There is something about an oath that points to humanity’s highest values. A “solemn promise, invoking a divine witness regarding one’s future action or behavior, “ the Oxford Dictionary defines it.
Next to the family, an oath is an ancient and universal institution of human civilization, first documented as made by the ancient Hebrew Deity himself in Genesis 8:21. Oaths were what bound societies as diverse as those of the ancient Greeks, Romans, early Europeans. On the other side of the globe, Chinese and Japanese warriors lived, killed and died (and even killed themselves) within the confines of their oaths of loyalty to their feudal lords.
Even in modern times, humanity has relied on oaths as the primary means to ensure that a leader truly leads, and members of an organization fulfill their duties to it. All government positions around the world require the recital of oaths of office, with Christians placing their left hands on a Bible to signify they are making sacred oaths.
Even the Catholic Pope has his Papal Coronation Oath, recited unbroken since it was first made by Saint Agatho in 678 A.D. An ordinary gangster becomes a “made man,” a member of a Mafia family after he takes an omerta oath of silence and one of obedience to the mob.
I find it therefore astonishing that many are very seriously considering making Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares president, when she has violated solemn oaths. And these aren’t just oaths of membership in some social club, but membership in the most important organization next to the family, one a human being is a member of—the nation.
We’re sure Llamanzares had become a US citizen when she was in America, since Philippine immigration records show she presented a US passport at the counter on Dec. 27, 2009. While she hasn’t disclosed when she became a US citizen, she was required under US laws to swear the following oath to assume American citizenship.
Renouncing the Philippines
“I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.” (Emphasis mine.)
Llamanzares had renounced and abjured allegiance and fidelity to the country she wants to be president of now.
Indeed, the US oath of allegiance is of the genre of the Decalogue’s thou-shalt-not-have-other-gods-before-Me commandment that I have idealistic friends who shirked from being American citizens upon reading it, and instead chose to simply remain being green-card holders.
Poe claims she renounced her US citizenship and assumed Philippine citizenship in 2010, before she was appointed head of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
However, she hasn’t publicly made available the documents to support her claims. This is strange since these aren’t confidential documents, unless she wants to hide the date when she renounced her US citizenship. I also find it strange why, according to her, she renounced her US citizenship before a Pasay City notary public.
What apparently she was not aware of—or pretends to be not aware of—is that there is a process by which one loses his or her US citizenship. One loses one’s US citizenship when the US government says so, and there is even a formal ceremony for an American citizen to renounce his or her allegiance to the US, and the renunciation is accepted by the government represented by its authorized official. If she were abroad, she has to renounce her citizenship at the US embassy and to an authorized diplomatic consul.
And as in the nature of oaths, one doesn’t unilaterally free oneself from an oath.
There is a publicly available official document, the US government’s published Federal Register that lists “the name of each individual losing United States citizenship with respect to whom the Secretary received information during the quarter ending June 30, 2012.”
Llamanzares is listed there as among those losing her US citizenship in that quarter ending June 30, 2012.
That means she was still a US citizen and took the following oath of office when she was appointed on October 10, 2010:
“I, Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares, hereby swear to uphold and defend the Philippine Constitution; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to it; obey the laws, legal orders and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities; will well and faithfully discharge to the best of my ability the duties of the office or position upon which I am about to enter; and that I voluntarily assume the obligation imposed by this oath of office, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me God.” (Emphasis mine.)
How can she swear to uphold our Constitution when she was still bound by her oath as a US citizen in which she renounces all allegiance to a foreign state, swears to defend the US Constitution, and even take up arms to defend that nation?
By taking the two oaths she swore to her God, professing allegiance to two nations. In the US citizenship oath, she even renounced “all allegiance and fidelity” to the Philippines.
That means she was simultaneously violating two solemn, so-help-me-God oaths.
If ever she becomes president, can we trust her that she truly means to live up to the President’s Oath of Office which she will be swearing to before millions of Filipinos?
FB: Bobi Tiglao