April 9, 2016

2 Friends on Grace Poe's DQ MR, Carpio-Sereno B!tchfight

The Supreme Court, as expected, upheld the decision to reverse COMELEC’s cancellation of Grace Poe’s certificate of candidacy, allowing FPJ’s daughter to run for the highest seat on the land. However, also as expected, SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio was again at odds with Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. Also, as expected, Carpio wrote yet another scathing dissent, while Sereno wrote yet another confusing concurrence.

Their literary bitchfight is so fun to read. And that's what my friend JA and I talked about.

Carpio’s Dissent: SC repeatedly contradicted itself

TP: Nabalitaan mo na ba?

JA: Ang alin, kapatid?

TP: Denied and Motion for Reconsideration sa Poe Disqualification Case. Kalalabas lang an hour ago ng opinions.

JA: Lumabas na?

TP: Oo

JA: Kaaliw si Carpio. Feeling ko homicidal na si Sereno right now.

Kasi if Carpio was just ranting, everyone will simply ignore him. But he raised another solid point.

JA: Hahaha! Hinahanap ko! asan link?

TP: Sc.judiciary.gov.ph … Go read mo yung kay Carpio. Medyo wordy but that's expected but the point he raised is totally humiliating for Sereno.

JA: Wait, read ko!

TP: Ok go.

JA: Reading!

TP: Go! No rush.

JA: Binabasa ko yung kay Carpio. hahaha.

TP: Basahin mo muna lahat, tapos pagusapan natin afterward. The idealist in me weeping, but the Machiavelli in me is relieved that Poe was declared qualified.

A few minutes later….

JA: Tangina ‘tong si sereno, yung concurring opinion nya palang binabasa ko. may bigotry pang nalalaman! 7+ 6+ 3 pa rin pala ang voting e.

TP: Yeah, they redefined the definition of majority, but Carpio has a new point.

JA: Wala pa ako doon, nasa page 8 pa lang ako ng concurring opinion ni Sereno. Haha!

TP: lol Ok go!

JA: God! Si Sereno ang twisted ng logic.

TP: Nagets mo na?

JA: Wait! Carpio pa. Kakatapos ko lang ng Sereno. Ang haba!

A few minutes later…

JA: Keri na, so ano na?

TP: Quoting Carpio…

CARPIO: On the jurisdiction of the COMELEC, the ponencia posits that "[t]he COMELEC cannot itself, in the same cancellation case, decide the qualification or lack thereof of the candidate." The ponencia states that "[t]he facts of qualification must beforehand be established in a prior proceeding before an authority properly vested with jurisdiction."
I explain ko.

First. SC said COMELEC cannot decide on citizenship and residency. When evaluating the validity of COC’s, it should only act upon candidate information as they are. That is, facts of qualification should be settled beforehand.

CARPIO: The ponencia maintains that this prior determination of a candidate's qualification may be by statute, by executive order, or by a judgment of a competent court or tribunal.

Once the Court rules that the COMELEC is devoid of jurisdiction, the Court can only annul the decision of the COMELEC. The Court cannot rule on the merits, that is, decide the qualifications of a candidate, because there is no COMELEC decision to review on the merits, the annulled decision of the COMELEC being nonexistent.

Second, Carpio basically explained that the SC is deciding on the wrong case because the item they’re deciding on (the verification of citizenship and residency) is not within the scope of the issue at hand, which is whether COMELEC abused authority by overstepping its bounds. Besides, there is no competent authority who decided Poe is both a natural-born citizen and a resident.

Third, the complicating factor is that the relevant facts of qualification in this case are citizenship and residency. Thus, overturning COMELEC’s decision to cancel Poe’s COC requires an SC decision saying Poe is actually both a natural-born citizen and a resident for 10 years.

Fourth, here comes the messy part: Even SC refused to decide on citizenship and residency so we're faced with two options moving forward:
[a] UPHOLD CANCELLATION OF COC: Citizenship/residency is not settled so it’s presume she's unqualified, as existing jurisprudence puts the burden of proof on the person who claims citizenship or residency,

[b] REVERSE CANCELLATION OF COC: Presume that she's qualified until proven otherwise, in contradiction with established jurisprudence.
This issue is what some camps called “Citizenship by Presumption”. Noong una, di ko masyadong naintindihan but Carpio explained it so well this time. This time, it’s clear that SC basically tells COMELEC na ‘pag sinabi ng COC applicant na qualified siya, basta maniwala na lang si COMELEC. Which is crazy.

Law school teaches and common sense dictates that the burden of proof lies on those who claim to be residents and those who claim to be citizens. Otherwise, what is the point of having passport control officers in airports kung presumed pala na PH citizens and/or PH residents ang lahat ng tao sa mundo?

JA: Oo, syet, nabasa ko now lang. Kahit si sereno ganyan diba, poe is qualified to run. Now, once manalo, hindi na problema ng sc yan, pet na!

TP: Yes, with reservations (lol lakas kong maka-Alma Moreno). It gets more interesting.

It’s clear that SC refused to rule on citizenship and residency, which leaves the SC – formally sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal – to decide on it. But Carpio explained SC can sit as PET only to decide on post-election cases. Hence, it remains a fact that Poe's qualifications are still unsettled, reinforcing the new (and stupid) doctrine of Citizenship and Residency by presumption.

JA: Parang ganyan nga ang gusto ni Sereno. Parang, tangina lang.

