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 Citizenship is a treasured right conferred on those whom the state believes are deserving
of the privilege. It is a "precious heritage, as well as an inestimable acquisition," that
cannot be taken lightly by anyone — either by those who enjoy it or by those who dispute
 Before the Court are three consolidated cases, all of which raise a single question of
profound importance to the nation. The issue of citizenship is brought up to challenge the
qualifications of a presidential candidate to hold the highest office of the land.
 On 31 December 2003, respondent Ronald Allan Kelly Poe, also known as Fernando
Poe, Jr. "FPJ", filed his certificate of candidacy for the position of President of the
Republic of the Philippines under the Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) Party. In
his certificate of candidacy, FPJ, representing himself to be a natural-born citizen of the
Philippines, stated his name to be "Fernando Jr.,"
 GR 161824: Victorino Fornier, petitioner of the case initiated on 09 January 2004, petition
SPA No. 04-003 before the Commission on Elections ("COMELEC") to disqualify FPJ
and to deny due course or to cancel his certificate of candidacy upon the thesis that FPJ
made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of candidacy by claiming to be a
natural- born Filipino citizen when in truth, his parents were foreigners; his mother,
Bessie Kelley Poe, was an American, and his father, Allan Poe, was a Spanish national,
being the son of Lorenzo Pou, a Spanish subject.
 In the hearing before the Third Division of the COMELEC on 19 January 2004, petitioner,
in support of his claim, presented several documentary exhibits — 1) a copy of the
certificate of birth of FPJ, 2) a certified photocopy of an affidavit executed in Spanish by
Paulita Poe y Gomez attesting to her having filed a case for bigamy and concubinage
against the father of respondent, Allan F. Poe, after discovering his bigamous relationship
with Bessie Kelley, 3) an English translation of the affidavit aforesaid, 4) a certified
photocopy of the certificate of birth of Allan F. Poe, 5) a certification issued by the
Director of the Records Management and Archives Office, attesting to the fact that there
was no record in the National Archives that a Lorenzo Poe or Lorenzo Pou resided or
entered the Philippines before 1907, and 6) a certification from the Officer-In-Charge of
the Archives Division of the National Archives to the effect that no available information
could be found in the files of the National Archives regarding the birth of Allan F. Poe.
 On 10 February 2004, petitioner assailed the decision of the COMELEC before this Court
conformably with Rule 64, in relation to Rule 65, of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.
The petition, docketed G.R. No. 161824, likewise prayed for TRO, a writ of preliminary
injunction that would stay the finality and/or execution of the COMELEC resolutions.
 The other petitions, later consolidated with G.R. No. 161824, would include G.R. No.
161434, both challenging the jurisdiction of the COMELEC and asserting that, under
Article VII, Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, only the Supreme Court had
original and exclusive jurisdiction to resolve the basic issue on the case.

 Whether or not FPJ’s Certificate of Candidacy may be cancelled on the allegation that he
is not a Filiipino citizen?

 The distinctions between legitimacy and illegitimacy should only remain in the sphere of
civil law and should not unduly impinge on the domain of political law.
 The 1935 Constitution confers citizenship to all persons whose fathers are Filipino
regardless of whether such children are legitimate of illegitimate.
 Concept of citizenship: Aristotle described a citizen as a man who shared in the
administration of justice and in the holding of an office and the state would be composed
of such individuals in order to achieve a self-sufficient existence.
o Citizenship deals with rights and entitlements on the one hand and with
concomitant obligations on the other.
o In the 18th century, the concept was civil citizenship, which established the rights
necessary for necessary for individual freedom (eg. Rights to property, personal
liberty and justice)
o In the 19th century, it expanded to include political citizenship, which
encompassed the right to participate in the exercise of political power.
o In the 20th century, there was the development of social citizenship, which laid
emphasis on the right of the citizen to economic well-being and social security.

