‘Prettier than Grace Poe, more persuasive than CJ Sereno’


After writing in succession on Grace Poe, Justice Lourdes Sereno, and Eliza Bettina Antonino, I have been scolded by some readers (my wife included) for overlooking another woman in the Grace Poe disqualification cases.

They refer to none other than Atty. Estrella Elamparo, the first citizen to petition the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for the disqualification of Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares as a candidate for president in the May elections.

They said: “Attorney Elamparo is prettier than Grace Poe. She talks more sense than Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno. Do your research; you will learn a lot more from her. And don’t waste your time on Eliza Bettina Antonino, the six-million-a year crony.”

Chastised, I have dug deep into news archives and my notes on the Poe cases. By Googling the name ‘Elamparo,” I was rewarded in a flash with a flood of stories. I have emerged from my immersion with evidence that Ms. Elamparo is indeed better-looking, more sensible, more articulate, and more convincing than all these other women who have taken center stage in the cases before the SC.

I write the words above with the qualifier that I exclude Associate Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro from this sweeping judgment. She was awesome last Tuesday in confronting and questioning solicitor general Florin Hilbay on his foolish statistics that purportedly argue for a declarative ruling by the Supreme Court that all foundlings are natural born citizens of this country.

But to return to Ms. Elamparo, I am now persuaded by a mountain of news stories and statements that she as petitioner has voiced the most telling arguments against Ms. Poe’s persistence in running for president. She has displayed in her argumentation a happy combination of legal knowledge and common sense. As the case now heads for final review and individual decision by the members of the high court, it is fitting to remember what she has said and sensibly propounded.

Her line of argument consists of these:

1. Grace Poe is more interested in her political ambition than in recognition as a Filipino citizen

On January 8, in her formal comment on Sen. Grace Poe’s petition to the high court against her disqualification, Atty Elamparo asked the SC to dismiss the petition, saying that the lawmaker does not seem interested in being recognized as a Filipino but is only interestred in her ambition to become president.

Elamparo noted how Poe has repeatedly rejected the notion that she is a naturalized Filipino.

“Some legal scholars and jurists have opined that petitioner is a Filipino national by virtue of an abbreviated form of naturalization — considering that she has been de facto considered by the government a Filipino, and has in fact been issued a Philippine passport,” Elamparo wrote.

“But petitioner is simply not interested in citizenship… Obviously, petitioner is not after being a Filipino national only, because mere citizenship or nationality is not enough to give her the Presidency. What she wants is to be considered natural-born,” the lawyer added.

Elamparo said Poe had repeatedly stated that she is not a naturalized Filipino in the verified answer and memorandun she filed with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in response to Elamparo’s plea to have her certificate of candidacy for the 2016 presidential polls cancelled.

“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 unfortunately runs roughshod against the fundamental law,” said Elamparo.

Elamparo maintained that Poe’s declaration in her 2012 COC for senator of having a residency of six years and six months was not an honest mistake but an admission against interest.

2. Grace Poe knew she’s not a natural-born Filipino, and she did not have ten-year residency.

Last Tuesday, February 16, when she finally got her chance to speak during the oral arguments, Atty Elamparo told the SC that Senator Poe was aware that she was not a natural-born Filipino and that she fell short of the ten-year residency required of candidates for the presidency.

“The intent to mislead is glaring in this case. She knew that she did not meet the natural-born requirement when she accomplished her COC because she was faced with the same exact requirement as early as 2006,” Elamparo told the court.

“In 2006, when she applied for dual citizenship under RA 9225, which also required her to be natural born, she was already informed that she had to be born to Filipino parents through the form provided by the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation,” she added.

“When she received the BID order, she was informed that her petition was granted precisely because of her misrepresentation that she was born to her adoptive parents [the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. and actress Susan Roces],” Elamparo said.

“When she accomplished her 2012 and 2015 COCs, she already knew that she was misrepresenting because she was faced with the exact same requirement way back in 2006,” she added.

Elamparo said that Poe also knew that she did not have the adequate years of residency before May 2016 to qualify for the presidential elections.

“It was her own deliberate and considered choice not to get a permanent residence visa in 2005. That was her conscious decision. Instead, she opted to come back here as a temporary visitor under the balikbayan program with a limited duration of stay,” Elamparo said.

The lawyer opened her argument with an appeal to the magistrates not to “unnecessarily drag” foundlings into the Poe cases.

“This case is only about one person and the unique facts about her,” said Elamparo
Then, in a personal note, Elamparo declared that she only wanted “certainty” on the qualifications of Poe when she filed her complaint against the lawmaker. “[But] to this very day all petitioner can offer are most likely’s and most probably’s.”

She said Poe has “no one to blame but herself for anchoring her claim of being natural born solely on a non-existent presumption under international law.”

