MANILA — The Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) on Monday asked the Supreme Court (SC) to dismiss the petition filed by Rizalito David against Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares over citizenship issue.

The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) filed its comment before the SC in connection with the petition of David questioning the decision of the SET ruling that Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen.

The OSG represented the SET, who is the respondent in the case.

In a 28-page comment signed by Solicitor General Florin T. Hilbay, the OSG argued that the SET did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it upheld Poe’s natural-born Filipino citizen status.

The OSG said that even without specific recognition, foundlings like Sen. Poe are natural-born under the 1935 Constitution, which was the prevailing Constitution when Poe was born in 1968.

As a legal basis, the SET cited part of the deliberation of the 1934 Constitutional Convention stating the intention to include the foundlings or the children who had “unknown parentage”, who should be considered as Philippine citizens.

In the said deliberation, the SET said it appeared that it need not mention particularly in the Constitution the children who had “unknown parents” because under the international law, they are considered as citizens of the Philippines.

Because of this, the SET added that it appeared that the silence of the 1935 Constitution on the citizenship of the foundlings should not be read in the manner that is “excluded” or not considered as citizens of the Philippines.

The SET further argued that the recognition of the foundlings as citizens of the Philippines under the Constitution is based on the prime principle of justice for the innocent children who were abandoned by their parents.

It added that it appeared that there are two interpretations of the 1935 Constitution, hence, it is just reasonable to favor the more important principles of the Constitution, and this was not to put the foundlings in jeopardy.

The SET also believes that they did not commit grave abuse of discretion when they declared as “valid” the reacquisition by Poe of her natural-born citizenship under Republic Act No. 9225, or the “Citizenship and Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003”.

It added that this was also based on the pieces of evidence submitted by Poe such as the “Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines”, filing of the petition for the reacquisition of Philippine Citizenship before the Bureau of Immigration (BI) and the order of the BI in favor of her petition.

Because of this, the SET asked the SC to dismiss the petition of David. PNA/