SolGen to Comelec: Why discriminate foundlings?

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  • The Office of the Solicitor General asks the Comelec to explain why it discriminates foundlings in being granted with the right to join the presidential race
  • SolGen Hilbay says that foundlings are considered as natural-born Filipinos based on the 1935, 1974 and 1987 Constitutions
  • He says that Senator Grace Poe should be allowed to run for president during the May elections

The Office of the Solicitor General has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to explain why it discriminates foundlings, or those persons with no known parents, in being granted with the right to join the presidential race.

In an article written by Tetch Torres-Tupas for Philippine Daily Inquirer, it was disclosed Solicitor General Florin Hilbay has submitted a memorandum to the Supreme Court (SC); saying that Senator Grace Poe, the presidential candidate of the Partido Galing at Puso (PGP), is a natural-born Filipino based on the precepts of the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions.

Any discriminatory animus against the recognition of petitioner’s natural-born status would need to survive strict scrutiny, that is, the Comelec must show that there is a compelling state interest in discriminating against foundlings and that such interest be addressed through a narrowly-tailored policy,” Hilbay said.

The solicitor general has also added that while the 1935 Constitution did not mention whether foundlings are considered as citizens, the deliberations during the 1934 Constitutional Convention “does not indicate any discriminatory animus against them.”

On December 1, 2015, the Comelec’s second division has issued a 34-page decision that canceled the Certificate of Candidacy (COC) for president filed by Poe for the 2016 elections in line with the petition filed by former Senator Francisco Tatad, former University of the East College of Law Dean Amado Valdez, and lawyer Estrella Elamparo.

However, the SC has issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the Comelec’s decision on December 28; saying that it will still have to consolidate the petitions filed by Poe against the disqualification cases filed against her.