• Grace Poe runs the gauntlet for her fantasy


    Reading from the media accounts of the oral arguments last Tuesday at the Supreme Court on the Comelec disqualification cases of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares, I had a vision of Ms. Poe as a politician who is running the gauntlet in her obsession to become president of our republic.

    “Running the gauntlet” is an idiom that entered the English language in 1676 according to the Oxford English Dictionary.

    The expression was a corrupted form of the Swedish word gatlopp, which was adopted into English with the meaning “military punishment in which the offender runs between rows of men who beat him in passing.”

    Over time, “To run the gauntlet” evolved to mean, “to run past a row of people who are trying to hurt you.” It can be used either literally or figuratively.

    In modern English, It has increasingly been used to describe politicians who run for president, because they must run a gauntlet of primaries, debates, and media criticism to attain the prize.

    At Tuesday’s oral arguments at the high court, the image of Ms. Poe running the gauntlet is most fitting, because what she and her hapless lawyer went through under questioning from the 13 justices present looked positively withering.

    Should her ambition survive this scrutiny intact, then we may say that she deserves a shot at the presidency. Not since Macbeth have we seen ambition as overweening and obsessive as this.

    A compelling drama

    The drama last Tuesday was compelling.

    Ms. Poe, accompanied by her adoptive mother, Susan Roces, personally witnessed the oral arguments.

    Only 13 justices were on hand because Justice Arturo Brion was on leave and Justice Martin Villarama Jr. retired last Friday.

    Before the en banc session started, Poe expressed confidence that the law would side with her and with all abandoned Filipino children.

    She declared that foundlings like her should be considered natural-born Filipinos.
    When the justices commenced their questioning, the image of running the gauntlet firmly took hold. Six justices took turns in questioning Alex Poblador, Ms. Poe’s lawyer. And there is promise of more questioning by other justices on Tuesday, when the orals resume.

    I take the time to reconstruct some of the questioning here because they draw for us the eye of the needle that Ms. Poe must pass through. They show how seriously our justices have studied her case. They assure us that they take their duties to the nation and the Constitution as a mandate that they must discharge.

    Justices’ key questions and points

    Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo led the way by asking Poblador if Poe used her US passport in 2011.

    Poblador told the court that Poe’s dual citizenship allows her to continue using her American passport. Poe’s camp had admitted that the last time the senator used her US passport was on March 9, 2010.

    Del Castillo also asked Poblador about the error Poe made in her certificate of candidacy wherein she stated that she resided in the Philippines for 6 years and 6 months. Poblador said it was an honest mistake and there was no intent to deceive the public.

    Del Castillo also stated pointedly that a dual citizen cannot be president of the Philippines.
    Ms. Poe quietly slipped out of the session hall before Associate Justice Antonio Carpio started grilling Poblador.

    Carpio took Poblador to task for citing the proceedings of the 1934 Constitution.
    The magistrate said Poe’s camp failed to quote completely deliberations between Constitutional Convention delegates Nicolas Rafols, Ruperto Montinola and Manuel Roxas pertaining to inclusion of foundlings as a class of persons considered as Philippine citizens.

    “You were saying that Mr. Rafols proposed that children of unknown parents should be considered natural-born Filipinos?” Carpio asked Poblador who answered yes.

    The magistrate noted that Poe’s camp did not include the entire deliberations:
    “You missed out the most important part … the next page… here… the president [of the Constitutional Convention]says, ‘Does the gentleman from Cebu insist on his amendment?’ and the president said, ‘Let’s submit it to a vote… the amendment is rejected,’ ” Carpio pointed out.

    “The records of the Constitutional Convention of 1934 clearly state that Mr. Rafols’ proposal was rejected by the majority,” he added.

    For her part, Justice Teresita Leonardo –De Castro made the following statement to the assembled throng:

    “A foundling can be a Filipino citizen, but it doesn’t say a natural-born citizen. You cannot apply presumption unless there is established fact.

    “Natural-born citizenship is a birthright. If one invokes international law, you do not rely on blood relationship. Jus sanguines applies in the Philippines.”

    Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta directed his interpellation to another telling point:
    “The case of former first lady and Ilocos Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos is different from Poe’s case because Mrs. Marcos never became a US citizen.”

    And then, as if to suggest where Ms. Poe must go to win her case, Justice Peralta declared: “DNA evidence is 99.99 percent accurate.”

    Which means that more remains of the departed will have to be exhumed by Ms. Poe’s camp.

