• Grace Poe grabs at straws to stay alive


    IN defeat and disappointment, every party to a dispute grabs any straw, no matter how limp, in order to keep alive its hopes of victory.

    Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares is in such a position now with respect to her  fading  candidacy.
    Her straws are:

    1. The “let the people decide” argument or “Vox populi vox dei” nostrum;

    2. Her  presidential rivals have conspired  to disqualify  her from the presidential race, by
    filing multiple DQ cases against her; and

    3. The 2004 disqualification case against  her adoptive father, Fernando Poe Jr, wherein the Supreme Court ruled that he was eligible to run for president in the 2004 election because he was a natural born citizen of the Philippines.

    Alas, everyone of these straws is too limp to sustain her candidacy. They cannot stand up either in a court of law or in the court of public opinion.

    In understanding these issues, I have been greatly helped by the opinion of others. I will turn to them here.

    Let the people decide

    Reader Jose Oliveros, who is most likely a lawyer, has sent me several reactions to my columns that shed much light  on the “let the people decide” argument.

    He informs me that the principal proponent of this argument is former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, who has been everywhere and has used his column in the Inquirer, to plead the case for Ms. Poe.
    Oliveros wrote:

    “Former Chief Justice Panganiban has the penchant for citing his ponencia in the 1996 Frivaldo case that on questions of qualification of a candidate, let the people decide. But in 2008, the Supreme Court, in an en banc decision, debunked that position in the following words:

    “Petitioner also makes much of the fact that he received the highest number of votes for the position of Vice Mayor of Catarman during the 2007 local elections. The fact that a candidate, who must comply with the election requirements applicable to dual citizens and failed to do so, received the highest number of votes for an elective position does not dispense with, or amount to a waiver of, such requirement. The will of the people as expressed through the ballot cannot cure the vice of ineligibility, especially if they mistakenly believed that the candidate was qualified. The rules on citizenship qualifications of a candidate must be strictly applied. If a person seeks to serve the Republic of the Philippines, he must owe his loyalty to this country only, abjuring and renouncing all fealty and fidelity to any other state. The application of the constitutional and statutory provisions on disqualification is not a matter of popularity….

    “In his dissenting opinion in the 2004 FPJ citizenship case, then Associate Justice Tinga characterized the “let the people decide” mentality as a “malaise, whether caused by academic sloth, intellectual cowardice or judicial amnesia which has unfortunately plagued this Court. (Here, Tinga cited the 1996 case of Frivaldo v Comelec). Continuing, Tinga said: “It is an easy cop-out that overlooks the fact that the Constitution is itself an expression of the sovereign will. The Filipino people, by ratifying the Constitution, elected to be bound by it, to be ruled by a fundamental law and not by a hooting throng.”
    Oliveros  buries  here the entire “let the people decide” argument.

    The conspiracy of rivals

    Ms. Poe has charged that her rivals for the presidency have conspired, individually or together, to effect her disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
    She has named LP standard bearer Mar Roxas and UNA standard bearer Jejomar Binay as the principal conspirators.

    This brands everyone who filed a DQ case against her a co-conspirators.
    She offers no proof about this conspiracy, just as she has no proof  that she is a natural-born citizen.

    The FPJ disqualification case

    This is a tenuous extension of what my wife calls Ms. Poe’s “awa” strategy. She is so kawawa, the people should rally to her side.

    This straw will only impel people to read closely the Supreme Court   decision on FPJ’s  case.

    People will discover, as I did, that  (1) the high court ruled for FPJ because in fact, he was a natural-born Filipino citizen, which Ms. Poe is not; and  (2) that there are  dissenting opinions in that decision which are highly instructive on the surpassing importance of citizenship to this nation.

    I was impressed especially by the dissenting opinion of then associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, who is now Ombudsman of the republic.

    In one passage of her dissent from the majority ruling, Morales wrote:

    “Citizenship is a political status denoting membership, more or less permanent in character, in a political society and implying the duty of allegiance on the part of the member and a duty of protection on the part of society.

    “Thus, a citizen is one who, by birth, naturalization, or otherwise, is a member of a political community, and as such is subject to its laws and entitled to its protection in all his rights incident to that relation. Derived from the Latin word cives, the term citizen conveys the idea of connection or identification with the state or government and participation in its function. It denotes possession within that particular political community of full civil and political rights subject to special disqualifications such as minority.

    “It is a recognized rule that each state, in the exercise of its sovereign power, is free to determine who its citizens are, but not who the citizens of other states are:

    “Citizenship is essential not only for the exercise of political rights and the right to hold public office, but for the exercise of a number of important economic privileges which the Constitution reserves exclusively to Philippine citizens as well….

