David v. Poe

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David v. Poe
Court Senate Electoral Tribunal
Full case name Rizalito Y. David versus Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares
Decided 17 November 2015 (2015-11-17)
Transcript(s) Decision
Case history
Appealed to Supreme Court of the Philippines
Court membership
Judges sitting Carpio (Senior Associate Justice), de Castro, Brion (Associate Justices), Aquino, P. Cayetano, Villar, Binay, Sotto, Legarda (Senator-members)
Concurrence Aquino, P. Cayetano, Villar, Sotto, Legarda
Dissent Carpio, de Castro, Brion, Binay

Rizalito Y. David versus Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, better known as David v. Poe, is a SET Case No.001-15. It is a 2015 court case filed before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) that sought to remove Grace Poe from the Philippine Senate—which would have effectively blocked her from running for president in the 2016 elections—because she was a foundling and therefore it was impossible to determine whether she was a natural-born citizen, a requirement for both offices.


As early as 2014, there was widespread speculation that Poe, then a senator, was a potential presidential or vice presidential candidate in the 2016 general elections.[2][3][4][5][6]

On August 6, 2015, a quo warranto petition was submitted by socio-political analyst and radio commentator Rizalito David to the SET to remove Poe from her seat in the Senate based on the assertion that, as a foundling of unknown parentage, she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen. Under the Philippine nationality law only natural-born citizens are eligible to be elected in national office.[7][8]

On September 16, 2015, Poe declared her presidential bid, in front of hundreds of supporters, family and friends at the Bahay ng Alumni, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City under the newly formed coalition of Partido Pilipinas, composed of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and led by the Nationalist People's Coalition.[9] Former Philippine President and Mayor of Manila Joseph Estrada has given his support to her.[10] On her speech announcing her presidential bid, Poe laid down a 20-point program of government if she would be elected.[11]

David, a defeated senatorial candidate in the 2013 midterm elections, filed his certificate of candidacy for President on October 12, 2015, running under Ang Kapatiran, which has participated in national elections since 2007.[12] However, the certificate was canceled when he was declared a nuisance candidate by the Commission on Elections Second Division on December 9, 2015, and he will not be able to run.[13]

On December 23, 2015, the Comelec en banc disqualified Poe from running as president in the 2016 elections for failing to meet the 10-year residency requirement but she said she would appeal the disqualification to the Supreme Court.[14] The Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Comelec's decision from being implemented.[15]


On November 17, 2015, the Senate Electoral Tribunal dismissed the case by 5–4, with five members opining that Poe could remain in the Senate and the other four opinions agreeing with the petitioner that she was not eligible to do so such as the chairperson, Antonio Carpio, who disagreed with the result.[16] Poe was affirmed to be a natural-born Filipino citizen from the day she renounced her American citizenship on October 20, 2010.[17]

In their judgment for the case, the SET declared that Grace Poe, a foundling, is a "natural-born Filipino", which allowed her to retain her seat in the Philippine Senate.[18][19][20][21][17]

David filed a motion for reconsideration to reverse the ruling by SET,[22] which was rejected on December 3, 2015,[23] after which he filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.[24] At the court's request, the Office of Solicitor General submitted an opinion on the SET ruling to the Supreme Court on January 4, 2016. The opinion favors the original SET ruling in dismissing David's disqualification case against Poe.[15]

Members Position Political Party Natural born?
Carpio, AntonioAntonio Carpio Senior Associate Justice N/A (Supreme Court) No
Brion, ArturoArturo Brion Associate Justice No
de Castro, TeresitaTeresita de Castro No
Aquino, BamBam Aquino Senator Liberal Yes
Binay, NancyNancy Binay UNA No
Cayetano, PiaPia Cayetano Nacionalista Yes
Legarda, LorenLoren Legarda NPC Yes
Sotto, TitoTito Sotto NPC Yes
Villar, CynthiaCynthia Villar Nacionalista Yes


  1. ^ "FULL TEXT: Grace Poe's declaration of 2016 presidential bid". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ Lopez, Tony (October 3, 2014). "Jojo Binay is vulnerable". Manila Standard Today. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  3. ^ Salaverria, Leila B. (September 30, 2014). "Grace Poe: People's trust inspires me, but 2016 polls still far off". Inquirer.net. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Grace Poe is top choice for Vice President; Escudero No. 2". Inquirer.net. September 30, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Grace Poe puwede manalong VP sa 2016 – survey". The Philippine Star. September 29, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  6. ^ Mateo, Janvic (October 5, 2014). "2016 poll ads start making rounds online". The Philippine Star. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ Rosario, Ben R.; Casayuran, Mario B. (August 7, 2015). "Citizenship case against Poe finally filed". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 17, 2015. 
  8. ^ David vs Poe: No more room for evasion. The Manila Times. August 8, 2015.
  9. ^ NPC: Only 'negligible' few to move from Poe to Duterte. Rappler. November 30, 2015.
  10. ^ Estrada 'very likely' to endorse Poe's presidential bid. Rappler. December 6, 2015.
  11. ^ Grace Poe officially announces presidential bid, lays down platform retrieved September 16, 2015
  12. ^ "Poe's accuser Rizalito David files COC for president". GMA News. October 12, 2015. 
  13. ^ Hegina, Aries Joseph (December 9, 2015). "Poe's accuser Rizalito David declared 'nuisance' candidate". Philippine Daily Inquirer. 
  14. ^ "Comelec en banc bars Grace Poe from running in 2016". Rappler.com. December 23, 2015. Retrieved December 23, 2015. 
  15. ^ a b "OSG FAVORS SET RULING ON POE". Malaya. January 5, 2016. Retrieved January 5, 2016. 
  16. ^ Punay, Edu (November 23, 2015). "Carpio cites flaws in SET ruling on Poe disqualification case". The Philippine Star. Retrieved November 24, 2015. 
  17. ^ a b Geronimo, Jee (November 24, 2015). "Why did SC justices vote to disqualify Grace Poe?". Rappler. Retrieved November 24, 2015. 
  18. ^ Rizalito David appeals SET decision on Grace Poe. Rappler. November 23, 2015.
  19. ^ Senators explain votes on Grace Poe's disqualification case. Rappler. November 18, 2015.
  20. ^ Grace Poe: Every foundling has right to dream. The Philippine Daily Inquirer. November 27, 2015.
  21. ^ "DOCUMENT: SET decision on disqualification case vs Grace Poe". Rappler. November 21, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2015. 
  22. ^ Marcelo, Elizabeth (November 23, 2015). "Rizalito David appeals disqualification case vs. Grace Poe". GMA News. Retrieved November 24, 2015. 
  23. ^ Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino, SET affirms. GMA News. December 3, 2015.
  24. ^ Oral arguments on Poe case pushed. The Manila Times. December 15, 2015.