    A cautionary tale of political ambition

    In a fortnight, we may expect this long-running saga of Grace Poe’s candidacy to reach its conclusion because the SC will hand down its decision on the disqualification cases against her. It may overturn the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), which mystifyingly ruled that Ms. Poe is a natural-born Filipino, and thereby unseat her from the Senate. Or it may affirm the Comelec in its en banc decision to nullify her candidacy for president in the May elections.

    What, many have asked me, do we as a nation and a people gain from all the trials and tribulations of Ms. Poe?

    I say this. What we Filipinos have gained is a cautionary tale about political ambition—about what a politician can become when (to quote Peggy Noonan) she “cannot sacrifice her needs , or quell her hungers, and never quite manage to summon the grace to put principle or country before self.”

    The saga of Ms Poe should be studied alongside William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the classic tragedy of ambition. Here we see how ambition can lead to tragedy and even madness, when one’s goal is achieved by cheating and deceit. And how concentrating on a false goal causes so much distress

    Macbeth’s ambition—to become king—was not false. but he should have won the title honorably instead of stealing it. Not only is this route not rewarding, it may require therapy to overcome .

    This is a lesson for young and ambitious politicians like Ms. Poe. But this is even more a lesson for our TV-dominated and money-obsessed politics.

     yenmakabenta@ yahoo.com


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    1. franklin alipar on

      ask ko Lang Kay atty poblador may honest mistake ba konstitusyon? specifically written ba ang salitang “HONEST MISTAKE”

    2. Tristan Mendoza on

      I’ve listened to the sc hearing (SC youtube channel) and citizenship alone is a battle they can’t win (unless they miraculously present positive dna result). I wonder who thought of the argument that the comelec does not have jurisdiction in the cancellation of coc. Are they saying that comelec lacks jurisdiction since 1992 presidential election?

      On another note, TRO has bern issued for removing Poe on the list of candidates. Shouldn’t it follow that her camp to be legally barred from campaigning as well since the case is still pending. A notice was released telling all camps and media to stop talking about the issue until a decisionvis reached but I think this is not enough. Poe is getting undue advantage with her ads. Assuming she wins the SC case, she already had continuously campaigned and if she doesn’t win the SC case, she had already ignited confusion with the voting public.

      • What she did was practicing her constitutional right. Freedom of speech and expreeion. Philippine Constitution is part of high school and college curriculum. I’m just wondering why many Pilipinos were so ignorant of our basic rights.

    3. jusdado padilla on

      Let us not let the campaign for 2016 be an issue outside of competence, integrity and capability of the candidate. Mar has shown that he has delivered for the good of the people and has been consistent in his dedication to give his best for the country. he has a clean track record and has been working hard to deliver quality service for the people. he will be able to serve us better if we support him in 2016 as he has daang matuwid agenda to guide his government.

      • You are right. Unfortunately, many voters in this country does not use their brains. Only here can a known corrupt politicians can run for public office instead of rotting in jail.

    4. I just want to show all her supporters the true color of their favorite candidate, this is for them to decide. Decades had passed and Grace Poe did not even attempt to find her biological family, not until now that she needed them to prove that she is a natural born filipino, if not for that reason, she’s not interested of finding them and she will just spend her entire life in US not to be bothered. That’s the other side of your candidate. I don’t know how to call this kind of person in tagalog, mapagsamantala, ipokrita, kailangan ka lang dahil may kailangan sa iyo. How can you trust that kind of person who wants to be a President. Go figure.

      • You are misinformed and no basis of what you wrote. Please next time do not judge a person and no name calling. This will show what class and how educated you are.

    5. Sino ba si Llamanzares alyas Poe para mag dikta sa SC, sino siya? di ba siya yong kandidato na nandaya sa oath sa COC. Alyas Poe has a zero credibility and dignity to ask for something which is not under control, she is a dictator. she wants to hide the truth, but you can not hide it for so long like the sun and the moon. according to Elamparo, are the following: (a) she is a foundling; (b) she renounced her Filipino citizenship to become an American; (c) to re-acquire Filipino citizenship, she lied in in her petition under Republic Act No. 9225 that she was born to Filipino parents; (d) it was this lie that misled the Bureau of Immigration into granting her dual citizenship; (e) prior to re-acquiring Filipino citizenship, she registered in her and her spouses’s name three pieces of real estate misrepresenting that they were Filipinos; (f) prior to re-acquiring Filipino citizenship in July 2006, petitioner had no permanent resident’s visa; (g)she declared in her 2012 Certificate of Candidacy (CoC) that her residence in the Philippines as of May 2013 consisted only of 6 years and 6 months.
      “Indeed, the Honorable Court should not be misled and must only decide the case based on law and NOT on the latest survey results.
      “Viewed in this light, one can easily see the hypocrisy behind her quest for the presidency. Enough with the sentimental pleas. This Petition is not about being recognized as a Filipino; it is about her misguided ambition which regrettably runs roughshod against the fundamental law,” Elamparo said.
      Elamparo also pointed out that despite realizing the mistake early in 2015, Poe did not do anything about it until media interviewed her through an “ambush” sometime in June 2015, a day after the camp of a political rival raised the issue of her lack of residency for the presidency by six months, going by her CoC for the Senate.

