The disqualification case filed against Sen. Grace Poe that questions her citizenship is artificial and politically motivated, Rep. Jaye Lacson-Noel of Malabon City said on Tuesday.
Noel noted that Poe’s critics did not question her eligibility when she ran for senator in 2013.
“Sen. Grace Poe’s political opponents are concerned about winning, not leading. If these people were really concerned about the country, then they would focus on the real problems of our countrymen: high prices and jobs,” Noel, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, said.
Rizalito David, who also ran for senator in 2013 but lost, filed a disqualification complaint against Poe at the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), claiming that the senator is not a natural-born Filipino because she was a foundling adopted by celebrity couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.
Being a natural-born Filipino citizen is a requirement for those seeking the presidency.
During the first hearing of Poe’s disqualification case, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the SET chairman, said that Poe is a naturalized Filipino, not a natural-born since the assumption that foundlings will take the natural-born citizenship of the country where they were found is only provided under international laws, not in the Philippine Constitution.
But Noel said that if David is after the truth and integrity in office, the disqualification case against Poe should have been filed after she topped the Senate race in 2013 with 20 million votes.
“Camps are more focused on getting the presidential race frontrunner disqualified rather than figuring out how to improve the lives of our citizens. The citizenship issues of Poe are artificial as these were only brought up now that she is the frontrunner in presidential polls,” the lawmaker pointed out.
Poe has maintained that she is a natural-born Filipino.
Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe earlier argued that Poe’s assumed natural-born Filipino citizenship should not be questioned because while it is not explicit about it, the 1987 Constitution intends to deem foundlings such as Poe natural-born.
“We should go by the spirit and intent of the Constitution. The bedrock of the Constitution is working for humanity and justice, with the aid of God. Our Constitution will be committing an injustice if it would assume that foundlings are naturalized just because a child is abandoned or left in the trash [by their biological parents],” Batocabe, a lawyer, said.
“For one, how can a baby arrive at the church all by herself? The baby could not have come out of nowhere or from heaven. Would that baby be able to swim from the Pacific Ocean and reach our shores? A baby found here in our country would always come from his or her mother’s womb, and in the absence of Senator Grace’s parents and their whereabouts, it should be presumed that she came from the womb of her mother who is a natural born Filipino,” he pointed out.