POSTSCRIPT / September 24, 2015 / Thursday


Opinion Columnist

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Who are Poe’s siblings chosen for DNA tests?

WHAT a mess Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares has gotten into by believing her sidekick Sen. Chiz Escudero that she was/is a shoo-in as Philippine president in 2016 (with him beside her as vice president).

With one foot already in the presidential ring, her fat financiers in tow, she suddenly has to stop in her tracks to take stock of her predicament.

Should she follow the 2016 election plan outlined by Escudero — and risk blasting open delicate family secrets? Is the presidency, still hazy in the horizon, enough reason to expose innocent people to public scrutiny?

The answer to whether or not Grace is a natural-born Filipino lies in the IDENTITY and CITIZENSHIP of her biological parents, or at least her father. Under the 1935 Constitution which was in effect at the time of her birth, the child follows the citizenship of at least the father.

The child could also take the citizenship of the mother if Filipino, but that would only be an option when the child reaches the age of majority – which does not make her natural-born as she has to do something to acquire or perfect her citizenship.

The correct answer to Grace’s citizenship question cannot be found outside the biological father, whatever Escudero and the expensive lawyers will tell poor Grace.

The other day, her camp was forced to say that they have started the process of DNA matching with Grace’s siblings. The targeted direct blood relatives were not identified.

Since her adoptive mother Susan Roces is childless, the possible siblings open to DNA matching are children of her adoptive father Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) or children of the man surnamed “Militar” who allegedly found the abandoned baby in Jaro on Sept. 3, 1968.

They could also be other children of whoever Grace may guess (or has been told) could be her biological father. In this search, Susan Roces could help Grace find her true father.

That is, if the family so badly wants or needs the presidency.

The unravelling could be quite tectonic, but as they say “nandiyan na yan!” (“it has come to this”) and Poe’s family might as well face it. Or they could rethink this political adventure to which they had been thrust.

Poe used US passport in her travels

IT HAS been reported that Poe continued to use from 2006 to 2011 her United States passport, after she had taken her oath of allegiance to the Philippine government, and her oath of renunciation of her US citizenship in 2010.

If true, this is significant in light of a recent Supreme Court decision saying that such use of a US passport by one who had reacquired Filipino citizenship is tantamount to a “recantation” of the oath of allegiance of a natural-born who had applied to reacquire his citizenship.

Poe lost her US citizenship only on Feb. 3, 2012, but she took her oath on Oct. 21, 2010, as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, when she was still an American.

She must have thought she had lost her US citizenship when she signed on Oct. 20, 2010, an affidavit before a Pasig notary public renouncing her US citizenship.

That affidavit had no legal effect, Under the US Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 as amended, Americans abroad can renounce their citizenship only before a US consul in the nearest US embassy.

In her sworn declaration at the embassy where she appeared before a consul to renounce her US allegiance and citizenship, Poe said she was using either her US or Philippine passport in her travels, but did not list the dates of her trips using her US passport.

So we checked airport records. We found out that Poe presented to Immigration her US passport No. 017037793 when she arrived from abroad last Nov. 15, 2009; Aug. 3, 2009; May 21, 2009; Oct. 5, 2008; May 8, 2008; Nov. 5, 2007; July 23, 2007; Nov. 4, 2006; July 5, 2006; Mar. 11, 2006; and Jan. 7, 2006; among other dates.

Related records showed that since Jan. 27, 2010, Poe has started to use in her foreign travel a new Philippine passport No. XX4731999, her official (as senator) passport No. DE0004530, and also another passport No. EC0588861.

Saguisag: Carpio has prejudged Poe case

HERE is another email from human rights lawyer and advocate Rene AV Saguisag on DNA and related points:

“I don’t think Justice TonyCarp should continue on the Senate Electoral Tribunal, having sadly and openly prejudged the case. I think he should have waited until all the arguments are in before concluding that Grace is naturalized, not natural-born, which Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion defined as ‘one born a citizen.’

“Naturalized from what other nationality? Naturalization implies a change in nationality. Or assumed two citizenships.

“Maybe TonyCarp is right as he often is. But, I think Grace should petition to recuse him. It seems to me his startling imprudent and egregious prejudgment allows him no wiggle room.

“Under the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights a foundling may be the weakest of minorities, deserving of ‘special care and assistance’ (UDHR, Art. 25) unable to lobby and vote. Not ‘special discrimination.’

“Being a ‘pulot’ or ‘ampon’ used to be a traditional vilification modern thought now looks askance at. The UDHR’s Art. 15 says: ‘Everyone has the right to a nationality.’

“Grace should not be denied that right. And nationality should attach at birth, not a day, week, month, year later, an unmanageable standard. When was she naturalized, assuming she needed to be?

“When will we stop vilifying foundlings? They have parents, if unknown. It seems to me to put the burden on Rizalito David in this seeming case of first impression is legally tenable, intellectually respectable and psychologically satisfying.”

* * *

AQUILA ASSEMBLY: The Aquila Legis fraternity of the Ateneo College of Law will hold its Grand National Assembly at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Manila Polo Club. Brods are enjoined by the Most Honorable Phraeses to attend. More information can be had from Brod Jimmie Policarpio through Aquila Global Viber.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of September 24, 2015)

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