You are on page 1of 8

TIMELINE: Grace Poe's citizenship, residency

Rappler traces the citizenship and residency of Senator Grace Poe, as shown in her verified answer
submitted to the Senate Electoral Tribunal
Camille Elemia
Published 9:30 PM, September 04, 2015
Updated 10:14 PM, October 06, 2015

FILIPINO. Amid accusations, Sen. Grace Poe insists she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and releases dates
and documents to push for her case.
MANILA, Philippines Senator Grace Poe finally answered the citizenship and residency issues hurled at
her, submitting a 107-page verified answer with supporting documents to the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
(READ: DOCUMENTS: Proof of citizenship submitted by Grace Poe to SET)
Amid fears of tampering of documents, the presidential polls front runner now says she is relieved to
finally have the chance to explain her side in the proper forum.
Below are the main points of her reply and the timeline of her life as a Filipino, based on documents she
Main points of Poe's arguments
Poes camp says the citizenship and residency issues should be taken up separately.
Poe complied with the citizenship and residency requirement for a senator.
Poe was already a resident of the Philippines in May 2005, longer than what she indicated in her
Certificate of Candidacy.
She (together with her 3 kids) became a Filipino citizen (dual citizen) in 2006. She renounced her
American citizenship on October 21, 2010, when she took an oath in Philippine government.
She re-affirmed this renunciation in 2011 before a vice consul at the United States embassy in
The US State Department approved this in February 2012 but her last US passport and the
approved document showed she self expatriated herself on October 21, 2010.
From birth to present
September 3 This is Poes date of birth in documents. Edgardo Militar found infant Poe in the Parish of
Jaro in Iloilo.
September 6 Emiliano Militar reported to the Office of the Civil Registrar of Iloilo City that they found an
infant. (READ: In Iloilo, Grace Poe finds new clues to real parents)
Name in Original Certificate of Live Birth: Mary Grace Natividad Contreras Militar.
Foundling Certificate (Photo by Office of Sen. Grace Poe)
May 13 Municipal Court of San Juan granted the petition for adoption of Poe by movie stars Jesusa
Sonora Poe (Susan Roces) and Ronald Allan Kelley Poe (Fernando Poe Jr).
At the time, her name was legally changed to Mary Grace Natividad Sonora Poe.
Sen. Grace Poe's new birth certificate after legal adoption. (Photo by Office of Sen. Grace Poe)
While petitioner Rizalito David said Poes adoption did not confer to her the same Philippine citizenship of
her adoptive parents and that she remains to be stateless, Poe argued that the rights of a foundling are
supported by international declarations, most of which the Philippines is a signatory to.
On August 21, 1990, the Philippines ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,
protecting the right of a new-born to a nationality, and to ensure that every child is protected from
statelessness from birth.

The 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Philippines ratified on
October 23, 1986, recognized the right of every child to acquire a nationality.
While the country adopted these two conventions years after Poe was born, her camp said they are
retroactive. Citing the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, they said there is no prohibition against
the retroactive application of treaties unless a different intention appears.
What is prohibited, Poes camp said, is the application of a treaty to a fact or status which does not exist
before the treaty entered into force. After all, they said Poe remained to be a foundling before and after the
Poes camp also cited the deliberations of the framers of the 1935 Constitution. While it did not expressly
mention foundlings in Section 1, Article 4, former Senator Manuel Roxas said they would not include
foundlings because the number of cases are few and that international laws are there to protect them.
Mr. President, my humble opinion is that these cases are few and far in between, that the constitution
need [not] refer to them. By international law the principle that children or people born in a country of
unknown parents are citizens in this nation is recognized, and it is not necessary to include a provision on
the subject exhaustively, Roxas said, as cited by Poes verified answer.
Poes lawyers also cited other countries that have the same citizenship law as the Philippines (jus
sanguinis or by blood). Countries such as Austria and United Kingdom have passed laws that presume
foundlings to be born of parents who are citizens of the country in which they are found.
Her lawyers also argued that the Philippines had long recognized the generally accepted principle of
international law on foundlings. Citing DOJ Opinion Number 189, series of 1951, Poes camp said the DOJ
recognized foundlings as citizens of the country in which they are found.
December 13 After Poe turned 18 years old, she obtained a voters identification card at Greenhills, San
Juan, but the name indicated was Ma. Gracia S. Poe.
Voter's ID. (Photo by Office of Sen. Grace Poe)
April 4 As a deemed natural born Filipino, she was issued a Philippine passport.
July 27 She got married to husband Neil Llamanzares in the Philippines. Her husband is a dual citizen of
the US and the Philippines since birth.
July 29 Then newlyweds Neil and Grace went to the US to start a family.
April 16 Son Brian was born a US citizen in Washington, DC.
April 5 Poe was issued a Philippine passport
May 19 Poe was issued a Philippine passport. She went back to the Philippines to give birth to her
second child.
July 10 She gave birth to second child Hanna in the Philippines.
October 18 Poe was naturalized as a citizen of the US after being petitioned by her husband who is a
dual citizen. As she took an oath of allegiance to the US, she renounced her Philippine citizenship:
"I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to
any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or
citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all
enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms
on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the
Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national
importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without
any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God."
The camp of Poe, however, said Poe took an oath of allegiance to the US only as a necessary condition for
her naturalization.
After her naturalization, [Poe] maintained her ties to the Philippines and visited the country frequently.
She never foreclosed the possibility of one day returning to the Philippines, as indeed, she returned in
2005, stated in the verified reply.
April 8 Then pregnant Poe went back to the Philippines with second daughter Hanna.
May 10 The 2004 presidential elections was held. Poes father FPJ ran and lost to then incumbent
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in what was widely believed to be a rigged elections.

