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PRIL -030

TECSON vs COMELEC (2004)

FACTS:
Petitioners sought for respondent Poes disqualification in the presidential
elections for having allegedly misrepresented material facts in his certificate
of candidacy by claiming that he is a natural Filipino citizen despite his
parents both being foreigners.
Comelec dismissed the petition, holding that Poe was a Filipino Citizen.
Petitioners assail the jurisdiction of the Comelec, contending that only the
Supreme Court may resolve the basic issue on the case under Article VII,
Section 4, paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution.

ISSUES:
1. WON the Supreme Court which has jurisdiction.
2. WON COMELEC committed grave abuse of discretion in holding that Poe was
a Filipino citizen.

HELD:
1. SC has no jurisdiction on questions regarding qualification of a candidate
for the presidency or vice-presidency BEFORE the elections are held.
"Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal" in connection with Section 4,
paragraph 7, of the 1987 Constitution, refers to contests relating to the
election, returns and qualifications of the "President" or "Vice-President", of
the Philippines which the Supreme Court may take cognizance, and not of
"candidates" for President or Vice-President before the elections.

2. NO
The 1935 Constitution on Citizenship, the prevailing fundamental law on
respondents birth, provided that among the citizens of the Philippines are
"those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines."
Tracing respondents paternal lineage, his grandfather Lorenzo, as evidenced
by the latters death certificate was identified as a Filipino Citizen. His
citizenship was also drawn from the presumption that having died in 1954 at
the age of 84, Lorenzo would have been born in 1980. In the absence of any
other evidence, Lorenzos place of residence upon his death in 1954 was
presumed to be the place of residence prior his death, such that Lorenzo Pou
would have benefited from the "en masse Filipinization" that the Philippine
Bill had effected in 1902. Being so, Lorenzos citizenship would have
extended to his son, Allan---respondents father.
Respondent, having been acknowledged as Allans son to Bessie, though an
American citizen, was a Filipino citizen by virtue of paternal filiation as
evidenced by the respondents birth certificate. The 1935 Constitution on
citizenship did not make a distinction on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the
child, thus, the allegation of bigamous marriage and the allegation that
respondent was born only before the assailed marriage had no bearing on
respondents citizenship in view of the established paternal filiation
evidenced by the public documents presented.
But while the totality of the evidence may not establish conclusively that
respondent FPJ is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, the evidence on
hand still would preponderate in his favor enough to hold that he cannot be
held guilty of having made a material misrepresentation in his certificate of
candidacy in violation of Section 78, in relation to Section 74 of the Omnibus
Election Code.