      • She is not dictating, she is practicing her constitutional rights by presenting her cases to the Supreme Court. Let the court decide. You are echoing the voice of Binay who have PLUNDER, GRAFT & CORRUPTION against him and his family.

    6. I’m not a lawyer,or somebody else, I’m just a mere ordinary citizen.We are all entitled to our own opinion, and I highly respect that.As the saying “Don’t judge a book on its own cover”.Respect the law.Let the people decide.Remember repentance always comes last.Should Senator Grace wins her case, so be it.Because she deserves it.

    7. What a waste of people’s money!!!

      We have gargantuan problems facing the country and here we are wasting so much time and money — and for what? To satisfy the ambition of this foundling?

      Why does she not just go back to the US and continue her kindergarten teaching?

      • Practicing a constitutional rights is not a waste of money
        Politicians stealing money money from the treasury is a waste of taxpayers money. Spending public funds for beauty queens is a waste of money.FYI

    8. Sinamantala ni Grace Poe ang kababawan ng mga Filipinos. Apelyedong POE lang naman ang anting anting nya… nothing more..

      • This will happen to us….A poor smart foundling somewhere in a rural area of the Philippines will be told ” HOY BATANG PULOT, HUWAG KA NANG MANGARAP MAGING PRESIDENTE O SENADOR KASI AMPON KA LANG!

    9. So let the presumptions prevail if that is the case..Wala ng legal basis kaya daw mga Justices sila one of the Justices said so tangalin na Legal word..

    10. Greed and ambition are the 2 quantifiers that fit the true character and intention of Grace Llamanzares. The greedy backers of Grace Llamanzares are just as equally guilty as her of this personal greed. Making a mockery of the Philippines Constitution is abhorrent and deplorable. They genuinely believe that they can circumvent the very framework of this land, and how wrong they are! Not everyone can be fooled. Time to show to the rest of the Filipinos that we still have our worth as a nation; and that is to uphold the very essence of our country of which our founding fathers worked hard.

      • Exactly greed power and ambitions,these are things that every or most politicians are craving for. And the oligarch backers
        are greediest and the mother of all greed. Sinced Cory Aquino up to the present our government is being run by the oligarch. Who ever won, these oligarch runs our government. Parang kalesa ang kabayo ang mga halal ng taong bayan at ang kutsero ay ang mga gumastos ng pagka laki laki sa kampanya sa bawat magdaang eleksiyon.

      • Are they all not possessed by Greed and Ambition. look at Binay inspite of all his accumulated wealth from the Filipino people, still ambitions to become the president of the Filipino people he cheated so he can continue his greediness. pag nanalo pa si Binay talagang napakalaking gago Filipino na nang mga bumoto kay Binay.

    11. The only thing Grace Poe can redeemed herself and save the embarrassment is stop playing” honest mistake” card because it may not end well for her. The document that Grace Poe submitted (COC), Sworn questionnaire from US embassy, alibi because of 9/11 bombing that immigrant will be discriminated are smoking gun that proves that she was lying.

    12. Danny Cascolan on

      Repost my shortest argument pov, for long version discussion on citizenship rudimentary pov please search fb,
      Balitang Bayan + What about citizenship