June 5 She gave birth to youngest child Anika in the Philippines.

July 8 She went back to the US with Hanna and Anika.
December 13 Upon hearing of the condition of her father, she went back to the Philippines and arrived
on this date.
December 14 FPJ died.
From December 13 to February 3, 2005 Poe stayed in the Philippines to help arrange fathers funeral
and settle his estate.
February 3 She left the Philippines and went back to the US.
May 24 After deciding as a family, Poe returned to the Philippines while husband Neil stayed in the US to
finish projects and arrange the sale of their US home.
June Her kids started attending Philippine schools.
July 7 Poe got her Philippine Taxpayers Identification Number (TIN) to settle her fathers estate.
Taxpayer's Identification Number. (Photo by Office of Sen. Grace Poe)
It is during this year that Poe, a US citizen at the time, said she started her residency in the Philippines.
April 27 The familys US house was sold.
May 4 After resigning from his work in the US, husband Neil returned to the Philippines.
July Neil started working for San Miguel Corporation.
July 7 As required by Republic Act Number 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of
2003," Poe took her Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines for her to re-acquire her natural
born status. She also requested the same for her 3 children, which is allowed under the same law.
Section 3 of the law states that "[a]ny provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, natural-born
citizenship by reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are hereby deemed to have reacquired Philippine citizenship upon taking the following oath of allegiance to the Republic:"
Oath of Allegiance to Philippines. (Photo by Office of Sen. Grace Poe)
July 10 Poe filed for dual citizenship, in accordance to RA 9225. Ironic as it may seem, this law used by
Poe to push for her case was signed by former President Gloria Arroyo in 2003, who allegedly cheated her
father in the 2004 presidential elections.
Following the law, she filed with the Bureau of Immigration (BI) a sworn petition to reacquire her naturalborn Philippine citizenship. She used her cancelled Philippine passport as proof of former natural born
status. This is allowed by the Bureau of Immigration.
July 18 Then BI Commissioner Alipio Fernandez Jr issued an order granting Poes petitions.
Poes camp said this also grants her 3 children Philippine citizenship.
July 31 The BI issued Identification Certificates (IC) for Poe and her kids. This means Poe and her 3 kids
re-acquired their Philippine citizenship as per the law. At this point, they are now dual citizens of the US
and the Philippines.
Photo by Office of Sen. Grace Poe
August 31 Poe registered as a voter of Barangay Santa Lucia, San Juan. It is a requirement for a voter to
have resided for at least a year in the Philippines before the elections. With this and with the presumption
of regularity, Poes voter ID implied she was in the country not later than August 31, 2005.
October 13 As a dual citizen, she was issued a Philippine passport.
Published reports said that Poe used her US passport from 2005 to December 2009 at least 21 times in
entering and leaving the country. Some say these repeated acts alone may weaken her defense of animus
revertendi or intention to return to domicile. (READ: Grace Poe and Pandoras box: Legal issues in her
It is important to note, however, that from 2005 to early July 2006, Poe was a US citizen and, therefore,
only had a US passport.
From July 2006 to 2009, meanwhile, she already acquired dual citizenship of the Philippines and the US and
had the discretion to use either of the two passports in her travels.
Poes camp argued that her oath of allegiance to the Philippines in 2006 was not 'forfeited' or rendered
'meaningless' simply because she continued using her US passport after she had reacquired her naturalborn Philippine citizenship on 7 July 2006.
October 6 President Benigno Aquino III appointed her as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review
and Classification Board (MTRCB), but Poe said she did not accept it immediately. In the verified answer,
Poe said she was informed that the same RA 9225 prohibits appointment of a dual citizen to government
UNLESS she renounces her foreign citizenship.

