Solicitor General backs SET decision: Poe is a natural-born Filipino

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on Monday (January 4) backed the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) that Sen. Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino.

In its comment, the OSG said the tribunal's decision embodies a "legally grounded, reasonable and just interpretation" of the 1935 Constitution.

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay argued that the deliberations of the 1934 Constitutional Commission has indicated the intention to categorize foundlings as a class of persons considered as Philippine citizens.

Hilbay explained, the understanding that foundlings are citizens of the Philippines rests on the rational assumption that a child of unknown parentage is "the son of a Filipino."

The OSG also maintained that Poe validly reacquired her natural-born citizenship.

Supreme Court magistrates inhibit

In a notice issued by the Supreme Court (SC) En Banc on December 29, the high tribunal stated that Associate Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion would no longer take part in Poe’s case, due to their participation in the SET.

In her petition to the SC, Poe asked the three magistrates who are also members of the SET to inhibit from hearing her case.

The three justices voted in favor of the quo warranto petition of Rizalito David, asking SET to nullify Poe's proclamation as a senator.

Related: Poe to move for consolidation of cases, inhibition of 3 justices

In another case, former senator Francisco Tatad moved for the dismissal of Poe's petition before the high court.

Tatad asked the SC to lift the TRO against the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), taking Poe out of the presidential race in May.

“We believe that they put a lot of emotions into it than evidence — and emotions are not counted,” Tatad’s lawyer, Atty. Manuelito Luna, said.

Tatad is also against Poe's move to consolidate her three cases and the move to ask for the inhibition of three justices.

According to Luna, his client believes that “the consolidation [of cases] is not done in good faith,” and it is a scheme to force the three justices to quit or recuse themselves