      Lol dokleng, didnt you understand that to have ‘natural born’ type citizenship one must have proof beyond reasonable doubt certified by public authority or affidavit witness that one at birth has a circumstance having filipino parents therefore having the perfect citizenship beyond question of law or any other circumstance such as of the founding, that goes to say that perfect citizenship is without the error of presumption as that of a foundling. So why muscle in a perfect citizenship if really one is not inclined to challenging the definition of ‘natural born’ citizenship as defined by the constitution? Why at all mix international law when there isnt a factor in the international law that says foundling must be ‘natural born’ citizens? International law merely states that a person should be given a nationality accordingly under the laws of a country or state. That is clear that there was never an issue or conflict factor with international law. The conflict is someone like Poe and allies who wants violated the existing constitutional statute so she can run illegitimately as president. Foundlings as naturalized citizens are not deprived of regular benefits, even natural born citizens are not exactly becoming presidents or senators. The pro Poe writer also intently missed the fact that Poe lost her citizenship and ofcourse all types under the citizenship was burned to meaningless when Poe abjured officially her allegiance of filipino citizenship when Poe decided willfully to become an american citizen. Our Constitution states clearly that citizenship can be ‘LOST’ by manner of law, and there is only one way to have ‘LOST’ the citizenship it is by abjuring the allegiance willfully and changing to the another country allegiance and citizenship. Our Constitution clearly stated ‘LOST’ which is different from the word ‘SUSPENDED’ if for want that the original circumstance of birth can be applied again. ‘Natural born’ citizenship comes once in a lifetime as a birth circumstance not by biological or ethnic right but a birth circumstance as required and defined in the Constitution, for example it matters not if its a chinese ethnically by blood but having been born with filipino chinese parents as certified by public authority or witness is sure a ‘natural born’ citizen. Citizenship is by required circumstance of law not type of biology. The Philippine archipelago is host to various ethnicity, and the filipino as nationality is not about one racial homogenity, the filipino is about having a nation with a national citizenship, by etymology the word ‘filipino’ is a colonial function. So why argue about ethnicity on national identity such as citizenship that is granted by law not biology?

      Lol ang citizenship for the fact is a granted classification by law not of biology. Ethnicity is the fact of biology, there is no citizenship in the science of biology.

      The classificatory laws of citizenship in the Constitution is not biological taxonomy in nature. Citizenship is for official national identity and allegiance.

      or let us put the question this way. How does a person become a ‘naturalized citizen’ by law?

      1) if the person posses an alien citizenship and applies for a change or additional citizenship that the law is called to process the acquisition of the citizenship. For the being of citizenship changed by law then that is ‘naturalized citizenship’.

      2) in the case of the foundling where our constitutional requirement is a certified public authority or affidavit (as in the case of late registration or any other circumstance ) confirming that one of the parents is a filipino, else a prospective process of law is due determining that the foundling failed to fulfill the ‘natural born citizenship’ requirement due to unknown parentage. Therefore by the fact of constitutional non compliance of the requirement set for the fulfillment of ‘natural born citizenship’, so as not to violate the definitions and requirements of natural born perfect citizenship in the constitution, the foundling being imperfect in the requirement is given naturalized citizenship so as not to remain stateless. my pov.

      At kahit pa maging known let us take for granted Poe was a natural born citizen, that is not anymore relevant as Poe changed her citizenship to american losing the filipino citizenship and whatever sub types under the citizenship had been extinguished for no one can say he or she is currently a filipino ‘natural born citizen’ if she is already an american citizen by law. But she or he can say that she was a ‘natural born citizen’ before she officially abjured the filipino citizenship and became an american citizen. Applying for the filipino citizenship possesing an alien citizenship necessarily will be a process of law attributing ‘naturalization’.
      Teddy has been telling that he was one of the principal authors of dual citizenship or R.A. 9235? Then Teddy should know that R.A. 9225 is not empowered to grant ‘natural born citizenship’ type to a citizenship but passes the authority of citizenship definition back to how the Constitution defines citizenship and its sub types under. What R.A. 9225-says is that persons who were ‘natural born citizens’ of the Philippines as the essential requirement can apply for dual citizenship, so while being an american citizen the philippines will regard the person who applied as ‘filipino citizen’ too. But never did R.A. 9225 extrapolate that it can grant back the ‘natural born citizenship’ circumstance as R.A. 9225 passes the authority of the definition to our Constitution.
      Poe’s group hopes to bank on probably erroneous jurisprudence

      Quoted from G.R. No. 142840 Bengson vs. HRET:

      “Moreover, repatriation results in the recovery of the original nationality. This means that a naturalized Filipino who lost his citizenship will be restored to his prior status as a naturalized Filipino citizen. On the other hand, if he was originally a natural-born citizen before he lost his Philippine citizenship, he will be restored to his former status as a natural-born Filipino.”

      Lol ang HRET ay tulad din ng SET at politically motivated at saliwa sa prinsipyo.

      A repatriate for essential element is someone who has no recourse to will the keeping of one’s citizenship as in the case of filipinos who signed up as american soldiers or the old custom of a wife following the man’s citizenship.

      Un kay Poe willful ang pag change niya ng citizenship.

      To remind that Jurisprudence are not the constitutional law themselves but are interpretation and ruling on them such that jurisprudence can be fallible in the ruling and if upon deeper examination of what the constitution said the jurisprudence is proven logically wrong and erroneous in the intepretation, that jurisprudence will be junked and reversed so that what the law really meant is the one to be followed.

      Remember our Constitution said the word is ‘LOST’ not ‘SUSPENDED’ that one can take back the original position and circumstance unchanged. To recover the original circumstance of the citizenship is to ignore the fact that there was a change, reapplications of law in the citizenship violating the constitutional definitions and provisions.

      • I follow your line of reasoning and exposition. Unfortunately, the Poe camp deviously glosses over the facts and twists the law to suit their purposes. They simply hope that pure emotional appeal and warped legalese will bring over the unthinking crowd to their side. It worked in 2010 and they think they can pull it off again.

    13. I say this. What we Filipinos have gained is a cautionary tale about political ambition—about what a politician can become when (to quote Peggy Noonan) she “cannot sacrifice her needs , or quell her hungers, and never quite manage to summon the grace to put principle or country before self.”


    14. The only people who are fantasizing is the corrupt candidate, the incompetent one, and the one who always swears. All of them carry a baggage, except for grace poe.

      A foundling does not have to find his/her biological parents. It is clear that there can only be naturalized and natural born filipinos and grace poe never applied for a naturalization process to begin with, so she is necessarily a natural-born.

      Yes, a foundling need not find her bioloical parents or prove herself or himself to be a naturalborn citizen, which is the case when someone wants to be president or applies for certain scholarships, awards, donations or jobs, especially from or in foreign countries, that specify that the recipients must be naturalborn Filipinos and not naturalized Filipinos. Try getting such things from any Arabian country or the East West Center in Hawaii and other important institutions in the US and Europe and you will see that if your birth certificate does not prove you to be a naturalborn Filipino, you will be rejected!

    15. Sen. Poe is disqualify as a candidate and as well as senator because she made a mistake of using her US Passport in traveling to the USA while holding a dual citizenship. Supreme Court has made a decision recently to disqualified a mayor who was elected landslide but using US Passport while traveling overseas. It is a same case as Sen Poe in assuming government office.

      It is also a definite LOAW that DUAL CITIZENS are not allowed to be candidates for any public office. So when she used her US passport she proclaiming her being a dual ciktizen and therefore was acting in a way to DISQUALIFY HERSELF.

    16. adonis b. rocha on

      Yes Yen Makabenta, this Grace Poe Llamanzares is but a stooge of her greedy backers that emboldened her overweening and overzealous ambition of becoming the president of the Philippines. Such a pea brain novato to say the least, knowing fully well that , she does not possess the experience, aptitude and gravitas at this moment in time to lead this benighted country of 104 million souls as president. Can she please enumerate her achievements in MTRCB and the Senate? To Ms. Grace P. Llamanzares, its now time to admit that;….”the end is near”, for your misguided ambitions and you better go back to USA as you will also be kicked out of the Senate in due course.

    17. True, the overambitious Llamanzares (who continually use the name of FPJ to win votes) will be like other Filipino drivers who drives a vehicle without any experience of driving by getting a drivers license from corrupt government employees. I will definitely not ride on any vehicle driven by Llamanzres for there’s the risk of accidents. Llamanzres family like her son is already daydreaming of living in the palace where her son will court movie actresses as his girlfriend using the position in malacanang. Even FilAms in the U.S. are not in favor of Llamanzres’s ambition. Llamanzres is only #3 in a survey among FilAms of who they want to be president of the Philippines (#1-Roxas, #2 Duterte #3 Llamanzares #4 Binay #5 Santiago)

      • Who’s more ambitious Binay or Grace Poe? Folks, think deeper. By focusing and giving more emphasis on Grace Poe’s cases, you are letting Binay off the hook. Just think
        AND COMPARE THE INTENTIONS of grace poe against Binay’s intentions. Think: who has good moral character that is an important pre-requisite in leading the 100 million Filipinos. Think of our youth and children’s future if an elected president is a thief and so desperate to win. Thin,

      • Nothing wrong with being in love. Per the Beatles, ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE. Not PLUNDER, GRAFT & CORRUPTION.

    18. Unless the provisions of the basic law of the land, the Philippine Constitution, are strictly followed (“dura lex, sed lex””), here will be more problems in the.country, political and otherwise. To agree to the arguments of Ms. Poe’s side, is plain ‘mockery’ of the Constitution. I hope I won’t lose my faith in the judicial and electoral systems of the country because of an overly ambitious ‘political’ figure whose best asset is family popularity.

      May God bless the country, may God bless the Filipino people!

      • The Philippines Constitution if followed or obeyed, most of the government officials will be in jailed. Filipinos don’t care about the laws. Just look around you.

      • It’s not mockery but practicing one’s constitutional rights. PLUNDER, GRAFT & CORRUPTION is a mockery and against the law. Let the SC decides.