Sunday, March 13, 2016

Justice Brion's 144-page dissent in the case of Grace Poe; excerpts

"x x x,

A close reading of Ongsiako-Reyes v. COMELEC, also penned by J. Perez as above noted, will show that the issues the COMELEC decided there were practically the same issues in this cited case. Yet, the Court's majority in the present case holds that the COMELEC has no jurisdiction to rule on the issues of a candidate's citizenship and residence requirements in the course of a Section 78 proceeding, despite its previous affirmation of the same COMELEC power in Ongsiako-Reyes also in a Section 78 proceeding. Have established precedents been sacrificed to achieve desired results?

x x x.

But the worst impact yet on the Constitution is the discovery that this Court can play around even with the express wordings of the Constitution. While this may already be known to those in the legal profession, the reality becomes glaring and may be a new discovery for the general public because of the recent EDCA case; the present case and ruling may very well be considered another instance of judicial tinkering with the express terms of the Constitution.

x x x.

A contested issue that surfaced early on in these cases is the question: who carries the burden of proving that the petitioner is a natural-born Philippine citizen?

Lest we be distracted by the substance of this question, let me clarify at the outset that the cases before us are petitions for certiorari under Rule 64 (in relation to Rule 65) of the Rules of Court. In these types of petitions, the petitioner challenges the rulings/s made by the respondent pursuant to Article VIII, Section 1 of the Constitution. Thus, it is the petitioner who carries the burden of showing that the respondent, the COMELEC in this case, committed grave abuse of discretion.

x x x.

Thus, this Court has held that any doubt regarding citizenship must be resolved in favor of the State.52 In other words, citizenship cannot be presumed; the person who claims Filipino citizenship must prove that he or she is in fact a Filipino. 53 It is only upon proper proof that a claimant can be entitled to the rights granted by the State. 54

This was the Court's ruling in Paa v. Chan55 where this Court categorically ruled that it is incumbent upon the person who claims Philippine citizenship, to prove to the satisfaction of the court that he is really a Filipino. This should be true particularly after proof that the claimant has not proven (and even admits the lack of proven) Filipino parentage. No presumption can be indulged in favor of the claimant of Philippine citizenship, and any doubt regarding citizenship must be resolved in favor of the State.

x x x."

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