This is the biggest indignity and shame that Grace Poe will inflict on the Filipino people and the Filipino nation, if she persists in running for president and if, by a supreme act of hocus-pocus, she wins.
She will be enshrined in history as the first alien (non-citizen) to serve as chief executive and commander in chief of the armed forces of our republic. (See qualifier below.)
Filipinos of this day and age must hang down their heads in shame for permitting this perversity to happen.
In addition to the other humbling distinctions that the Philippines has endured under President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd (worst airport in the world, worst traffic, worst impunity record for killing of journalists, etc.), this will be the most humiliating of all. I can already hear the derisive laughter of the Chinese and the Malaysians.
Why victimize the Philippines?
Other countries have their alien residents also, but it is only here in Philippines our Philippines where aliens have the impudence to run for high public office, and are tolerated for doing so.
Because of this vexing situation, I thought long and hard about filing my own disqualification case against Ms. Grace Poe Llamanzares before the Commission on Elections. But when I learned that it will cost me P10,000 to file suit and will require the services of a lawyer, I thought against it.
I dismissed the idea of piggy-backing on the suits of others, like my colleague Sen. Kit Tatad, because the whole point of filing a disqualification case is really to protest the shabby treatment of our people and our country by Ms. Poe. You can’t clean up shabby with shabby.
Dividends from alien-in-chief
Given their tendency to employ desperate arguments, the lawyers and defenders of Grace Poe would probably argue that there are immediate dividends to be realized from electing an alien (an American) to the highest office of the land.
With an American alien-in-chief, we can drop the pretense of being independent from the United States of America. US military basing rights can be restored without need of a constitutional amendment. American CIA operatives who double as diplomats will no longer have to operate covertly.
The US government can be induced to budget sums every year for the support of our republic, like the huge sums it gives Israel and Egypt annually.
With an alien-in-chief, the Philippines will no longer need to have a foreign policy, since a foreigner is in charge.
We can safely allow China to have her way in the South China Sea. No more need to worry about the blow to national pride.
Since under President Aquino, we place no importance on United Nations rulings and processes, we can quietly declare our lack of interest in sitting as an independent member of the United Nations General Assembly.
Not the first alien to govern us
Strictly speaking, say my history and political science colleagues, if we elect Grace Poe to the presidency, she will not be the first alien to reign or rule over our public life. Or the first to bring an alien household to Malacañang. The Spanish governor-generals and American governor-generals could be construed as aliens-in- chief of the Philippines in their own right, because they wielded the highest authority in the archipelago during their time.
The punctilious Japanese, during their occupation of the islands, did not designate one of their own to govern us; they created a puppet republic and a puppet president. (The first Benigno Aquino applied, but was by-passed in favor of Jose P. laurel.)
Why citizenship matters
Beginning with the ancient Greeks, citizenship has meant membership in one’s community.
In fact, the Greeks did not conceive of the individual as a complete person. The complete person was the public person, the citizen; non-citizens and private persons were referred to as idiotes. Participation in public affairs was virtually the definition of citizenship.
To stigmatize aliens meddling in our public life, we should apply the Greek term “Idiotes” to them. Maybe then a clod like Sen. Tito Sotto and other Poe devotees will finally come to their senses.
Stigmatization could strengthen the character of Grace Poe as she reflects on life as an outsider and a con artist.
Ms Poe invites harsh judgments for insisting on inserting herself into our presidential election next year.
Character has become an issue in her case. The words most often heard to describe Grace are “disloyal,” “liar,” “untrustworthy” and “dishonest.” How can we entrust our presidency to such a character?
Those are not words that a candidate would normally want to come to the minds of voters when they hear the candidate’s name. Our culture of forgiveness should not include aliens who con us in the way Grace is doing.
A matter of law, not politics
Grace Poe’s emerging defense against the multiple disqualification cases against her has been to say:
“My citizenship is a political question. The people should be the judge.”
This is democratic heresy of the worst kind – one that impugns several centuries of jurisprudence. Grace Poe’s citizenship and residency are a matter of law, not politics. This must be emphasized for those senators who are members of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET). The lawyers on their staffs must advise them on the law.
This is why the disqualification cases should be brought to the Supreme Court before the May elections, so the high court can resolve them. It should emphatically rule that this is a matter of law, not politics.
The Philippine Constitution emphatically rejects any possibility of an alien or foreigner serving as chief executive and commander in chief in the Philippines.
In article VII, Section 2, it states explicitly: “No person may be elected president unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.”
This is where Ms. Poe’s presidential candidacy and senatorial stint should end. Adios, gringo.