Compelling and persuasive argumentation

This is compelling and persuasive argumentation in my considered judgment, but I must disclose that my formal training was in literature and rhetoric, and not in the law.
I have only a columnist’s vote to cast in this affair.

Nevertheless, I will stand by the title of this piece. Atty Estrella Elamporo, the lady whom many forgot in this celebrated case, is arguably prettier than Sen. Grace Poe. And her reasoning is arguably more thoughtful and persuasive than that of Chief Justice Sereno.


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  1. I believe that Atty Elamparo’s intention is for Sen Grace Poe to conform with the qualifications set forth by our Constitution. Several qualifications have been violated when she ran for Senate and again it is being violated in her bid for the Presidency…. I call Atty Elamparo’s actions as civic duty. Just saying.

  2. I am just reflecting about this Poe issue.If you are saying that Poe being a foundling would amount to Poe being not a natural born citizen, then that ruling will already decide the fate of all foundlings in the country with similar circumstances as Poe, that however they look like Filipinos, as one of us, & however the circumstances on how they were found point to them being most probably sons or daughters of Filipino mothers or fathers, they cannot become or dream of becoming a nationally elected official. In effect you are barring these people & making them second class citizens of the country whereas no explicit elaboration in Constitution states that their rights or priveleges should be curtailed. Leonen argued about the “justness” in this case, asking what is there in the law explicitly provided for to foundlings to prove that they are natural born. It is certainly without justness to produce now an evidence as an DNA of the biological parents & find them whereas as an infant the foundling without the foundlings wrongdoing was abandoned by the parents in the first place. In this case the natural born citizenship of a foundling should be proven by presumption of the law coupled by a minimum requirement like the circumstancial evidences surrounding the events on finding the foundling & the racial features of the foundling. Presumption of law is provided for by the law, analogous to presumption of innocence in criminal cases. Justices Peralta & even DeCastro admit that presumption by law is thus a practice in law. How do catch a killer or murder , usually, by connecting the dots and that is presumption which can be applied to POE . Because she looks like a Filipino and was newly born when found in the middle of Philippines . Unless someone can prove that she was born in the US and was flown to Philippines so she can be found in the church …who has the burden of proof ?

    • The constitution doesn’t discriminate against foundlings. It just wants to make sure that either the mother or the father of the POTP is a Filipino. Is this that hard to understand and accept?

      Saan ba kumuha ng kapal ng mukha si GPL para ipagpilitan ang kanyang sarili gayong wala naman siyang alam at karanasan sa pamamahala? Hindi kaya kay BS Aquino mismo? Who has the burden of proof on an applicants qualification? Please lang, huwag mong ang SC!

    • You’re ugly and think you’re better than anyone just because you have rither if your biological parents. Well you’re not. The only truth is you’re ugly and your wife only married you cause she ugly herself. I would rather be a foundling not knowing who my parents are than knowing you are them. I pity your children. If the Gods have gave you the chance to reproduce. If I were them i would leave you sterile so as not to contaminate this world with your fugly faces. Leave your children infront of a convent. Save them from embarassment. Please

    • Only in the Philippines! This is how GPL benefits from this sideshow that have preoccupied everyone including the justices of our highest court. (when they shouldn’t be). Please open your eyes. What transpires before us are events orchestrated by groups of people to maintain the status quo while we, the ordinary citizen continues to be screwed to kingdom come..
      Please vote wisely.

    • Eddie F Adrayan on

      that however they look like Filipinos, as one of us, & however the circumstances on how they were found point to them being most “probably” sons or daughters of Filipino mothers or fathers. …….. I copied verbatim a portion of your comment but I marked the word “probably”. This means that even with you citing her look like Filipinos, you used the right word (probably) to assume that she is. When you assume, it is not certain which is the requirement of the law.

  3. The Constitution states that foundling can hold the highest office of the land if he/she can prove that his/her biological parents are Filipinos in the case of Grace Poe none so its a clear violation of our Constitution.The other issue that Grace Poe violates the Constitution at the time she relinquish her Filipino Citizenship and take allegiance to the United States of America and return home short of 10yr.residency period as requirements to hold the highest office of the land so its a clear violation of our constitution in other words Grace Poe is a law breaker.The issue has nothing to do with foundling all our foundlings here in the Philippines are all law abiding Citizen and yet Grace Poe drag the Foundlings to drum up support from the electorate this is a clear gimmick to solidify her ambitious campaign for President.This is a clear mockery of our Constitution twisting the law for the sake of one person ambition is a clear violation of our sacred law.Our justices are dutibound to uphold the rule of law and yet emotion prevail over duty no wonder the Philippines being rich in natural resources lag behind our asian neighbors because of our Filipino way of life making laws to break the law.

  4. The Constitution prevail over duty no wonder the Philippines being rich in natural resources lag behind our asian neighbors because of our Filipino way of life making laws to break the laws.

