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SET ORAL ARGUMENT Sen.

Legarda: I would just like to ask you, could you


possibly give me a reason why a foreigner who is about to
1. That Poe is a foundling did not necessarily give birth would actually leave her country of origin to give
carry with it proof that her parents were not birth in the Philippines? Would it perhaps not be more
citizens of the Philippines reasonable to assume that the pregnant foreigner would
give birth in her own country for her family is there and a
--- state support?

Sen. Legarda: So the unknown father could be a foreigner Atty. Luna: Maybe many reasons, Your Honor, and your
but the unknown father could also be a Filipino. Is that guess may be as good as mine because we’re just basing all
correct? of these on probabilities. So we cannot certainly say what
was the reason for that decision on the part of the mother to
Atty. Luna: Yes, Your Honor. abandon a poor child.
xxx Sen. Legarda: In 1968, did Iloilo already have an
international airport?
Sen. Legarda: And you cannot exclude for certain the
possibility that one or both of the parents of Senator Poe are Atty. Luna: I’m not sure, Your Honor.
Filipinos.
xxx
Atty. Luna: Yes, Your Honor
Sen. Legarda: And a pregnant foreigner in 1968 would
xxx have found it easier to give birth in Manila perhaps where
the international airport was. But what boggles the mind is
Sen. Legarda: So in the end, there’s always a possibility
why would she want to give birth in Iloilo? Would you
that one or both parents were actually Filipinos.
have a reason for that?
Atty. Luna: That’s possible, Your Honor.
Atty. Luna: It would be very difficult for us to speculate,
--- Your Honor, and we are not sure even if her mother is a
foreigner because as you have said, it’s also possible that
2. There is satisfactory, if uncontradicted, her mother is a Filipino.
presumption that her parents are Filipinos due to
Sen. Legarda: Would you agree with me that most of the
her physical features time, parents, people who abandon children is due to
--- poverty?

Atty. Luna: Correct, Your Honor.


Sen. Legarda: So perhaps Senator Poe has a typical height
of a Filipino, just probably. I am not even talking about Sen. Legarda: Could you kindly tell me how in 1968, an
legalities here, just possibilities. impoverished foreigner would leave the country, travel to
the Philippines, and travel all the way to the Philippines to
Atty. Luna: Usually, southeast-asian people have that
give birth and abandon her baby?
particular profile.

xxx Atty. Luna: We cannot speculate on that, Your Honor,


because that’s clearly without foundation considering that
Sen. Legarda: You’ve seen the hair of Senator Poe, it is the question is anchored on probabilities. We are not sure
black, and she has typical Filipino features, and she was of the particular circumstances that led that mother to
found in a Roman Catholic Church. Are we not 80% abandon her poor child on September 3, 1968.
Catholics in this country, more or less?
Sen. Legarda: Would it not be a more probable scenario
Atty. Luna: I think so, Your Honor. that in 1968, an impoverished Roman Cathollic Filipina
living in Iloilo City which was then, as now,
Sen. Legarda: And do you have proof that in 1968 or at any overwhelmingly populated by Filipinos, gave birth to
other time, the population of Iloilo, the city where she was Senator Poe and left the baby in the church of her faith?
found in the Philippines, were predominantly foreigners?
Atty. Luna: That’s also possible, Your Honor.

