The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines specifies a natural-born Filipino for a President. Why? Because all Philippine constitutions starting 1935 said so. But why?
Because Filipinos, mostly and easily, usually copied from mother U.S.A. which they have always esteemed as the greatest country in the world. I guess, framers of the first Philippine constitution after the Filipino revolution of 1896, easily saw senses so broad and without much labor. They saw them working well somewhere.
The Americans assumed the Philippines from the Spaniards after the Spanish-American war in 1898. They also inherited the Filipino revolution against Spain that, except for a few leaders on the run and in hiding, they almost totally crushed by 1903. The Philippines thus was a U.S. territory until 1934 when it became a Commonwealth Republic, which was granted independence in 1946. The 1935 Commonwealth constitution was carried on until the time of President Marcos. The Philippines also celebrated its National Independence the same day America celebrated its, which is July 4th. Just like copy and paste.
“…senses so broad and without much labor.” That, folks, is actually an impression, an opinion. Because every time somebody questions anything whether constitutional or not, Supreme Court always has an answer. Fact is, while the constitutions specify natural-born for a President, they never specifically stated why.
Is “natural-born” Filipino citizen just a matter of legal technicality or is it there purposely?
Currently controversial is the issue of birth and citizenship of Senator Grace Poe, a candidate to run for President. Since there is a case in court right now regarding them, this article is not really about her though we might be doing some scratching on surfaces of the matter. Something in general.
The case is not with the regular courts actually, but one filed with the SET or Senate Electoral Tribunal – for disqualification when Ms Poe won in the 2013 senatorial election. Considering the urgency of the question, the tribunal seems to have found the case hard to decide. It’s now 2015 and Ms Poe, now set to run for 2016 Presidency, is facing the same unresolved issues. This is understandable enough because the SET has three  from the Judiciary and six  from the Senate comprising its body, and not really one wholly comprised by people of the bar. Traditional politics is always a probable factor to play in a body like this
Ms Poe topped the 2013 senatorial race, running in the administration line-up. A candidate carried by more than one party, actually. Being a fresh and untarnished face in politics, and known daughter of actor king Fernando Poe Jr. and actress queen Susan Roces, she topped in popularity. They rode on her, she rode on them, so to say. She made past elections topnotch like Gloria M. Arroyo and Loren Legarda seem small. But we are going a-side.
Where were we? Ah, doing some revisiting of the constitutions… I found it amusing that they mentioned natural-born for a president but never exactly said why. So I guess much is left to common sense. And since they are English words, well established English dictionaries could also provide meanings and clues.
While questioned whether or not she is a natural-born Filipino, I think there is a deeper question, which is about her citizenship itself. She is a declared foundling. She is married to an American. One time in her life she migrated to the U.S.A. She became an American citizen and reproduced children who are Americans. She came back to the Philippines and [reacquired her Philippine citizenship]. I think she needs lots of clearings to do for herself.
ARTICLE IV Citizenship, Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines.
SECTION 5. Dual allegiance of citizens is inimical to the national interest and shall be dealt with by law.
Aw, I forgot. Where were we? Ah, a natural-born citizen for a president. Why?