MANILA – Earlier stating that Senator Grace Poe was not a natural-born but was a naturalized Filipino, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio also upheld that Poe’s late father, Fernando K. Poe, Jr. (FPJ) was not a Filipino.
Carpio, head of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), was one of the five justices who dissented in the 2004 case challenging FPJ’s citizenship. He asserted that being an illegitimate child, FPJ took the citizenship of his American mother, Bessie Kelley.
“In conclusion, private respondent Fernando Poe Jr. is not a natural-born Philippine citizen since there is no showing that his alleged Filipino father Allan F. Poe, Sr. acknowledged him at birth,” the magistrate said in his dissenting opinion.
“The Constitution defines a natural-born citizen as a Philippine citizen from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect his Philippine citizenship. Private respondent Fernando Poe Jr. does not meet this citizenship qualification,” he further said.
Carpio also stated that the burden of proof of proving citizenship was upon the person claiming the Filipino citizenship.
“Any person who claims to be a citizen of the Philippines has the burden of proving his Philippine citizenship. Any person who claims to be qualified to run for President because he is, among others, a natural-born Philippine citizen, has the burden of proving he is a natural-born citizen,” he said.
“Any doubt whether or not he is natural-born citizen is resolved against him. The constitutional requirement of a natural-born citizen, being an express qualification for election as President, must be complied with strictly,” he added.
FPJ’s citizenship was questioned when he joined the presidential race in 2004.