    “These nationalist provisions make the question of citizenship of even greater importance and deserving of the most serious consideration. Thus, it has been said that [to]those who are citizens by birth it is a precious heritage, while to those who acquire it thru naturalization it is a priceless acquisition.”

    Bravo, Ombudsman and Justice Morales.

    Your words remind me of a line from the philosopher-critic Susan Sontag: “The only interesting answer is that which destroys the question.”



    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. by not looking at the precepts of the law, we become law breakers, and by voting a president because of AWA we are committing the same mistake we have made six years ago, and we will suffer because of that for the next six years to come.

    2. In my opinion Grace Poe is very weak in making tough decisions . Look how she respond to the Iglesia ni Kristo uprising and so are the rest of the candidates except Mar Roxas. Poe is so scared to lose the INC votes that she is accusing De Lima. I will not vote for Poe and so are the catholic voters.

    3. Rolando Nolasco on

      Grace Poe got greedy and ambitious with her topping the senatorial candidates. She wants to think she can be president by using FPJ’s name and have a clout over her supporters without succumbing to pressures when she comes to power. Even her cousin Sheryl knows she is just too anxious to be called Madam President when she is not ready at all to prove her worth. To her, the presidency is about popularity contest.

    4. cesar g. villegas on

      The best service the Llmanzares candidcy. did to the country is make the people aware the provision of the Philippine Constitution regarding the qualification of a candidate for President. The debate on her qualification has enlightened the minds of many Filipinos who take for granted the great country that the Philippines is. It also exposed the political cancer and corrupt politicians that ruled the nation from the time of Marcos to the present. Now people know that corruption started in Malacanang and trickle down to the Barangay level down to the Kabata-an Barangay, Any future leader who captures the imagination of the people and lucky to be elected President will know how to reform the nation. This is legacy of Poe political adventure. It opened the Pandora’s box of massive corruption of our “beloved” former and present Presidents.

    5. If Grace is a true honest person and would like to continue to serve our country , She should wait and finish her senate term to garner experience plus correct her citizenship status. Then she can decide to run for higher office.

    6. Ms. Llamanzares Poe was “inebriated” by the fact that she was No. 1 (kuno) when she ran for senator, She apparently thinks that, that one ‘achievement’ means she is qualified to run the country as President, despite knowing pretty well that she won by the popular name of her adoptive father. She should see the person facing her in front of the mirror. How ambitious can she be?

      One doesn’t have to be a lawyer to understand why she was not qualified to run for senator and, much less, for president. She is just exposing her naivite’ about how important the strict interpretation of the fundamental law of the land. All her arguments are untenable and implies taking the Philippine Constitution requirements for granted. They will redound to the erosion of faith in the constitution. Her question why her birth status and residency were not brought out when she ran for senator is quite obvious; the position of president could mean the ‘decay or survival of the republic’; and, as a senator, she has a lot less power. Besides, she can even be a “yes or no person” of the president, as what is going now with the current composition of the senate.

      Ms. Poe will do a great service to the country and people if she ceases and desists to run for president. By then, she will even ‘regain’ the respect of many.

    7. she is one of those that given the one chance, will jumps from zero to ten, does she even know the pledge of allegiance to the Philippine flag. She really looks confused.

    8. I suggest that Grace Poe just face the realities of her situation now. She is to be blamed for her action. It seems that everytime some says she has to be disqualified, she starts to blame others even her opponents. Just be courageous enough to admit that you made the mistake in your previous declaration with the Comelec. There is not such thing as an honest mistake. Mistake is mistake. It was your mistake when you filled out the comelec applications when you run for the Senate. Blame your self not others. Be honest and don’t go around blaming others.

    9. yolanda v. encarnacion on

      I agree what Mr. Macabenta have written. For me, the citizenship and the residency does not matter at all because the legal issues are now being addressed, but, I would like Senator Grace to reexamine herself if she is indeed qualified to be elected as president. She should not point fingers at her opponents. When you commit honest mistakes as her lawyer have said, how many more honest mistakes she will commit once president. This is notwithstanding the fact that her 2 birth certificates were different from one another and that is FORGERY. And for Ms Susan to sign the birth certificate that her adoptive daughter is indeed her’s and FPJ’s natural daughter is PERJURY for it is common knowledge that she was not able to give birth in all the time she is married to FPJ, So I ask who is engaging in CONSPIRACY? People must discern carefully so as not to commit an honest mistake!!!!!!

    10. Foundlings, of whatever race or color, found in the Philippines have the right to be presumed natural-born Filipino citizens. More so if one is adopted by Filipino parents because in such a case (based on jurisprudence) the foundling inherits the citizenship of the parents without the foundling having to perform any act to perfect its citizenship. The only exemptions to this case is when the foundling is proven to have or have acquired foreign citizenship. There is no existing law in regard to the citizenship of foundlings. It is therefore incumbent upon any court to apply the spirit of the law in the case of foundlings,namely; that justice, common sense and the right of the child should be the governing factor. This should apply to all foundlings!

