‘Poe naturalized, not natural-born, Filipino’
SENATOR Grace Poe Llamanzares is a naturalized and not a natural-born Filipino, according to Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio T. Carpio who presides over the Senate Electoral Tribunal hearing a petition to unseat Poe as senator.
Carpio is not the tribunal, but his declaration in yesterday’s SET hearing was a psychological setback for Poe who had announced her decision to run as an independent candidate for president in the May 2016 elections.
Under the Constitution, candidates for senator and for president must be natural-born citizens. If Carpio’s view is adopted by a majority of the nine SET members, it could also apply if Poe’s qualification for president is raised after she files her certificate of candidacy anytime from October 12 to 16.
Section 2 of Article IV of the Constitution defines “natural-born citizens” as “those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.”
Poe was found at the Jaro parish church in Iloilo on Sept. 3, 1968. Under the 1935 Constitution, which was in effect at the time, her father should have been a Filipino for the child to acquire his citizenship. But until now the identity and citizenship of her biological father are unknown.
Poe’s lawyer said, however, that since it could not be shown that her parents were foreigners, they should be presumed to be Filipinos or natives of the place where she was found. It was also disclosed that genealogical tests will be conducted to compare her DNA with presumed relatives.
■ SET urged to act fast to nip confusion
IN HER petition filed July 10, 2005, with the Bureau of Immigration, for reacquisition of Philippine citizenship (which she had renounced in 2001), Poe said she was “a former natural-born” Filipino “born on Sept.3, 1968, at Iloilo City to Ronald Allan Kelly Poe xxx and Jesusa Sonora Poe”, both Filipinos.
The reacquisition law (RA 9225) applied is the Dual Citizenship Law whose intended beneficiaries are natural-born citizens. Will Poe face legal sanctions for her declarations in the petition with the BI which could turn out to be erroneous or incorrect?
Senate President Franklin M. Drilon, meanwhile, called on the SET to decide soonest the disqualification petition against Poe to erase any doubt about her being a natural-born citizen.
Drilon said in Tagalog: “An immediate resolution of this case will benefit everyone, but it will help the public the most, especially as they decide who to vote for next year. If remained unanswered, these questions on Poe’s citizenship would only confuse the voters.”
He said the SET can come out with a quick ruling, because Poe already admitted that: a) she is a foundling; b) in 2001 she was naturalized as a citizen of the United States; c) in 2006 she filed with the Bureau of Immigration a sworn petition to reacquire her Philippine citizenship; d) in 2010 she executed before a notary public in Pasig an “Affidavit of Renunciation of Allegiance to the United States of America and Renunciation of American Citizenship”; e) at no time after she executed the affidavit in 2010 did she ever use her US passport; f) in 2010 she assumed the position of chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board; g) in 2011 she executed before the Vice Consul at the US embassy in Manila an Oath/Affirmation of Renunciation of Nationality of the United States; and h) in October 2012 she filed her Certificate of Candidacy as senator.
“These are facts that can easily be stipulated by the parties involved,” Drilon said. “It is up to the tribunal to apply the provisions of the Constitution and the laws concerning citizenship.”
■ Poe leads poll, followed by Roxas, Binay
WHILE the disqualification case was being heard, Poe continued to lead in a survey of voters’ preference for president among the declared aspirants. Mar Roxas (Liberal Party) came in second, and Jojo Binay (United Nationalists Alliance) third.
In the latest Social Weather Stations survey results released Sunday, Poe’s rating surged to 47 percent, or five points higher than her second quarter score. Roxas in second place got 39 percent, an increase from his 21 percent in the previous survey.
Binay, who had started out on top of the heap, slid to third place with 35 percent, a mere one point increase from his 34 percent rating last June.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (PDP-Laban) was fourth with 16 percent, four points down from his 20 percent in the second quarter survey. But lately he has been saying he was no longer running.
If the points garnered by all the presumed candidates are added (47 + 39 + 35+ 16 +…), the total exceeds 100 percent. That is because the supposed 1,200 respondents in the Sept. 2-5 survey were reportedly asked to give not one but their top three preferences.
Poe was also the top choice for vice president with 25 percent, followed by Sen. Chiz Escudero (Independent) with 18 percent. Sen. Bongbong Marcos (Nacionalista Party) and Roxas both scored 6 percent, while Binay got 5 percent in the vice presidential preference polls.
Actually, many supposed surveys during this highly politicized season could be safely ignored as they could be just partisan or commercial efforts to bring in political donations and condition voters into favoring the candidates reported as leading in the preference surveys.