While reading my collegue Kit Tatad’s column yesterday on Sen.Grace Poe and her presentation of two birth certificates to the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), it dawned on me that the senator is doing a Noynoy Aquino: she is presenting “alternative versions” of her birth to prove that she is qualified to remain in the Senate, and to run for president or vice-president in next year’s elections.
She is too ambitious and self-absorbed to realize it, but what she is doing is falsifying her life and her political career. These alternative versions of the circumstances of her birth are headed for the same fate as President Aquino’s ill-fated and now regretted alternative version of the Mamasapano incident.
Ms. Poe will also fool no one, beginning with the Senate Electoral Tribunal. When the citizenship challenge moves to the Commission on Elections, if she insists on running for president or vice president, and eventually to the Supreme Court, if she is not stopped sooner, she will also fool no one there.
The entire panoply of her political career will collapse on itself. And I as political analyst, will be thankful for being spared from probing further this unworthy subject for political analysis.
Two spurious birth certificates
In Kit’s recounting of the facts, Ms. Poe submitted to the SET preliminary conference at the Supreme Court last Friday (Sept. 11) on the disqualification case filed against Poe by petitioner Rizalito David, “ two certificates of live birth, in an effort to show that she is a natural-born Filipino.”
The first certificate of live birth, dated Nov. 27, 1968, shows that Mary Grace was born a foundling, and found in the parish church of Jaro, Iloilo on Sept. 3, 1968 at 9:30 am by Edgardo Militar who later put her in the custody of Emiliano Militar of Sta Isabel Street, Jaro. But the typewritten document contains so many handwritten alterations, which render it void and worthless. It identifies the child as Mary Grace Natividad Contreras Militar, without indicating how she got her surname “Contreras Militar,” but this name is bracketed (as if for deletion) and on top of it is written “Sonora Poe.”
Its most fatal flaw, says Tatad, “is a handwritten note of seven short lines on its upper right hand saying the child was “adopted by the spouses Ronald Allan Poe and Jesusa Sonora Poe as per Court Order, Municipal Court, San Juan, Rizal, by Judge Alfredo Gorgonio dated May 13, 1974, under Special Proclamation No. 138.” The order itself is legally questionable because adoption cases normally belong to the jurisdiction of the regional trial court, rather than to the municipal court. But the more important issue is, how did a legal document dated Nov. 27, 1968 manage to take cognizance of an adoption decision, which purportedly took place six years later?
The second certificate of live birth is no less invalid than the first. Dated May 4, 2006, or 38 years after Mrs. Llamanzares was born, it was executed by Mrs. Jesusa Sonora Poe, her adoptive mother, who identifies the child no longer as Mary Grace Natividad Militar but rather as Mary Grace Sonora Poe, allegedly born to herself (Jesusa) and to her husband Ronald Allan Poe in Jaro, Iloilo City on Sept. 3, 1968, several months before they were married on Dec. 25, 1968 in Valenzuela, Bulacan.
“No medical or legal evidence exists,” says Tatad, “to show that Mrs. Poe ever conceived and delivered a child during her marriage to the famous actor Fernando Poe, Jr. who died on Dec. 13, 2004.”
Alternative parents, names, identities
In presenting alternative birth certificates, Ms. Poe in effect is declaring that she has alternative parents, alternative names, and even alternative identities.
She appears totally determined to exploit to the hilt her connection (by blood or adoption) to the late Fernando Poe Jr. and even to the mythical characters he played in films.
Ms. Poe is deaf to any advice or criticism that seeks to dissuade her from falsifying her origins and her credentials for high office.
She is one of those people who are totally consumed by political ambition and dreams of glory. There are plenty of these in both politics and show business, and Grace Poe freely traffics between the two worlds, one real and the other make-believe.
The junior senator believes that show business and friendly media can sell anyone to the Filipino public, no matter how false or empty the merchandise.
The catastrophe of ambition
The great playwright Tennessee Williams wrote a great and penetrating essay about his quick and easy rise to success as a writer, which he entitled “the Catastrophe of Success.”
In his essay, Williams wrote that success can be harmful and disastrous, if it comes too easily, if you are immediately showered with fame and fortune, and fawned upon. If you have no time to learn some wisdom from struggle and failure.
Williams, after his dizzying success, retreated into drink and succumbed to a nervous breakdown. He fled to Mexico and eventually fell dead, possibly by suicide.
Grace Poe’s quizzical place in our public life calls Williams to mind. If I mention his essay, it is to suggest that she will benefit from reading it.
Ms. Poe, I submit, could be acting out the catastrophe of ambition.
She is aspiring for too much, too soon. She has been led to believe by her financial backers and advisers that she is ready for even the presidency.
She has committed the deadly error of believing in her own publicity. And she plays our people for fools in thinking that they will accept any nonsense from her.
This is all a delusion. Like a mirage, she will flame out much faster than she knows.
When Sen. Serge Osmeña, her onetime adviser, declared that her planned announcement of her candidacy is a non-event, he was saying that Grace Poe, the phenom, has already flamed out.