MY column last Thursday (“Is Grace Poe an identity thief as well?”, Times, March 3, 2016) raised a ruckus. It drew a lot of comment and attention.
I must place on record and assign credit where it is due. The expose was the work entirely of Tribune editor in chief Ninez Cacho-Oli vares, who dug up the story and wrote it. I merely commented on it because of its serious implications about the character of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares.
Many readers confirmed the veracity of Ms Olivares’s findings by looking up US social security records themselves.
The defense put up by Ms Poe’s camp, notably by her spokesman, Rex Gatchalian, was pathetic. It offered the blatant lie that the stolen social security number was her school ID at Boston College.
Ms. Olivares destroyed this defense in her riposte yesterday.
Readers in the US took a keen interest in the controversy. I received one letter from the HR manager of one US company: Rey Tupas Prado.
Mr. Prado wrote:
“As the chief HR Executive for two company brands of Sikorsky Aircraft (a Lockheed Martin company – see link below for more info) I state unequivocally that Grace Poe is unemployable in the United States without clarifying this issue.
“All applicants would get a background check and two numbers from 1 person will be red flagged and we would be required to report it to the SS Administration for their disposition.
“Consequently, it is reasonable to believe that Grace Poe, never worked in the U.S. if she had two SSNs. If she had, having inaccurate SSNs is a termination offense upon discovery.
“Her use of SSN, can also be verified by having them produce their IRS tax forms for the related years. Even if you didn’t have income, a tax return is required…
“We live and die with our SSN. Credit cards, mortgages, jobs, medical records etc.
“I state unequivocally, that Grace Poe would have a lot of explaining to do if she was here in the U.S.”
If Grace were born in Spanish times
Reader Gil Ramos, who holds a doctorate in economics from the University of Hawaii, sent me a fascinating letter which told an intriguing story. It makes me wish that Grace Poe was born and found instead during Spanish times.
Dr. Ramos wrote:
“When foundlings are left in the camp of the guardia civil they are christened ‘de los Reyes’ because the guardia civil are in fact the King’s Guards and it is presumed that one of the king’s men must have fathered the child.
“If a foundling is left in a church, the child is christened ‘de los Santos’ since priests are generally seen as in the company of the saints. Whether it is also presumed that a priest may have fathered the child I do not really know but Rizal’s novels seem to imply that this was a common occurrence during Spanish times.
“If the child is left neither with the guardia civil nor the church then the child is christened ‘de la Cruz’ since only God knows the origins of the child or who may have fathered the child.
“Poe or Jane Doe or Roe as Yen Makabenta would have it, should have been christened Grace de los Santos based on this story.”
The story needs validation from ecclesiastical authorities and historians to be given credence.
This certainly does not mean that if you are surnamed “De los Reyes”, “De los Santos”, or “De la Cruz”, you are descended from a foundling.
EDSA stands for Epifanio de los Santos. He was a noted Filipino writer (he wrote in Spanish), historian, jurist, and literary critic and was a great collector of Filipiniana. He held the position of director of the Philippine library and museum during the American era.
Was Grace legally adopted?
Another letter specimen comes from reader Nemesio Diamante, who raises an important point about Ms. Poe’s alleged adoption by the movie-star couple Fernando Poe, Jr. and Susan Roces.
Mr. Diamante wrote:
“We know the fact that Sen. Poe is a foundling adopted by the couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces. What is not clear to me is what is the status of Grace Poe’s adoption. Did it go through the legal process which requires publication (if I am not mistaken, at least three weekly issues) and court decision? I have not heard that the couple adopted a child.
“If her adoption was just simulated, Senator Poe will have a very big problem. Simulated adoption is a crime and the issue about Ms. Poe’s citizenship and residency will not only be moot and academic but void from the beginning.
“Even if she wins, her presidency will be a fraud and will create more chaos. Did she submit proof of legal adoption to Comelec?”
From what I could gather from all the stories and commentaries, Ms. Poe did not submit proof of being legally adopted.
Citizenship is not like a piece of clothing
The fourth letter I will highlight here comes from Reader Protacio Mercado (no relation of Dr. Jose Rizal, whose name was originally Mercado).
Mr. Mercado wrote:
“I believe besides being a foundling, the fact that Grace Poe had at one time renounced her Philippine citizenship to become a U.S. citizen means that she lost her status as a natural-born citizen (assuming she was one in the first place) forever.
“What she acquired when she took the oath of allegiance to the Philippines under dual citizenship law is naturalized Filipino citizenship. A foreigner (like Grace Poe after becoming a U.S. citizen) may only acquire Philippine citizenship by naturalization as allowed by law (in her case the dual citizenship law or RA 9225). Under the Constitution she belongs to ‘Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.’ Allowing a natural-born citizen to retain the status of being natural-born even after renouncing Philippine citizenship will debase the value of our citizenship. The implication is that you may renounce your citizenship as many times as you want and still get back the same status as natural-born by merely taking the oath of allegiance. Like a piece of clothing which you may wear now, remove tomorrow, wear again whenever it suits you. This is unfair to those natural-born citizens who have never renounced their citizenship.”
Mr. Mercado raises a good point with which I completely agree. We should guard more jealously our legacy of natural-born citizenship from usurpers like Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares, and from justices who want to bestow it on every foundling.