MANILA – Senator Grace Poe, through her lawyer George Garcia, submitter on Friday her counter-affidavit with the Legal Department of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), insisting that she is a natural-born Filipino and was eligible to run for senator in the 2013 mid-term elections.
In her 159-page counter-affidavit, Poe sought an outright dismissal of the complaint filed by defeated senatorial candidate Rizalito David who, like Poe, filed a certificate of candidacy for president in the 2016 elections.
Poe said David “is guilty of willful and deliberate forum shopping,” adding the complainant failed to prove that she committed ‘material misrepresentations’ in her COC for senator in the 2013 elections.
”Complainant failed to prove that I am not a natural-born Filipino citizen,” Poe said in her defense.
David, in his complaint, claimed that Poe committed an election offense, accusing the lady senator of lying on record when she filed her candidacy for senator in 2013.
”Complainant failed to prove the falsity of Item Nos. 7 and 8 of my COC for senator,” Poe said.
Poe was referring to David’s accusations she did not meet the two-year residency requirement and that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino, being a foundling found inside a church in Iloilo on Sept. 3, 1968.
”Under applicable treaties and ‘generally accepted principles of international law’, a child born in the Philippines in 1968 of unknown parents, is a natural-born Filipino,” Poe stated in the counter-affidavit.
Poe also argued that she had a foundling certificate issued when she was officially adopted by movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. and wife actress Susan Roces on May 13, 1974.
The senator claimed that under the law, the government only grants adoption papers to natural-born Filipinos.
Poe also argued she is a Filipino citizen because the Philippines issued her a Philippine passport not once but four times.
The leading presidential aspirant based on surveys said she is a natural-born Filipino because she was allowed to hold dual citizenship, both Filipino and American which is being granted only to natural-born Filipinos.
”I complied with the requirements under Republic Act No. 9225 to qualify for elective office,” Poe said, referring to an act making the citizenship of Philippine citizens who acquire foreign citizenship permanent.
Poe said she expressed intention to live in the Philippines “sometime in the first quarter of 2005,” thus meeting the two-year residence for the 2013 senatorial election and even the 10-year-residency eligibility for the 2016 presidential race.
After filing her candidacy for president last month, four more individuals filed disqualification case against Poe.
They are lawyer Estrella Elamparo, former Senator Francisco Tatad, De La Salle Prof. Antonio Contreras and University of the East College of Law Dean Amado Valdez.
Poe said she is ready to face what she described as ‘unlimited’ disqualification cases filed against her. Jelly F. Musico/PNA