Never mind the issues surrounding her citizenship and residency status, what Filipino voters need to worry about is whether Senator Grace Poe is fit to lead the Philippines or not. It’s actually mind-boggling how her detractors are focusing too much on the technicalities of her qualifications to run for the Presidential election in 2016 considering she hasn’t actually announced she is running or at least filed for her certificate of candidacy for the Presidency.Having said that, it’s hard to blame Poe’s rival in the surveys for digging up her “past” to try and knock her down the ratings game for the meantime. After all, it’s hard to make star-struck voters look past Poe’s celebrity status so one might as well exercise due diligence and deduct some brownie points according to the rules. Vice President Jejomar Binay denies he had anything to do with it but Poe believes that the Veep has released his hound, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president, Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco to go after her because he is “scared” of Poe’s popularity.
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Tiangco has revealed that Poe is not qualified to run for the Presidency in 2016 due to her residency in the country being less than 10 years – the minimum amount of time required to qualify for the highest post in government as per the Philippine Constitution. In her defense, Poe said she made a mistake in her certificate of candidacy application form for the senatorial race back in 2013 when she wrote down she had been a resident of the Philippines for six years and six months only.
Poe claimed “she had a wrong appreciation of the questions resulting in her wrong answer” and now insists that she had been in the Philippines since 2005 but indicated 2006 in the form instead because that’s when her house in the United States was sold. Okay. Let’s file that under “Things that make you go hmmm…”
If you think about it, if Poe cannot even fill out a simple form like a certificate of candidacy accurately, how can the voters expect her to run the country properly? This is something the public should consider seriously. Poe’s statements don’t help her case either. A number of people who used to look up to her are slowly getting turned off with the way she acts like a traditional politician. She brushes off questions about her residency and citizenship status as if the constitutional requirement to qualify for the Presidency is not that important as long as she says she has been “honest”.
Unfortunately for Poe, some legal experts have now dug deeper than Tiangco and pointed out that Poe’s residency in the Philippines started only when she renounced her US citizenship in 2010 “after being offered the chairmanship of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) after President Aquino assumed office.” Here is what former University of the East (UE) College of Law Dean Amado Valdez had to say about it:
Poe’s chances of joining the Presidential Election in 2016 are not looking good, indeed. It’s quite baffling why she would want to join the fray in the first place. She doesn’t seem to be cut out for the ugly world of politics. She said she was “hurt” by the Binay camp’s move since Binay was her late father, actor Fernando Poe Jr.’s friend. If she is easily hurt, why would she subject her young children and husband to the demolition job employed by her rivals particularly since her rivals do not have any qualms about going below the belt – bringing up sensitive issues such as the fact that she was adopted and questioning who her real parents are? Is she that confident that she will win the election?
Based on his reckoning, Poe-Llamanzares would be lacking at least four years in the residency requirement if she would decide to run in the May 9, 2016 presidential elections and not six months as bared by Tiangco in his press briefing last Tuesday. “When she acquired her American citizenship, it was indicative of her intent to abandon her former domicile,” said Valdez, who also sits as the chairman emeritus of the Association of Philippine Law Schools (APLS).
Contrary to her claim that she was really a resident of the Philippines for over 10 years now, Valdez said “initial evidence shows preponderance of evidence that she had the intention to remain in the United States, and therefore her residence and her domicile were in the United States.”
“The beef here is where you place the timeline when the renunciation was made,” said Valdez.
Putting her residency and citizenship issues aside, why did Poe even think she would be fit to be Philippine President to begin with? Does she have a plan for how to transform the Philippines from Third World to First World? How is she going to solve the problems plaguing the nation? She’s only been a senator for two years and has not accomplished anything significant in that short time. Some people think that her popularity has gotten into her head since the survey shows that she is second choice to Binay in the ratings for the Presidency.
One thing is for sure, Poe’s honesty – a quality she says she possesses, is in doubt. This is something her late father FPJ cannot help her with. While the Filipino public may not be interested in what type of leader she will be, the so-called patriots may want to know where her allegiance lies – is it with the Philippines or her adoptive country, the United States?
In life, things are not always what they seem.