Jocelyn S. Limkaichong shall continue to sit as member of the House representing the first district of Negros Oriental.
This is the outcome of the Supreme Court resolution of July 30, 2009, after it denied “with finality” the motion for reconsideration seeking to disqualify and unseat Limkaichong.
At the same time, the Supreme Court recognized that legal efforts to question Limkaichong’s qualifications shall now be in the House Electoral Tribunal (HRET).
The core issue in the various petitions is the qualification of Josy to run for, be elected to, and assume and discharge the position of first district representative.
The contention of those seeking Josy's disqualification is simple: Josy is not a natural born citizen. Not being a natural born citizen, she lacks the constitutional qualifications for membership in the lower house.
In the last elections, Josy garnered the highest number of votes for first district representative. She was eventually proclaimed, and has since discharged the office as member of the lower house.
According to the petitions to disqualify Josy, she is not a natural born Filipino because her parents were Chinese citizens at the time of her birth.
The petitions went on to claim that the proceedings for naturalization of Josy’s father, Julio Ong Sy, never attained finality due to procedural and substantial defects.
The supreme court rejected the petitions.
The supreme court has ruled that it is not enough that Josy’s qualification be attacked and questioned before any tribunal or government institution.
There must be proper proceedings required by law.
“First things first” said the supreme court.
If Josy’s qualification is assailed because her father’s citizenship is in question, then the first thing to do is to cancel the father’s naturalization certificate.
This is laid down in Section 18 Commonwealth Act 473.
Under the law, the solicitor general, his representative or the provincial fiscal can file a motion in court to cancel the naturalization certificate of a naturalized person, in this case Josy’s father Julio Ong Sy.
This is what the supreme court meant when it said “First things first”
Not even private persons, in an election contest, can seek a declaration of Josy’s non-qualification, said the court.
Denaturalization “is plainly not a matter that may be raised by private persons in an election case involving the naturalized citizen’s (Juilo Sy’s) descendant (Josy)”, said the supreme court.
Finally, the supreme court ruled that in seeking Josy’s disqualification on account of her citizenship, the rudiments of fair play and due process must be observed.
In observing due process, the Court said, Josy is not deprived of the right to hold office as member of the house of representatives.
Also by observing due process, her constituents would not be deprived of a leader whom they have put their trust on, through their votes, the court said.
Edgar Teves: I feel emancipated
September 9, 2009
Mr. Ely Dejaresco
Atty. Elmar Jay Dejaresco
The Negros Chronicle
Dear Ely and Jay,
I would like to convey to you my thanks for publishing last Sunday, September 6, 2009, the Supreme Court’s decision regarding my case.
It had been a burden really for the past few years as it hampered some of my ventures. I felt that your segment had in some way provided me a sense of emancipation. There is nothing next than to have cleared my name at last.
Once again, thank you.
Edgar Y. Teves.
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