Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday said he is willing to undergo a DNA test if it would help Sen. Grace Poe find her biological relatives.
Marcos made the statement after Poe revealed in radio interview on Tuesday that DNA tests done on individuals believed to be her biological relatives did not match.
“I don’t see how will that help her but if that will, why not?” Marcos told reporters during the weekly Kapihan sa Senado news forum.
DNA testing was conducted in a bid to overturn allegations that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino. Poe’s citizenship qualification was questioned before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Commission on Elections.
The test results were meant to be initially presented to the electoral tribunal, which is hearing a disqualification case filed by radio commentator Rizalito David.
Poe, 47, was found abandoned inside the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral in Iloilo province in central Philippines and was eventually adopted by the actor Fernando Poe Jr. and his actress wife, Susan Roces.
There were rumors that the senator was the child of the late President Ferdinand Marcos from an alleged affair with her aunt, former teen actress Rosemarie Sonora. Sonora is the younger sister of Susan Roces.
Both Poe and Marcos have denied the rumors.
Marcos said he is willing undergo such test because he is confident it will not prove anything in relation to Poe’s biological parents and will just prove that he is the son of the former president and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos.
“Anong makikita sa DNA test? Na anak ako ng tatay ko at nanay ko [What are we expecting to see in the DNA test? That I’m the son of my father and mother]?” he said.
When asked what he would do if it turned out that Poe was his half-sister, Marcos replied, “Welcome to the family.”
According to Poe, she appreciates her fellow senator’s gesture and that she is very thankful to him but she does not want Marcos to be involved in the issue.
“Although it is just a gossip and we joked about it, there are people that are getting hurt [by the issue]like my cousin,” she said, referring to actress Sheryl Cruz (Rosemarie Sonora’s daughter) who recently expressed her disappointment over Poe’s decision to run for higher office.
Poe said she is considering taking a second set of DNA tests with another probably biological relative.
“It’s just like getting a second opinion, you can always get a second opinion. So we’re open to having a retest,” she told reporters at the Quezon City Sports Club where a program formalizing her endorsement by the Makabayan bloc was held.
“There is another person that we are considering but I don’t want to expound on it,” she said.
Poe argued that the negative results of her DNA tests do not mean that she has lost in the disqualification cases filed against her.
Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Mayor Rex Gatchalian, the spokesman for the Poe camp, said they remain confident that the senator would be able to prove her citizenship.
“Sen. Grace Poe is a natural-born Filipino and that’s what the law provides. Her citizenship is not anchored on the result of a DNA test. The DNA test was just an additional information that we volunteered to submit,” he added.
“We’re confident that our position would be sustained by the good tribunal because the law is on her side,” Gatchalian said in a media forum also on Thursday.
He claimed that Poe’s citizenship can be established by using the 1935 Constitution, which was in force when she was born in 1968. Gatchalian said that according to the 1935 Constitution, a foundling is considered a natural-born Filipino if he or she was found in the Philippines.
Renouncing US citizenship
Gatchalian, moreover, confirmed that Poe’s husband, Neil Llamanzares, is now taking “concrete and proactive steps” to renounce his American citizenship.
He said Llamanzares is a natural-born Filipino because he was born to two Filipino parents although he was physically born in the United States.
“Their physical presence in the country is an affirmation that the Philippines is their country. Critics are making it an issue against Sen. Poe, that’s why her husband decided to once and for all renounce his US citizenship. We all know that American laws are complicated, that’s why he has started to collate all the documents needed to facilitate that,” Gatchalian added in Filipino.