THE run up to Elections 2016 has all been about the truth. But when the candidate speaks, still the gallery does not accept it as truth. Why? Because the issues raised are issues lingering for years, others for a lifetime and still others because of health reasons. These issues were only picked up again a year before campaign, hence, campaign related or campaign directed. Some served the purpose, others became part and parcel of campaign strategies. A breaking telenovela written depending on the public’s reaction.
From truth seeking, why not try honesty? Why can’t we for once ask candidates to be honest? And if they say their piece, let’s accept it until facts are shown to be contrary from what was earlier claimed. Or, vote them according to the facts that refute their allegations.
It is basic among honest people that requirements provided by law, especially that of the Constitution, should be followed to the letter and not held in breach. Why should voters suffer the inadequacies of the candidates? Why should one run without settling personal issues and not make it a national spectacle because you want to serve the country? Shouldn’t candidates first attend to their personal issues and not make it the telenovela by which one campaigns? Right-minded Filipinos are not putting down foundlings, that has never been an issue but certainly that is a storyline for a senator who ended up No. 1 in 2013.
If she was able to skirt away from the requirements for senators, she should have settled those issues in the 3 years before 2016, right? Do we close our collective eyes on a violation of the Constitution in 2013? Article VI, Section 3 states, “no person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines and, on the day of the election, is at least thirty-five years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.” Clearly, the natural born requirement was not something new. So what do we make of the Liberal Party and its leadership then? To say the fact was hidden from them is begging the question. So if this was allowed in 2013 and since voters made her No.1 that cures the problem? We want truth and yet candidates can’t be honest.
Why do we quibble? Natural born is clear. No need to define. Conversely, if you are not natural born, you fail to qualify. That simple. Or do we want to create exceptions to the general rule? Should the public be conned again? Why?
Interestingly, most COCs are not prepared by candidates. In fact, very rarely would a candidate accomplish his COC, especially for those running for national positions. In this case, she was assisted by a law office and by an incumbent Senator. Why do we know? Because we saw the COC and raised the issue with the candidate on her political nickname in 2013. When asked, she said that the incumbent senator and a retired Comelec commissioner said she can’t use the name of her dead father. To which we raised several examples, ending with an instruction to a staff to write the letter to all concerned that henceforth, the candidate will be using the name of the father. That was 2013. Was she honest then or was there malice? And at that point she was way low the survey game.
The filing of the Certificate of Candidacies for 2016 happened in October and the substitution took place in December. Announcements were made September. Clearly, the Constitution says under Article VII, Section 2, “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.” Why should a candidate fudge and push institutions to a gory mess just because she chose not to ensure she fulfills the requirements for the position?
Candidates, especially for the presidency, must be responsible in following constitutional requirements. To say it was an “honest mistake” is a lie often repeated to skirt the question. Why can’t the candidate be honest with the voters? Why should the voters suffer from “selective truths”? Why should the search for the parents be made now when it should have been made way before even running for the Senate? How can it be an “honest mistake” when the COC in 2013 and today do not add up? Even the birth certificates are “honest mistakes”?
What do you make of a candidate who knowingly, or aided by counsel, knowingly, made false assertions on personal records twice? Personal records that are constitutional requirements. So should the public just allow these things? If she personally wanted to be president, she should have attended to all of these issues before filing her COC or was it the actual design for her campaign? Or was it because she was a Poe and the gatekeepers will allow it since everyone wanted to pay for what happened to the father in 2004?
In 2008, we said she can be a potential presidential candidate. When the present issues were raised then, it was waived because things will be taken care of. Senator Grace Poe, we have often wished you well despite your adherence to and seeming lack of independence from your counsel, but surely honesty weighs more than malice, right? Or could it be, “I am in blood, stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more, returning was as tedious as go o’er.” (Macbeth).
Settle your problems first before offering yourself to the public. You got a free ride in the Senate, not all Filipinos will be accorded what you got. Don’t make a mockery of institutions and the Constitution.