Section 5 of the law states that:

Those appointed to any public office shall subscribe and swear to an oath of allegiance to the Republic of
the Philippines and its duly constituted authorities prior to their assumption of office: Provided, That they
renounce their oath of allegiance to the country where they took that oath.
October 20 Before a notary public in Pasig City, she signed an Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to
the United States of America and Renunciation of American Citizenship.
Section 3 of RA 9225 also states:
Those seeking elective public in the Philippines shall meet the qualification for holding such public office
as required by the Constitution and existing laws and, at the time of the filing of the certificate of
candidacy, make a personal and sworn renunciation of any and all foreign citizenship before any public
officer authorized to administer an oath.
Photo by Office of Sen. Grace Poe
October 21 She submitted to the BI the notarized document and took oath as MTRCB chair. Poe argued
that when she sat as government official, she had already renounced her American citizenship.
Her lawyers also argued that under Philippine law, Poe continued to be a US citizen until 20 October 2010
when she renounced her US citizenship before a notary public.
They added "under the laws of the US, her act of taking her oath of office as MTRCB Chairperson was an
expatriating act which caused her to lose her US citizenship.
In her former US passport, it was indicated that she self-expatriated herself on October 21, 2010, the day
she took oath in Philippine government.
July 12 she executed before the Vice Consul at the US Embassy in Manila an Oath/Affirmation of
Renunciation of Nationality of the United States. Poe also accomplished a sworn questionnaire before the
US Vice consul.
On page 4 of the questionnaire, Poe wrote:
I became a resident of the Philippines once again since 2005. My mother still resides in the Philippines. My
husband and I are both employed and own properties in the Philippines. As a dual citizen (FilipinoAmerican) since 2006, Ive voted in two Philippine national elections. My three children study and reside in
the Philippines
December 9 Poes Certificate of Loss of Nationality of the US was signed by the Vice Consul on this date.
In this document, it was stated that Poe expatriated her self on October 21, 2010, when she took an oath
of office as MTRCB chair. This is the same date shown in her former US passport.
SIGNED. This was signed by the Vice Consul on December 9, 2011 but US State Dept. 'approved' it on
February 3, 2012. (Photo by Office of Sen. Grace Poe)
February 3 The certificate of loss of nationality was approved by the State Department only in 2012.
Poe, in an interview on June 10, 2015, said: "Ngayon tungkol dun sa US, ni-release po nila ang aking
renunciation 2012. Bakit? Sapagkat sila ay may prosesong napakahaba. Hindi ka basta pupunta sa US
embassy para mag-submit. Kailangan doon ang tax return mo doon in the last 5 years, ari-arian mo in
the last 5 years. Ang daming dokumento.
(Now, about the US, they released my renunciation in 2012. Why? Because they have a long process. You
cannot just go to US embassy to submit. The have to look into your tax returns from the last 5 years, your
properties in the last 5 years. There are many documents needed.)
October 2 Poe filed her Certificate of Candidacy (COC).
Petitioner David accused Poe of lying in her COC when she said she had been residing in the country for 6
years and 6 months as of May 13, 2013. With all the arguments earlier discussed, Poes lawyers said this
allegation is false, as Poe met the two-year residency requirement for a senator.
In a foreshadowing of what may be thrown at her in 2016, Poes lawyers, in the verified reply, argued that
Poe made an honest mistake in her COC.
The truth is that, as of 13 May 2013, [Poe] had been residing in the Philippines for more than six (6) years
and six (6) months." They said this mistake was an "excusable error arising from complex legal principles
that a layman is not expected to fully know, much less understand." They said Poe was not accompanied
by a legal counsel when she filled out the form.
They also argued that good faith is more manifested because Poe indicated a shorter period of stay in
her COC, saying she would have benefitted more if she indicated a longer period. This, they said, clearly
shows that she honestly misunderstood what was being asked of her in her COC, and that she did not
intend to mislead or deceive anyone.
Her camp said it is not the first time a candidate committed an honest mistake in stating her period of
residency in the COC.