 Citizenship in the Philippines from the Spanish times to the present

 Philippine Organic Act of 1902 – first appearance of the term “citizens of the Philippine
islands.” A citizen of the Philippine islands under this Act was:
o An inhabitant of the Philippines and a Spanish subject on April 11, 1899.
o An inhabitant meant: A native born inhabitant, An inhabitant who was a native of
Spain, & An inhabitant who obtained Spanish papers on or before April 11, 1899.

 Controversy as to the citizenship of a child born between April 11, 1899 and July 1, 1902
as there was no citizenship law in the Philippines. The common law principle jus soli
(principle of territoriality) was said to govern those born in the Philippines during this time.
 Philippine Autonomy Act (Jones Law) – A native born inhabitant of the Philippines was
deemed to be a citizen of the Philippines as of April 11, 1899 if:
o A Spanish subject on April 11, 1899 is residing in the Philippines on the said
date. Since that date, not a citizen of another country.

 1935 Constitution – provided that jus sanguinis (blood relationship) be the basis for
citizenship, as stated in Sec. 1, Art. 3:
o Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of the
o Those born in the Philippine Islands of foreign parents who, before the adoption
of this Constitution, had been elected to public office in the Philippine Islands
o Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines
o Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines and upon reaching the age
of majority, elect Philippine citizenship
o Those who are naturalized in accordance with law

 1973 Constitution – Corrected Sec. 1, Art. 3 (4) of the 1935 Constitution, which, when
taken together with the existing civil law provisions would provide that women would
automatically lose their Filipino citizenship and acquire that of their foreign
husbands. This was deemed discriminatory in that it incapacitated the Filipino woman
from transmitting her citizenship to her legitimate children and required illegitimate
children of Filipino mothers to still elect Filipino citizenship upon reaching the age of
majority. The provisions of Sec. 1, Art. 3 of the 1973 Constitution state that the following
are citizens of the Philippines:
o Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this
o Those whose fathers or mothers are citizens of the Philippines
o Those who elect Philippine citizenship pursuant to the provisions of the 1935
o Those who are naturalized in accordance with law
Add Sec. 2 of the same article which provided that a female citizen of the Philippines who marries
an alien retainers her Philippine citizenship unless by her act or omission she is deemed to have
renounced her citizenship under the law.
 1987 Constitution – aimed to correct the irregular situation generated by the questionable
proviso in the 1935 Constitution which outlines in Article 4, Sec. 1 that the following are
Filipino citizens:
o Those who are citizens of the Philippines at the time of the adoption of this
o Those whose fathers and mothers are citizens of the Philippines
o Those born before January 17, 1973 of Filipino mothers who elect Philippine
citizenship upon reaching the age of majority
o Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

 The Constitution requires that the President of the Philippines should be, among the
many requirements, a natural-born citizen of the Philippines (Art. 7, Sec. 2).
 Natural born citizen – citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any
act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship
 Citizenship of FPJ in relation to grandfather Lorenzo Pou’s citizenship and father Allan F.
Poe’s citizenship
 Allan F. Poe was a Filipino citizen because his father Lorenzo was also Filipino.
 Conclusions with some degree of certainty to be drawn from the documents presented:
o The parents of FPJ were Allen Poe and Bessie Kelley.
o FPJ was born to them on August 20, 1939.
o Allan F. Poe and Bessie Kelley were married to each other on September 16,
o The father of Allan F. Poe was Lorenzo Pou.
o At the time of his death on September 11, 1954, Lorenzo Poe was 84 years old.
o The public documents submitted are deemed trustworthy.
o The three documents (birth certificate of FPJ, marriage certificate of Bessie and
Allan and the death certificate of Lorenzo) were certified true copies of the
o The Rules of Court (130, Section 3) state that when the subject of the inquiry is
the content of the document, no evidence shall be admissible except the original
document itself. One of the exceptions however is when the original is a public
record in the custody of a public office is recorded in a public office.
o As public documents, the three documents are prima facie proof of their contents
as stated in the Rules of Court (130, Section 44) that the entries in official
records made by a public officer in the performance of his duty are prima facie
evidence of the facts stated therein. This is grounded on:’ of official duty in the
preparation of the statement made. The penalty affixed to a breach of that duty.
Routine and disinterested origin of most such statements. Publicity of the record
which makes more likely the prior exposure of such errors as might have occur
o It is safe to assume that Lorenzo Pou’s place of residence at the time of death
was the same as his residence before death in the absence of evidence that
would attest otherwise. In that case, Lorenzo Pou would have benefited from the
“en masse Filipinization” that the Philippine Bill effected in 1902. This citizenship
would then extend to his son Allan F. Poe, FPJ’s father.
o Lorenzo born sometime in 1870 during the Spanish colonization period.
o Fornier argues that Lorenzo was not in the Philippines during the crucial period of
1898 to 1902 but there is no existing record to attest to that claim.