---
xxx

Atty. Luna: What I’m sure about is that majority are


Filipinos, Your Honor.
1934 CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION Sr. Rafols:
I do not accept the amendment because the amendment
would exclude the children of a Filipina with a foreigner
who does not recognize the child. Their parentage is not
1. Framers intended foundlings to be covered by unknown and I think those of overseas Filipino mother and
the enumeration: father [whom the latter] does not recognize, should also be
considered as Filipinos.
---
President:
Sr. Rafols: For an amendment. I propose that after The question in order is the amendment to the amendment
subsection 2, the following is inserted: "The natural from the Gentleman from Cebu, Mr. Briones.
children of a foreign father and a Filipino mother not
recognized by the father. Sr. Busion:
Mr. President, don't you think it would be better to leave
xxxx this matter in the hands of the Legislature?
President: Sr. Roxas:
[We] would like to request a clarification from the Mr. President, my humble opinion is that these cases
proponent of the amendment. The gentleman refers to are few and far in between, that the constitution need [not]
natural children or to any kind of illegitimate children? refer to them. By international law the principle that
children or people born in a country of unknown parents
Sr. Rafols:
are citizens in this nation is recognized, and it is not
To all kinds of illegitimate children. It also includes
necessary to include a provision on the subject
natural children of unknown parentage, natural or
exhaustively.
illegitimate children of unknown parents.
---
Sr. Montinola:
For clarification. The gentleman said "of unknown Explanation of the Court: Though the Rafols
parents." Current codes consider them Filipino, that is, I
amendment was not carried out, it was not because
refer to the Spanish Code wherein all children of unknown
parentage born in Spanish territory are considered
there was any objection to the notion that persons of
Spaniards, because the presumption is that a child of "unknown parentage" are not citizens but only
unknown parentage is the son of a Spaniard. This may be because their number was not enough to merit
applied in the Philippines in that a child of unknown specific mention. Such was the account, cited by
parentage born in the Philippines is deemed to be Filipino, petitioner, of delegate and constitution law author
and there is no need ... Jose Aruego who said:
Sr. Rafols: “During the debates on this provision,
There is a need, because we are relating the conditions that Delegate Rafols presented an amendment to
are [required] to be Filipino.
include as Filipino citizens the illegitimate
Sr. Montinola: children with a foreign father of a mother
But that is the interpretation of the law, therefore, there is who was a citizen of the Philippines, and
no [more] need for amendment. also foundlings; but this amendment was
defeated primarily because the Convention
Sr. Rafols:
The amendment should read thus: believed that the cases, being too few to
"Natural or illegitimate of a foreign father and a Filipino warrant the inclusion of a provision in the
mother recognized by one, or the children of unknown Constitution to apply to them, should be
parentage." governed by statutory legislation. Moreover,
it was believed that the rules of international
Sr. Briones:
law were already clear to the effect that
The amendment [should] mean children born in the
Philippines of unknown parentage.
illegitimate children followed the citizenship
of the mother, and that foundlings followed
Sr. Rafols: the nationality of the place where they were
The son of a Filipina to a Foreigner, although this [person] found, thereby making unnecessary the
does not recognize the child, is not unknown. inclusion in the Constitution of the proposed
President: amendment.”
Does the gentleman accept the amendment or not?
SC ORAL ARGUMENTS JUSTICE CARPIO:
How many percent of Filipinos, natural-born, have blue
eyes, blonde hair, white skin, 99.9 percent?

1. The following exchange between Justice Carpio SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:


and the Solicitor General illustrates the fallacy of I don't know about the specific numbers .....
the so-called 99.93% (99.83%) statistical
xxxx
probability advanced by the Solicitor General.
Such statistical probability would result in patent JUSTICE CARPIO:
absurdities. You don't have the statistics.

--- xxxx

JUSTICE CARPIO: SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:


Now, how does the Constitution define natural-born I don't, Your Honor, I don't.
citizen?
xxxx
SOLICITOR GEN"ERAL HILBAY:
JUSTICE CARPIO:
Natural-born citizens of the Philippines from birth without
So, you would say that every child born in the Philippines
having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their
who has blue eyes, blonde hair, white skin, whose parents
citizenship.
cannot be found, and there is a certificate by the DSWD
JUSTICE CARPIO: that's a foundling, they are all natural-born citizens of the
Okay. Let us assume that an infant is found, a three-day Philippines. If Filipino ....
infant is found today in front of the Manila Cathedral.
SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
The infant has blue eyes, blonde hair, milky white skin.
Your Honor, I am not threatened by people with blue eyes
The parish priest looks around and doesn't find any one
and, you know, blonde ...
claiming the child. So, the parish priest goes to the
DSWD, turns over the child to the DSWD. The DSWD JUSTICE CARPIO:
conducts an investigation, a formal investigation, to find Yes, but my question is, what is the nationality of those
out if the biological parents are around if they can be children, of those infants?
found. Nobody comes out, so the DSWD issues a
foundling certificate, okay. What is the nationality of SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
the child? Is the child a natural-born citizen of the Natural-born Filipinos still, Your Honor.
Philippines?
xxxx
SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
JUSTICE CARPIO:
I would consider the child a natural-born citizen of the
Supposing now, there is a DNA taken from the
Philippines because 99.9 percent of the time, that child
child[ren], you say they are natural-born citizens. The
will be a natural-born citizen.
DNA shows that they have Caucasian genes, no Asian
JUSTICE CARPIO: genes at all, would you say they are natural-born
So even if the child has blue eyes, blonde hair, Caucasian citizens of the Philippines?
skin ...
SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:
SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY: Well, it's possible for Caucasians to be Filipinos, Your
It's possible for Filipinos to have blue eyes, Your Honor. Honor, and natural-born Filipinos.

JUSTICE CARPIO: JUSTICE CARPIO:


Blonde hair? If their parents are Filipinos.

SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY: SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:


It's possible Your Honor. Yes, exactly, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CARPIO: JUSTICE CARPIO:


How many percent? But if you don't know who their parents ....

SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY: SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY:


Again, Your Honor, if we are looking at percentage .... Then I, again, would go back to 99.9 percent, which is a
rather comfortable number for me.
JUSTICE CARPIO: JUSTICE CARPIO:
Yes, but how many percent of Filipinos have blue eyes, Because the law covers citizens of the Philippines and
blonde hair and white skin? children not citizens of Philippines but found here.

SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY: COMMISSIONER LIM:


That is an irrelevant fact for me, Your Honor. I'm not Yes, Your Honor.
looking at the class of citizens ....
JUSTICE CARPIO:
xxxx If a foundling cannot be shown to be a citizen of the
Philippines, can we exercise jurisdiction and have that child
JUSTICE CARPIO: adopted?
You have to look at the statistics also.
COMMISSIONER LIM:
SOLICITOR GENERAL HILBAY: Yes, Your Honor.
Yes, Your Honor, of course.
JUSTICE CARPIO:
--- Do we have the power, the State has the power? Yes,
because a foundling is deemed to be domiciled where?
2. The following exchange during the Oral
Arguments highlights the Chief Justice's glaringly COMMISSIONER LIM:
erroneous interpretation of RA 8552 and RA 8043 In the place of his birth.

--- JUSTICE CARPIO:


If his place [of] birth is unknown, where is he presumed to
JUSTICE CARPIO: be domiciled?
Okay, Let's go to x x x adoption laws. x x x [W]e have an
adoption law, correct? COMMISSIONER LIM:
He is presumed to be domiciled in the territory of the State
COMMISSIONER LIM: where the foundling is found.
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE CARPIO:
JUSTICE CARPIO: Yes, because the domicile of a foundling is presumed to be
x x x Republic Act...8552? where he is found.
COMMISSIONER LIM: COMMISSIONER LIM:
Yes, Your Honor. Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE CARPIO: JUSTICE CARPIO:
It says who can be adopted, correct? Who may be adopted? That's why the State has jurisdiction over him for adoption
Section 8, correct? purposes. And if no other State will claim him with more
reason, we will have jurisdiction over a foundling, correct?
COMMISSIONER LIM:
Yes, Your Honor. COMMISSIONER LIM:
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE CARPIO:
Does it say there that the adoptee must be a citizen of the JUSTICE CARPIO:
Philippines? Okay. So, the law does not distinguish whether Philippine
citizen or non-Philippine citizen, whether natural born-
COMMISSIONER LIM:
Filipinos or naturalized, none. There's no distinction?
Yes, Your Honor.
COMMISSIONER LIM:
JUSTICE CARPIO:
That's correct, Your Honor.
x x x Can you read Section 8.
JUSTICE CARPIO:
COMMISSIONER LIM:
Okay. Let's go to the Supreme Court x x x rule on adoption.
I stand corrected, Your Honor, it does not require
We adopted this in 2002. What does it say? Who may be
citizenship.
adopted?
JUSTICE CARPIO:
COMMISSIONER LIM:
There is no requirement.
Any person below 18 years of age ...
COMMISSIONER LIM:
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE CARPIO: COMMISSIONER LIM:
Does it say that only citizens of the Philippines? The IRR. ...

COMMISSIONER LIM: JUSTICE CARPIO:


No, Your Honor. Do you have a decision, jurisprudence for that, that an
Implementing Rule cannot expand and cannot deduct from
JUSTICE CARPIO: what the law provides?
There's no ...
COMMISSIO"NER LIM:
COMMISSIONER LIM: I cannot cite one now, Your Honor.
Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE CARPIO:
JUSTICE CARPIO: Okay. Cebu Oxygen v. Drilon, x x x. It says here it is a
... nothing there which says only citizens of the Philippines fundamental rule that Implementing Rules cannot add or
can be adopted. detract from the provisions of law it is designed to
implement. x x x. But this implementing rule says only
COMMISSIONER LIM:
Filipinos can be adopted. That cannot be done, correct?
Yes, Your Honor.
COMMISSIONER LIM:
JUSTICE CARPIO:
Yes, Your Honor.
Precisely because we don't know the citizenship of a
foundling. JUSTICE CARPIO:
Fundamental rule, if the Court says fundamental rule, all
COMMISSIONER LIM:
practicing lawyers must know that, correct?
That's right, Your Honor.
COMMISSIONER LIM:
JUSTICE CARPIO:
Yes, Your Honor.
That's why it's not required that he would be a Filipino,
correct? ---
COMMISSIONER LIM:
Yes, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CARPIO:
Okay. Let's go to the implementing rule and regulation of
R.A. 8552. x x x. It says here, this is an implementing rule
and regulation to implement Republic Act 8552. So this
was promulgated by the administrative agency, by DSWD,
correct?

COMMISSIONER LIM:
Correct, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CARPIO:
Okay. It says here applicability, Section 2, the Rule shall
apply to the adoption in the Philippines of a Filipino child
by a Filipino or alien qualified to adopt. So it limits
adoption to Philippines citizens, to a Filipino child?

COMMISSIO"NER LIM:
Yes, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CARPIO:
Okay, This is supposed to implement the law. Can the
implementing rules restrict the law?

COMMISSIO"NER LIM:
Water cannot rise higher than its source, Your Honor ...

JUSTICE CARPIO:
Okay.