The Supreme Court was faced with precisely this problem in Romualdez-Marcos vs. COMELEC. However,
instead of making the candidate pay for her mistake by disqualifying her, the Supreme Court stressed that
the 'residency requirement' is ultimately a question of fact. The statement in the COC is not 'decisive.'
May 16 Poe was proclaimed senator of the Philippines after topping the senatorial elections.
December 19 As a senator, she was issued a diplomatic passport.
March 18 She was issued a regular Philippine passport.
August 6 David filed a disqualification case against Poe before the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
August 17 David filed a similar case before the Commission on Elections.
September 1 Poe submitted her verified answer with supporting documents to the SET, with the
following prayers:
1. Prayer for Summary Dismissal, as the petition is insufficient in form and substance, was filed
beyond the prescribed period, and that David committed willful and deliberate forum-shopping.
2. Motion for Preliminary Hearing on Grounds for Immediate Dismissal / Affirmative Defenses
3. Motion to Cite Petitioner for Direct Contempt of Court for willful and deliberate forum shopping.
4. Counterclaim for Indirect Contempt of Court for failure to inform [SET] of the filing of his similar
complaint with the Comelec Law Department.
More lawyers back Poe on citizenship
Ex-senator, former Chief Justice Panganiban assert she is Filipino

Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban (left) and former Sen. Rene Saguisag FILE PHOTOS
More legal experts have come to the defense of Sen. Grace Poe against the view of Supreme Court
Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, head of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), that she is a naturalized and
not a native-born Filipino citizen.
A lawmaker, however, insisted on Sunday that Poe should explain why she abandoned her Philippine
citizenship in the first place when she could have lived, worked and raised a family in the United States
and still remained a Filipino.
Since Sen. Grace Poe is now running for President no less, she has to deal with the reality that she has put
herself and her family under a microscope, House Deputy Minority Leader Arnel Ty said in a statement.
Carpios stating his opinion, based on international law, during oral arguments on Sept. 21 on a petition for
the ouster of Poe from the Senate has led to calls for his inhibition from the case.
But election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, in a statement issued Sunday, said Carpios opinion using
customary international law (CIL) as basis was not a strong ground for his inhibition.
Merely an opinion
[The] comment was merely an opinion. It was not yet the decision of the SET. Looking at the positive side
of Justice Carpios comment, it was to the advantage of Poe that he disclosed what was in his mind, if ever
that would be his final position on this issue. It is now a challenge to Poes lawyers to prove otherwise,
Macalintal said.
Who knows, given an argument better than his, Carpio might, after all, be convinced that Poe is a naturalborn Filipino citizen under CIL that recognizes the parents of a foundling as citizens of the country where

the foundling was found. In other words, Carpio has to be convinced that since the parents of Poe are
recognized by CIL as Filipino citizens, then Poe is a natural-born Filipino citizen, he added.

For former Sen. Rene Saguisag, however, Carpio must inhibit himself from the disqualification suit because
the magistrate had already prejudged the case with his pronouncement.
I dont think Justice Carpio should continue on the [SET], having sadly and openly prejudged the case. I
think he should have waited until all arguments are in before concluding that Grace is naturalized, not
natural-born, which Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion defined as one born a citizen, Saguisag said in a
It seems to me his startling imprudent and egregious prejudgment allows him no wiggle room, Saguisag
The SET heard oral arguments on Sept. 21 on the petition brought by defeated senatorial candidate
Rizalito David, who questioned Poes qualification to hold public office, as she is allegedly not a naturalborn Filipino.
The parties in the case have until Oct. 6 to submit their final arguments and positions, after which the SET,
composed of three Supreme Court justices and six senators, will hand down its decision.
Poe was found in a church in Jaro, Iloilo province, after her birth in 1968. She was adopted by movie actor
Fernando Poe Jr. and his wife, actress Susan Roces, in 1974.
Under questioning by Sen. Loren Legarda, a member of the SET, during the oral arguments, Davids
lawyer, Manuelito Luna, admitted that David had no evidence to prove that Poes real parents were
Human rights
Poe, being a foundling, is considered a natural-born citizen under the United Nations Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (UDHR), which states that the right to a nationality is one of the most fundamental
human rights, according to Saguisag, a human rights lawyer and advocate.
Under the UDHR, Saguisag said, a foundling may be the weakest of minorities deserving of special case
and assistance, not special discrimination.
Being a pulot (foundling) or ampon (adopted) used to be a traditional vilification modern thought now
looks askance at. The UDHRs Article 15 says: Everyone has the right to a nationality, Saguisag pointed
From birth
He added: Grace should not be denied that right. And nationality should attach at birth, not a day, week,
month, a year later, an unmanageable standard. When was she naturalized, assuming she needed to be?
Naturalized from what other nationality? Naturalization implies a change in nationality. Or assumed two
citizenships, he said.

