The Philippine Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday, March 8 that Senator Grace Poe can proceed with her presidential bid in the May 9 elections.
In a 9-6 vote in favor of Poe, the court overturned the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) decision to disqualify the senator based on the grounds that she is not a natural-born Filipino and did not meet the 10-year residency requirement outlined in the Constitution.
The Comelec’s decision prompted Poe to take her case to the high court, asserting that she formally renounced her American citizenship and has lived in the Philippines in time to run for president.
“This victory isn’t only mine,” Poe said during an International Women’s Day rally hosted by party-list group Gabriela. “This is most of all a victory for the oppressed, a victory for those who are burdened by this system and a victory for women.”
Poe, the adopted daughter of Susan Roces and the late Fernando Poe Jr., was allegedly found on the doorstep of a church in Panay. Her candidacy brought upon a debate of whether a foundling can be considered a natural-born citizen or naturalized citizen.
Poe has topped recent surveys as a favored candidate to win the country’s top post. The latest Pulse Asia poll found Poe in the lead with 26 percent support from the respondents, followed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, who received 25 percent.
Prior to returning to the Philippines, Poe lived a quiet life. She ran for the Philippine Senate in 2013, winning more than 20 million votes.
“To those who do not know their real parents but grew up with integrity and determination, we now have a chance to aspire big. But most important, to our poor and oppressed countrymen, this will be my mission: The government should protect and treat everyone equally,” the senator said, thanking the Supreme Court for siding with her.