Press Release
September 22, 2015

Drilon: SC has final say on Poe citizenship case

Senate President Franklin M. Drilon today said that it is the Supreme Court that will ultimately decide on the quo warranto petition against Senator Grace Poe.

"Any decision to be handed down by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), whether for or against Senator Poe, will eventually be brought up to the Supreme Court," Drilon, a former justice secretary and a lawyer, said.

"Therefore, it is very crucial for the SET to be able to come out with a decision at the earliest time possible, in order to give the High Court sufficient time to hear the case and render a verdict before the election period kicks off," said Drilon.

Drilon, the main author of the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003 (RA 9225), said that the question on Poe's citizenship is a legal issue "that can only be resolved with finality by the Supreme Court."

Drilon noted that the majority of the members of the SET are non-lawyers. Only four out of the nine members of the SET are lawyers, namely Senior Associate Justice T. Antonio Carpio, Associate Justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, Associate Justice Arturo D. Brion, and Sen. Pia S. Cayetano. The other members are Senators Vicente Sotto III, Nancy Binay, Bam Aquino, Loren Legarda, and Cynthia Villar.

"The matter that is before the tribunal involves the interpretation and application of the provisions of the Constitution, RA 9225, commonly known as the Dual Citizenship Act, and other pertinent laws concerning citizenship on an undisputed set of facts," Drilon emphasized.

He said that the SET can take judicial notice of the facts and public records which are not disputed, and eventually render its verdict.

Drilon earlier said that the petition casts doubts on Poe's being a natural-born Filipino and unavoidably, it affects Poe's candidacy next year.

He expressed hope that the SET will act on the case with urgency, considering the scheduled filing of the certificate of candidacy by October, and the printing of the official ballots by January 2015.

He concluded that the SET's prompt ruling will enable the High Court to immediately decide on the case in time for the election period.

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