TP: Again, SC effectively ruled Poe can run even if her qualifications are still in question, which essentially shows that we now have a new doctrine of Citizenship by Presumption, something totally alien to established jurisprudence.

JA: Talaga. anong klaseng logic ‘yang sa SC?

TP: Ok ha, alam kong gets mon a pero pasimplehin ko sa tagalog kasi ipa-publish ko ‘to sa TP mamaya.

Una, hindi raw pwedeng mag-rule si COMELEC kung Citizen/Resident si Poe dahil kailangang nakaestablish na ang mga fact na yan prior to filing COC. Kailangang may isang competent authority to settle those two issues beforehand. Kaya lang, wala pang ganon, so pano na?

Pangalawa, ang task ng SC sa mismong case na ito ay hindi ang pag-decide kung citizen o resident ba si Poe. Imbes, ito ay ang pagdecide kung umabuso ba ng COMELEC sa pamamagitan ng paglagpas sa mandato nito. Para mapakita yon, kailangang mapatunayang may competent authority na nagdeclare na citizen at resident nga si Poe, pero wala.

Ikatlo, Ang next option para ma-overturn ang COC cancellation ay kung ideclare ng SC na citizen at resident si poe, pero hindi ba nga’t ayon mismo sa ponencia ay ayaw magrule ng SC ukol doon?

So ano na lang?

JA: That’s messed up.

TP: Yes it is. LOL. Sabi ni Carpio, para maestablish ang citizenship ang citizenship at residency, SC sitting formally as a Presidential Electoral Tribunal lang ang pwede, kaya hindi maeestablish yan komo mga elected officials lang ang covered ng PET.

JA: Mangyayari lang yang PET pag nanalo ba?

TP: Oo, bawal ang pet kung candidate pa lang. So hindi pwede ang PET, so contested pa rin ang actual na qualification ni Poe. However, kahit contested pa, pinaraos pa rin ng SC ang COC, kabaliktaran ng gusto ng COMELEC, implying that Poe is technically natural born and a 10-year resident right now, dahil iyon ang requirement ng valid COC.

Now, we are faced with this situation:

Here's an SC telling us they will still decide on Poe's citizenship and residency if she wins (i.e. citizenship and residency are still uncertain). In the same breath, they SC is also telling us that Poe already has the requisite citizenship and residency, as shown by their decision that COC is valid.

There lies the contradiction.

Gets mo ba?

The only way to remedy that contradiction (citizenship aspect) is by creating a new doctrine of citizenship by presumption, i.e. shifting the burden of proof from the one who claims citizenship to the one who accuses that the person is not a citizen.

Basically, kahit si Michael Jordan o si Steven Seagal ang magfile ng COC sa COMELEC sa 2022, hindi siya pwede i-DQ via citizenship/residency. Of course, exaggeration yon.

JA: Yeah gets ko.

TP: Ang point ko, the idea of being accused (with solid reasoning) that a lawyer (a justice in this case) is illogical, is the worst insult one can hear.

Did Sereno just insult OFWs?

JA: Nairita lang ako talaga, lalo yung sa Ongsiako-Reyes na case [Inquirer]. Though I do not know the details myself.

TP: Ah, yung kay Reyes mayroon atang small details na pwedeng ipilit para sabihing hindi sila similar. Di rin ako sure pero dedma na lang muna.

JA: Para kasing the way Sereno wrote it, si Reyes, may green card, at nasa kanya ang burden of proof ng natural-born. Pero si Poe, na American citizen pa noon, pinalagpas?!

SERENO: Petitioner therein was a holder of a green card, which evidences that one is a lawful permanent resident of the United States (US).

TP: LOL, ano yon? Mas Pilipino pa ang foreign citizen kaysa sa OFW na nagtiis na green card lang dahil ayaw magrenounce ng pagka-Pilipino? LOL. Twisted logic nga.

JA: Eto ha, ang reality, maraming OFW ang may long-term residence cards. Hindi nag-gigive up ng residence cards kasi may pension at may benefits. Kahit nasa Pinas na nagstay.

TP: Oo I know a few people who do that thing.

JA: So what happens to them? Arent we discriminating against Pinoys with residence cards, and yet hindi ever nagrenounce ng citizenship

TP: Brilliant Point.

JA: And yet si Poe, inaccept ng ganun lang. Eto di ko matake, kasi ako I have that.

TP: So ang point dito e mas mabait ang batas natin para sa mga nagtakwil ng pagiging Pinoy kaysa sa nagtiis na manatiling pinoy?

JA: Oo. At it is taken against us that we maintain that residency status, because we want to get the benefits and pensions we are entitled to from that country? Kasi, to maintain the residence, you just have to go back to foreign country once per couple of years. Ganiyan ang kuwento ng maraming mga pensionadong senior citizen OFW na umuwi na ng Pilipinas.

We did not renounce our being Filipino, pero yung nagrenounce, mas keri? Tanginang yan.

TP: I get it. Well, apparently, ganun na nga. Haha this is fucked up.

JA: So paano naman, ang batas natin? Mas prinotektahan ang nag-renounce at kinuha out of convenience ang pagiging pilipino.

TP: Remember, Danding Cojuangco is her backer. Nabaliktad nga ni Danding ang SC coco levy decisions over the years, e kung ikukumpara tong DQ case, puto lang to.

JA: God help us.

TP: Amen.


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