POSTSCRIPT / November 10, 2015 / Tuesday


Opinion Columnist

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Another DQ case filed against Poe at Comelec

IT CONTINUES to rain disqualification cases against independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, with a fourth petition being filed yesterday against her with the Commission on Elections questioning her being a natural-born citizen.

Former University of the East College of Law Dean Amado Valdez said that Poe lost her presumed Filipino citizenship when she renounced it in 2001 upon her naturalization as an American.

He said that when Poe applied for and reacquired her citizenship in 2006 under RA 9225 (Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act), she did not necessarily become a natural-born citizen – one of the constitutional requirements for presidential candidates.

Valdez drew a distinction between a citizen and a natural-born Filipino. A natural-born Filipino is one who did not have to do anything to acquire or perfect his citizenship. Poe had to apply for its reacquisition in 2006 at age 38.

In the first place, RA 9225 is meant to benefit only natural-born Filipinos seeking to reacquire lost citizenship. Poe still has to prove her being natural-born by, among other means, showing that her biological father was a Filipino. She has failed to do that.

Even assuming she was a natural-born Filipino, Poe is deemed to have lost that status when she renounced it to become a US citizen.

“When you lose your citizenship, there’s no way you can reacquire your natural-born status,” Valdez said. “At best, Poe is just a repatriated Filipino citizen under RA 9225, but not a natural-born citizen.”

The nine-member Senate Electoral Tribunal, which is hearing a petition for Poe’s unseating as senator on the same ground of her not being a natural-born citizen as required by the Constitution, is expected to decide the case next week.

Whoever loses the case is expected to go up to the Supreme Court, thereby delaying the final resolution of the issue. The SET verdict will affect the separate disqualification cases, such as that one filed by Valdez, pending with the Comelec.

• Bongbong takes over Noy’s chore

IT LOOKED awkward to have an opposition senator, instead of the President himself, standing last Sunday at Ground Zero in Tacloban City to thank donors of aid to victims of super-typhoon Yolanda that ravaged the Visayas two years ago.

In the absence of President Noynoy Aquino, Sen. Bongbong Marcos stood in and told the international crowd gathered for the Yolanda commemoration at the Tacloban astrodome:

“No remembrance of Yolanda can be complete without the expression of our profound gratitude to the men and women, the individuals and the organizations that came to our rescue, some of which are represented here today.

“I don’t know how we will ever repay the succor and the comfort that they brought in the midst of this terrible, terrible crisis.”

Last year, President Aquino also stayed away from Tacloban, going instead to Guiuan, Eastern Samar, where Yolanda first hit land. He avoided meeting Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez with whom he had a run-in during the rescue and relief work in the city.

With Mayor Romualdez, Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (1st Dist., Leyte) and representatives from the international community and donor groups, Marcos briefed the media at the Yolanda Memorial at the astrodome.

A candidate for vice president, Marcos earlier took the Yolanda anniversary as an occasion to harp on the slow rehabilitation of the typhoon-ravaged area and demand to know where the billions in foreign and local donations had gone.

He and his Romualdez cousins in Leyte played to the typhoon victims although the city mayor tried sounding conciliatory and appreciative of what President Aquino had done for his constituents.

• False prosperity seen in election year

SURVEYS have shown that a large segment of the population is optimistic that 2016, an election year, will be kinder to most people.

This phenomenon is expected not only because Filipinos are incurable optimists despite the hard knocks, and their expectation that there is no other way but up, but also the observation that elections bring more money into circulation.

Elections create a false sense of prosperity as candidates and political parties unleash billions to buy votes and steal the elections.

This might explain partly why a group of unions has said that the latest job survey shows that workers continue to dislike traditional politicians and are not so sure the candidates could produce the jobs and improved wages they had promised.

A third quarter survey by the Social Weather Stations measured the optimism that the number of available jobs will increase in the next 12 months. It yielded a net job optimism of a “fair” +13, with 35 percent said will increase, 34 percent said will not change and 21 percent said will decrease — or 4 points below the “fair” +17 last June.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa noted the survey was conducted Oct. 12 to 16 — the period for filing certificates of candidacy for national and local elective positions.

TUCP-Nagkaisa spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said: “Neither the filing of candidacies of politicians and the political realignments for the2016 elections nor their prospects of winning will result in job opportunities next year. Workers remain distrustful of what politicians say. Workers simply reject traditional politics and dislike traditional and epal politicians.”

He said workers want candidates to talk about their individual platform — how to improve labor’s potentials and how to address recurring problems of growing inflation, low wages, and employment gaps.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of November 10, 2015)

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