    11. As attributed to Atty. Elemparo, GPL should stick to the issues.
      No squid tactics, no beclouding inadequacies by appealing to pity.
      Enough drama. And showbiz flair.
      Its not about foundlings ( which she is not legally either ), its the rule of
      law. Dura Lex Sed Lex.
      Aside from lies in her affidavit, her second birth cert, CoC,actual residency,
      her reaquisition of citizenship should weigh in a lot.

    12. Grace Poe is very ambitious and has become a Traditional Politician. She knows the Rule of Law will be against her but she is still very persistent to stay because her influential rich backers with vested interests are convincing her to fight for a lost cause. She might mean good for the Philippines but in my honest opinion, she is NOT qualified to be a leader of the Philippines. She is very inexperienced and weak and relying mainly on Chiz Escudero who is also very ambitious with vested interest of his own. Sorry to say but ” ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES AS USUAL “. Thanks

    13. Ex-Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban is so hooked up and inspired to apply the maxim of “Vox Populi est Suprema Est Lex” ( voice of the people is the supreme law) which Panganiban relied upon in the installing Gloria Arroyo to the Presidency following the EDSA 2 revolution overthrowing Estrada ( the plunderer) from the Presidential seat. Panganiban anchored her argument justifying Arroyo’s ascendancy to the Presidential throne based on the people’s popular revolt throwing and driving Estrada out of Malacanan. The revolt (to me a mob rule) then was the “voice of the people” that justify the I installation of Arroyo in Malacanan by swearing her before the tandem of Davide and Panganiban. The reward of Panganiban for his ponente and backing up Arroyo was realized when he appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
      It must be recalled with legal significance that Estrada left Malacanan without resigning as President so that the swearing in was unconstitutional for Estrada did not die, resign, or was physically incapacitated to prevent performance of his presidential duties. The fact that most of his department head/cabinet members quit did not necessarily paralyzed the government since the undersecretaries could have autmatically took over anf have the government function with those cabinet members who quit could have been arrested for ” criminal abandonment of post/function”! It was just out of fear that Estrada left Malacan upon advice of Edgardo Angara, then Executive Secretary, to avert bloodshed confrontation with the Estrada loyalists and the military/police under Lacson and Angelo Reyes. Well, Estrada’s cowardice cost him his Presidential perch and popularity as a fighting movie hero like Asiong Salonga. Estrada blinked and turned his tail between his hind legs like a scared dog!

      • Indeed, it was so stupid for Joseph to leave Malacanang at that time. Sino pa maniwala na matapang na lalaki yan at may prinsipyo?

    14. I consider Ms. Poe a naturalized Filipino citizen since she had renounced her citizenship before and only reacquired it. But She wants to run and circumvent the law ; if Filipinos will vote for her to be our President then we can not but accept the
      fact that Filipinos do not care about the law and would not mind to have a leader who has no shame of circumventing it. The sad fact of Filipinos’ life we can easily be played with and taken advantage of Filipino like her. and we have no one to blame but the Filipinos who believe and will vote for her. Unfortunately we are all going to suffer with their vote.

    15. Also, in addition to that Llamanzares keeps on mentioning FPJ in her campaign sorties. Question? What legacy did FPJ have to be the main platform of programs by Llamanzares? What had FPJ done to the Filipino to keep on mentioning his name? Is it obvious that Llamanzares has no programs but to just use FPJ to become President? FPJ had done NOTHING to the country except to make movies. llamanzares should back out from the race. She is not qualified. Her experience: 2 years senator because she used the name Poe and pre-school nanny.

    16. “The “let the people decide” argument” of Llmanzares is bullshit. Does Llamanzares mean that anybody who is popular (although not qualified) like the actors and actresses and non-citizen of the country when elected is legally binding? Llamanzares and Escudero are in “panic” mode blaming others for the DQ cases filed against her which are in legality correct. Why blame others when in the first place, you do not meet some of the requirements to be a candidate. With her too much ambitious attitude Llamanzares will never prevail and better for her to go back to the U.S. to get back her pre-school nanny job. Don’t also be surprise if Escudero after the disqualification of Llamanzares) will be joining the team of Binay as substitute for Honasan. That’s how Esudero is – no principle of whatsoever – mapasamantala at ambisyoso..

      • I fully agree with your assessment and opinion that Grace Poe is not qualified to be President for not meeting the basic requirement of the constitution. It does not matter how popular she may be because we do not apply the law of the land based on popularity. Otherwise, we will all be looking stupid as filipinos. Let the law of the land decide her fate and not what the peoples’ will is.