Saguisag also supported the opinion that the burden of proof could not be shifted to Poe, who enjoys the
presumption of being a natural-born citizen.
When will we stop vilifying foundlings? They have parents, [although] unknown. It seems to me to put the
burden on David in this seeming case of first impression is legally tenable, intellectually respectable and
psychologically satisfying, he said.
Retired Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban also disagreed with Carpio and agreed with Macalintal that Poe is
considered a natural-born citizen under the generally accepted principles of international law, which form
part of the law of the Philippines.
In his column in the Inquirer, Panganiban cited Article 2 of the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of
Statelessness, which says: A foundling found in the territory of a Contracting State shall, in the absence of
proof to the contrary, be considered to have been born in the territory of parents possessing the nationality
of that State.
He recalled that the 1935 Constitution, which was the countrys basic law in 1968 when Poe was born,
provides that the Philippines adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the
law of the nation.
[S]hea foundling who was found in Iloilo, Philippinesis deemed to have Filipino parents. Perforce, she
is natural-born since her presumed parents, specifically her father, are accorded Philippine citizenship,
Panganiban said.
Panganiban also said it was actually Poes parents who acquired Philippine citizenship pursuant to
international law. She derived her citizenship from her presumed Filipino father; thus, she is a citizen from
birth without having to do anything to acquire or perfect her Philippine citizenship, he added.
The 1935 Constitution provides, among other things, that those whose fathers are citizens of the
Philippines are considered Filipino citizens.
Burden of proof
Panganiban said Poes biological father may be proven to be actually a foreigner, but the burden of proof
belongs to those who challenge her natural-born status.
Unless such proof is presented, her parents continue to be presumed Filipinos. Thus, she retains her
natural-born citizenship, Panganiban said.
Although the Philippines is not a signatory to the 1961 convention, Panganiban said it was still bound by its
provisions because they had become generally accepted principles of international law, which are as
binding as statutes passed by Congress.
Apart from the 1961 convention, he said, foundlings are also protected by the 1930 Hague Convention on
the Conflict of Nationality Laws and the 1948 UDHR, which states that the right to a nationality is one of
the most fundamental human rights.
Macalintal said it would be up to Carpio to decide whether to inhibit.
According to him, the Supreme Court, in a previous case, stated that members of electoral tribunals, may,
as their conscience dictates, refrain from participating in the resolution of a case where they sincerely feel
that their personal interests or biases will stand in the way of an objective and impartial judgment.

In another case, the Supreme Court reminded judges accused of biases due to reasonable circumstances
that they should conduct a careful self-examination and then exercise their discretion in a way that the
peoples faith in the courts of justice is not impaired.
Thus, no one could force Justice Carpio to inhibit from Poes case. Only his conscience and sound
discretion could make the final decision, Macalintal said.
Explain to voters
In his statement, Ty said Poe should explain to the voters why she gave up her Philippine citizenship and
acquired US citizenship.
Voters deserve a straightforward answer from the senator, on the question as to the specific
circumstances that compelled her to seek and acquire US citizenship, and surrender her Filipino
citizenship, he said.
This is a perfectly legitimate question that is of great public interest, he said.
Ty made the statement in reaction to reports that Poe continued to use her US passport in her travels
abroad even after she had renounced her US citizenship.
According to Inquirer legal commentator Oscar Franklin Tan, the matter is legally irrelevant.
There are many Filipinos who have lived and worked in America for years, but have been content on
staying on as permanent US residents, or so-called green card holders, Ty said.
Based on a cursory review of US immigration rules, Ty said, both US citizens and foreigners who are US
green card holders enjoy long-term rights to live, work and even raise families in the United States.
The significant difference, as far as many Filipino voters are concerned, is that when you acquire
American citizenship, just like what Senator Poe did, you have to swear absolute loyalty to the US and its
Constitution, and categorically reject your Filipino citizenship, Ty said.
Assuming Senator Poe wanted to work and live in America, and raise a family there, which she actually
did, she could have accomplished all these as a US green card holder, without necessarily becoming an
American citizenwithout necessarily abandoning her Filipino citizenship, he said.

Read more:

Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook