
of Allegiance to Republic of the Philippines
In July 2006, her Petition for Retention and or Re-acquisition of Philippine
Citizenship and derivative citizenship on behalf of her three children were granted.
Senator Poe became a registered voter of Barangay Santa Lucia, San Juan City on
August 31, 2006.
Senator Poe made several trips to the United States of America between 2006 and
2009 using her United States Passport. She used her passport "after having taken
her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic on 07 July 2006, but not after she has formally
renounced her American citizenship on 20 October 2010.
On October 6, 2010, President Aquino appointed Senator Poe as Chairperson of the
Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). On October 20,
2010, Senator Poe executed an Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to the United
States of America and Renunciation of American Citizenship.
Senator Poe executed an Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of the
United States on July 12, 2011.
Senator Poe decided to run as Senator in the 2013 Elections and eventually won.
David, a losing candidate in the 2013 Senatorial Elections, filed before the Senate
Electoral Tribunal a Petition for Quo Warranto on August 6, 2015. He contested the
election of Senator Poe for failing to "comply with the citizenship and residency
requirements mandated by the Constitution.
On November 17, 2015, the Senate Electoral Tribunal promulgated its assailed
Decision finding Senator Poe to be a natural-born citizen and, therefore, qualified to
hold office as Senator.
Hence, this petition.
ISSUE: Whether Grace Poe is eligible to sit as a Senator
HELD: Voting 9-3, the high court ruled in favor of Poe.
From the deliberations of the 1934 Constitutional Convention on citizenship, it was
never the intention of the framers to exclude foundlings from natural-born citizenship
status. Children or people born in a country of unknown parents are citizens of this
nation and the only reason that there was no specific reference to foundlings in the
1935 provision was that these cases are few and far in between. Evident intent was
to adopt the concept found in the Spanish Code wherein all children of unknown
parentage born in Spanish territory are considered Spaniards, because the
presumption is that a child of unknown parentage is the son of a Spaniard.
Under Art. 14 of the Hague Convention of 1930 (on Conflict of Nationality Laws), a
foundling is presumed to have been born on the territory of the State in which it was
found until the contrary is proved. Although the Philippines is not a signatory to said
convention, its provisions are binding as they form part of the law of the land
pursuant to the incorporation clause. Senator Roxas in the 1934 Constitutional
Convention remarked By international law the principle that children or people born
in a country of unknown parents are citizens in this nation is recognized By
referring to this rule in international law (which was no other than Art. 14 of the
Hague Convention of 1930), what was effectively created in the Constitution itself,
was an exception to the general rule of natural-born citizenship based on blood
Hence, foundlings (children born in the Philippines with unknown parentage) were,
by birth, accorded natural-born citizenship by the Constitution. natural-born citizens
by legal fictionThe framers of the Constitution were sufficiently empowered to create
a class of natural-born citizens by legal fiction, as an exception to the jus sanguinis
rule. This is evident from Art. 1 (State to determine who are its nationals) and Art. 2
(questions on nationality to be determined by the law of that State) of the 1930
Hague Convention.
Poe validly reacquired her natural-born Filipino citizenship upon taking her Oath of
Allegiance to the Republic, as required under Section 3, R.A. No. 9225. Before
assuming her position as MTRCB Chairman, Poe executed an affidavit of
renunciation of foreign citizenship. This was sufficient to qualify her for her appointive
position, and later, her elective office as R.A. No. 9225 did not require that her
Certificate of Loss of Nationality filed before the U.S. Embassy be first approved in
order that she may qualify for office. Records of the Bureau of Immigration show that
Poe still used her U.S. passport after having taken her Oath of Allegiance but not
after she has renounced her U.S. Citizenship.