  5. The issue to be settled is whether or not a foundling can be considered “natural born” and thus can be allowed to run for president. That has to answered with certainty and finality. Where the constitution is silent, the magistrates must examine the underlying legal principles to come up with a decision. This is a landmark case because if not Grace Poe, another candidate in the future with the same predicament might run for the presidency and the same question of law maybe asked and same arguments will raised. Better decide on this now, to settle the issue once and for all.

  6. After reading your article , I absolutely agree with you Mr. Yen Makabenta !
    Sobrang mabenta talaga !!!

    Sana ang magandang Bituin [Atty. Estrella Elamparo], Elampaso lahat yong mga kumokontra sa kanya sa pamamagitan ng kanyang MATALINO at NAPAKADALING INTINDIHING PALIWANAG !!!

    Sana ma-‘disqualify’ si Mrs. Llamanzares na ang ‘llaman” ng isip ay pansariling kapakanan lamang.

  7. You are right sir. She is prettier than Sereno and could be sexier. Ang i believed that she is more wiser and knowledgable in law than sereno. Your wife is correct to chastise you re 6 million peso woman instead of Ms. Elamparo.

  8. Sereno got the lowest psychological and psychiatric evaluations of aspirants for the Chief Justice and Ombudsman posts. Who appointed her anyway? Birds of the same feather flock together.

    • How can you say this? Medical records of even the most ordinary of Filipinos is a very private matter, sacrosanct and cannot be revealed without written consent. Now you claim intimacy with the records of the President and the CJ !! The positions of President and CJ, as well as ALL elective offices, do not require medical/psychiatric tests. If it were, very few of the presidential and senatorial candidates would be qualified.

    • That was your single opinion and i know you are trolls from liberal kulelat party OR UNA “alleged king or corruption party :

  9. Besides, her name Estrella already means she is a STAR. The problem starts when the networks starts casting her in a local version of LA Legal or Boston Legal – she might make more money on acting and she gets higher rating than Bay! Gandah.

  10. Sir,
    awaiting the decision of SC and we will find out who are the foundling in their reasoning and logic.
    foundling in the sense that they may oversimplified the issue- a decision outside the consitutional principles.


  11. I don’t know about some justices if they can comprehend what Atty Elamparo is saying or probably they think because they are justices they are better than her. Take the argument of the Chief Justice. She was mostly talking about foundlings, how pitiful they are and never realize that the case was all about the Constitution and the Solicitor General who I read as a bar topnotcher can beautifully articulate what is not written in our constitution.
    Someone, somewhere there are forces making Sen. Llamanzares be president irrespective of what the law says otherwise she will not be brazenly campaigning up to this very moment.
    Imagine you lied twice filling your so BID and you are still the much favored candidate to win the presidency. Ordinary mortals like us probably somewhere counting not votes but yams.

  12. tty. Elamparo has motives and financial/political backing on this issue. Why she was interested in this case is a mystery considering she is not a presidential candidate. Seeing is believing. I have only one question on her. Looking at the physical feature of GPoe, do you really believe she has no Filipino parent. Look at Grace eyes and specially the nose. Atty. do you believe she is not Filipino? Because that is the definition of natural born. You cannot changed the truth atty.. You might change a black into white just like the injustices committed by law/lawyer to some inmates in our jails but youn cannot hide the truth.

    • Keep on warmongering if you wish Warmonger. If you want to be led by a foreign or American President, be by her side. Nobody is stopping you from doing so. At least you’ll be in company with her American Husband and American Children. Go for it… They might bring you to America. He he he…

    • We should not be judging Filipino citizenship by looks. There are Filipinos who are also mistaken and have the same features as Indonesian, Malaysian or even Thai. My question also is why is Poe considering herself a foundling if she is sure of her citizenship? Foundlings definitely have a different meaning than that of a natural born Filipino.

      I agree with Atty. Elamparo’s view that Ms. Poe is and was never interested of her Filipino citizenship for why she denounced and chose to be an American citizen when she could have opted for dual citizenship if the intention is to return to Philippines. All along the ambition is to live permanently and have better opportunities for her family in the USA by being an American citizen. Her political ambition only occurred when she saw the massive support for her adopted father, Fernando Poe Jr. She saw an opportunity that by just being popular one can become president of the Philippines and she can use Poe surname for that. True enough she tested the waters and won a Senate seat. Did we hear stunning achievements in her 3 years as Senator? I could not imagine how her supporters shout with all their might that she has all the brilliant answers on how to run the country as President.

  13. Bulls eye. Hit the nail right on the head.

    Sereno, Jardeleza, Leonen, & Hilbay are a good example of people we don’t need in order prosper. They are the reasons why we are where we are.

  14. Wow, Yen! What a piece. My hat’s off to you. Truly Atty. Elamparo is the shining truth coming out of that muddled arguments of Sereno and company. To Grace Poe, I would like to say, enough of your lies! Be truthful naman!

