Sen. Grace Poe will not enjoy a smooth ride even if she succeeds in her quest for the presidency, a congressman said on Wednesday.
Poe, 47, is running as an independent candidate for President and is leading all pre-election surveys for President and Vice President.
Dasmariñas City (Cavite) Rep. Elpidio Barzaga said the citizenship issue will be a chip on Poe’s shoulder as she likened her situation to that of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was hounded by the “Hello Garci” controversy throughout her term.
The controversy, which nearly led to Arroyo’s ouster from power, involves the leak of wire-tapped telephone conversations between a woman believed to be Arroyo and former poll commissioner Virgilio Garcillano where they allegedly discussed electoral fraud against then-opposition candidate and Poe’s adoptive father, Fernando Poe Jr.
The younger Poe is facing multiple disqualification cases before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) assailing the status of her citizenship.
Petitioners argued that as a foundling with no known biological parents, she could not be considered a natural-born citizen–a constitutional requirement for those aspiring for President, Vice President and senator.
“Questions on her natural born-citizenship will always be an issue. Her opponents will always take advantage of that and would always say she is an illegitimate President, assuming that the Supreme Court eventually decides in her favor,” Barzaga said.
“It will be very hard to govern in such a situation. We politicians have built-in opponents, and her opponents can always question the legitimacy of her presidency; arguing that the[electoral tribunal]and the Supreme Court went for a sentimental decision,” he added.
Last week, the tribunal narrowly voted to dismiss Poe’s disqualification case.
Radio commentator Rizalito David, the petitioner, has appealed the ruling.
But for political analyst Mon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, the entry of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is the one that would tilt the votes more than the disqualification cases lodged against Poe.
“It’s bad for other candidates but immediately it’s a problem for [Liberal Party [LP] presidential candidate [Manuel Roxas 2nd ] since he’s the nearest to Duterte in ratings. Poe’s problem is not being affected by Duterte’s running but he will get votes from her,” Casiple said in a text message.
Roxas is the standard-bearer of the ruling LP.
“As for Grace, it would still depend on the results of the other disqualification cases [filed]against her and if the Supreme Court will issue a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) [on the decisions],” Casiple said.