Comelec exec: ‘Sad plight of foundlings’ not yet an SC issue

Jee Y. Geronimo

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Comelec exec: ‘Sad plight of foundlings’ not yet an SC issue
Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim says sentiments raised about foundlings are 'valid,' but Grace Poe 'unfortunately isn't natural-born under the Constitution'

MANILA, Philippines – Much of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno‘s interpellation on Tuesday, February 2, focused on the plight of foundlings in relation to the disqualification case against presidential candidate Grace Poe.

But Commissioner Arthur Lim, lead counsel of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said this issue should be first addressed in Congress and the executive department.

“Those are valid sentiments raised by the court regarding the plight of foundlings, but the position of the Commission on Elections is that the sad plight of foundlings has to be addressed at the first instance by Congress and the executive department, and thereafter, in justiciable cases by the Supreme Court interpreting and applying the law,” the commissioner told reporters after Tuesday’s oral arguments.

While the Supreme Court (SC) values people who are “disadvantaged in life,” Lim said the issue at hand is “the primacy of the Constitution.” (READ: Not natural-born? Foundlings will be deprived of these rights…)

“Unfortunately for the petitioner, hindi po siya (she is not a) natural-born as defined in our Constitution, and it is something that the Commission on Elections arrived at after due consideration and thorough study,” he added.


Comelec ‘will have to adjust’

The SC is hearing oral arguments on the consolidated petitions filed by Poe seeking for a reversal of the Comelec’s decision to cancel her certificate of candidacy (COC) for president in the 2016 elections.

The oral arguments will resume next Tuesday, February 9 – the start of the campaign period for national positions.

Lim said that while the poll body’s timeline is moving, it will have to adjust since the Poe case is ongoing at the SC.

“We will just have to do our best in the commission to adjust or to device ways and means when we can have the final list of candidates or the list of candidates already finalized, the ballots printed, and we can address those concerns kahit wala pang mga decision dito sa kasong ito (even if this case have yet to be decided),” he explained.

Another presidential bet has a pending case before the poll body. The Comelec First Division has yet to decide on the consolidated cases seeking to cancel the COC of presidential bet Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. –

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.