 Fornier failed to show that Lorenzo was out of the country during that same time period.
 Lorenzo’s residence at the time of death was in San Carlos, Pangasinan.
 For proof of filiation or paternity, the mandatory rules of civil law would not apply in this
case. The duly notarized declaration by Ruby Kelley Mangahas, FPJ’s maternal aunt
and sister of his mother Bessie, proving the acts of Allan F. Poe, recognizing his own
paternal relationship with FPJ (living with Bessie and the children in one house as one
family) would be accepted.
 Fornier argues that the mandatory rules under civil rule should apply because FPJ was
an illegitimate son.
 Acknowledgement needed to establish paternity (eg. Acknowledgement in the birth
certificate by signing name)
 In the FPJ case, there was no signature of Allan F. Poe in the birth certificate of FPJ.
 1950 Civil Code – acknowledgement of illegitimate children of three types which had to
be done during the lifetime of the presumed parent:
o Voluntary (expressly made in record birth, will or a statement before the court in
authentic writing)
o Legal (in favor of full blood brothers and sisters of an illegitimate child who was
recognized as natural)
o Compulsory (demanded generally in cases when the child had in his favor any
evidence to prove filiation)
o The Family Code has liberalized the rules as stated in Articles 172, 173 and 175
and the rules have retroactive effect (Article 255). These provisions are there to
govern the private and personal affairs of the family. There is little indication that
this should also govern his political rights.
o This should be taken in the context of civil law, being that branch of law, which is
concerned with the organization of the family and regulation of property. The
relevance of citizenship is exemplified in Art. 15 of the Civil Code.
o The proof of filiation for purposes of determining citizenship status should be
deemed independent from those prescribed for civil code purposes. The
ordinary rules should govern.
o DNA testing to prove paternity could also be resorted to.

 There is no jurisprudence to prove that an illegitimate child cannot inherit his

father’s citizenship.
 Fornier argues that even if Allan F. Poe were Filipino, Allan’s citizenship would not have
been transmitted to FPJ because FPJ was illegitimate.
 FPJ was alleged to be illegitimate because of the bigamous marriage between his
parents Allan and Bessie for the reason that Allan allegedly had a prior existing marriage
to a certain Paulita Gomez. The Court held that the veracity of this marriage between
Paulita and Allan is doubtful.
 Fornier also contended that even if Allan and Bessie’s marriage was not bigamous, FPJ
was still illegitimate because his parents were married after he was born. Fornier based
his arguments on the cases of Morano v. Vivo, Chiongbian v. de Leon and Serra v.
 In the cases cited above, it is important to note the lis mota in each case. If the
pronouncement of jus sangunis was in the lis mota, it would constitute doctrine courtesy
of stare decisis. If not, it is mere obiter dictum.
 In all of the mentioned cases, there was no jus sanguinis in the lis mota of the cases. If
there was jus sangunis mentioned, it was mere obiter dictum.
 The pronouncement that an illegitimate child cannot inherit the father’s citizenship
has no textual basis in the Constitution and violates the equal protection clause.
 For jurisprudence that regarded an illegitimate child to inherit the mother’s citizenship, it
was there to ensure a Filipino nationality for the child with the assumption that the mother
would gain custody.
 The 1935 Constitution applies to FPJ since he was born during that time period and it
states that Filipino citizens include those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines.