SENATOR Grace Poe on Monday said she already renounced her American citizenship after she was asked by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, to join the government and serve as chief of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) in 2010.
Poe made the clarification in connection with a report of The Manila Times about the alleged existence of the senator’s US passport.
But according to the Poe camp, the US passport has expired and that the senator stopped using it when she was appointed to the MTRCB.
“It [US passport] has been surrendered since I renounced [my US citizenship]upon being chairman of MTRCB. I took an oath twice renouncing my citizenship. First before a Philippine public officer and second before the US Embassy,” Poe said.
The senator told reporters she could not understand why there was a sudden interest in her citizenship as if it was a “hidden-wealth” issue.
She said all documents regarding her nationality are open for anyone to see.
The senator pointed out that she never tried to hide the fact that she studied and lived in the US and even had dual citizenship, which she already gave up when she decided to return to the country for good.
“So for those who are raising the issue, I will not run for senator if I still have dual citizenship,” Poe said.
She explained that to be able to regain her Filipino citizenship, all she had to do was to renounce her US citizenship as required by Republic Act 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Reacquisition Act of 2003.
Since then, the senator said, she has to apply for a US visa to enable her to travel to the US.
“I am willing to show my visa. Even the US told me that I don’t need to give it up, but I told them that it is required by our [Philippine] laws,” she told reporters.
Poe is reportedly being considered by both the administration and opposition parties to become the running mate of their respective standard-bearers but the senator has not yet made a decision regarding her political plans in 2016.
She admitted that there are also some groups pushing for a Poe-Chiz tandem in 2016 but there has been no serious discussion about it by both camps.
Chiz is the nickname of Sen. Francis Escudero, who is reportedly planning to run for a higher position next year.
Poe said she and Escudero have known each other for a long time.
Escudero was the spokesman for Poe’s father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ when FPJ stood for the presidency in 2004.
When asked who she would prefer between Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd and Escudero, in case she decides to run in 2016, Poe said both have been kind to her although she also admitted that she knew Escudero better.
Honesty still best trait
Reacting to a statement attributed to Vice President Jejomar Binay that what the country needs is an experienced and a competent leader, FPJ’s daughter said while those traits should be possessed by those who want to lead the country, honesty is still the most important trait.
Poe said quality and honesty of leadership should be given importance over the length of service.
When further asked if she felt alluded to by the statement of the Vice President, Poe said it is possible considering that, compared to other incumbent elected officials, she is considered a newbie in public service but that does not make her less qualified.
When also asked if she thinks Binay is an honest leader, the senator also pointed out that the Vice President can only prove it the moment he faces the Senate blue ribbon committee and answer all allegations of wrongdoing against him.