  15. Indeed. Apart from being pretty, Atty. Elamparo gave a first-rate and impressive presentation during the final hearing at the SC. I was hoping that some of the Justices would have had some questions for her just to see how quick and knowledgeable she would be in her responses. But alas, nobody questioned her. Maybe because she was so clear and well-organized in her delivery and submission that they just fell silent and speechless?

    As for Associate Justice Teresita de Castro, she was just awesome! She has done her homework, and she knows the real issues involved. As I mentioned in another comment, the elephant in the room for the Comelec Commissioners and the Justices is the dual citizenship that supposedly had been acquired by Mrs. G. Poe Llamanzares in July 2006 under RA 9225. The latter only applies to natural born Filipinos (NBFC) who have become naturalized citizens of other countries. As a foundling, Mrs. can never be considered a NBFC, and thus, can never qualify under RA 9225 as a dual citizen. Only Justice de Castro saw the elephant in the room because she thoroughly and minutely scrutinized the application form involved. In accordance with her deceitful ways, Mrs. Llamanzares misrepresented her citizenship and her parentage on her application form, and thus, was approved to become a dual citizen. However, it should be pointed out that Justice de Castro informed the Court during her interpellation of SolGen F. Hilbay that the form contains a statement to the effect that “Where fraud/misrepresentation is involved, the approval may be revoked”.

    I really thought that Justice de Castro made mincemeat of SolGen Hilbay. Here he was, being so articulate and clever, insisting that his statistical data can only lead to the common sense conclusion that Mrs. Llamanzares is a NBFC. But Justice de Castro reminded him that although Mrs. Llamanzares was found in a church in Jaro, Iloilo, nobody really knows where she was born. More importantly, she also asked him several times for the legal basis for his claim. SolGen Hilbay had to admit that if Mrs. Llamanzares was not born in the Philippines, then his statistical argument would fall. Moreover, since he was unable to provide the specific legal basis for his claim, Justice de Castro instructed him to address the issue as part of his notes or memoranda to be submitted to the Court after the hearing. This is one Justice who would not be distracted by the nuances of words!

  16. yak!!! si elamparo daw prettier than grace poe eh nakakasuka nag ang pagmumukha pinipilit magpaganda nagpa blonde hindi naman bagay sa kaniya. duling yata ang gunggong na macabenta na ito at pati asawa niya ay binanggit pa siguro kamukha ni elamparo ha ha ha ha ha.

  17. It is a matter of choice to renounce your Philippine Citizenship for an American Passport. Been here since 1977 with my U.S, Citizen Wife and our 3 yr old son.
    We are holder of Philippine Passports and we are still Filipino Citizens up to this time.
    We had to endure hassles with our Immigration Policies every time we fly back to the U.S. unlike my Wife’s conveniences. We practically come home once a year.This is what I am saying, you make a very conscious decision whether for convenience or what not to replace your allegiance from the Filipino Flag to the whatever Flag wherever you may be on Earth. Flip-flopping allegiances out of convenience? Tells you what is really in your heart. No Spin here!!

  18. I don’t have the chance to watch the proceedings live. Based on what you reported about Ms. Elamparo’s argument, , there is no more compelling evidence or reasoning to prove that Poe deliberately and knowingly lied to be able to run for the Presidency. I have commented in some articles that Poe’s holding on to her US citizenship, thus a dual citizen even when she reacquired her Filipino citizenship on July 18, 2006 serves a purpose. Her husband’s remaining a US citizen serves a purpose. It was only when she assumed the office at the Motion Picture Review board did she relinquish her US citizenship because it is required by law. It is only when she realized that the grass is becoming greener in the Philippines, thanks to Benigno Simeon Aquino and the LP who adopted her, did she finally let go of her US citizenship.

  19. mikhail hieronymus on

    I agree 100% with you Mr. Yen Makabanta. Seem to me that the two SJ and the CJ Sereno are grasping on straw in their argument or as some critics suspect are under the influence of the administration as a payback for their appointments. It is also an insurance for the departing president if Grace happened to be elected. That’s Philippine politics to all of us!

  20. Atty. Elamparo is really a good lawyer and some credentials to prove it. She really did well in the oral argument against Grace Poe but the real problem is the justices appointed by Pnoy including CJ Lourdes Sereno. These group will never listen to her argument no matter how factual are the reasons because someone in the Palace have a tall order to manipulate to outcome. Let just hope that Justice Antonio Carpio and his gang will stood firm against outside pressures to uphold our constitution to disqualify Grace Poe.

  21. Thank you for this informative article about Atty Elamporo. Totally agree that she’s lovelier than Grace Poe and more brilliant than Sereno. May the Filipino voters be fully convinced that Llamanzares is ambitious and dishonest.