When I wrote two successive columns on the subject of character and the presidency, I thought that it was a good way to send Grace Poe into exile from this column for a spell. It would be more prudent and kind to readers to leave her citizenship conundrum to the ministration of other pundits and the Supreme court, who know the law better than I.
I confess to being exhausted mentally by Ms. Poe’s haunting of our national politics, because I could not see any compelling reason why the nation and serious journalism should spend so much time on her. I could not see any qualities or attributes of character in the lady, no single sterling achievement, that would make her suitable as a possible successor to President Benigno BS. Aquino 3rd. I saw no difference in vacuity of persona between the false choice offered by her adoptive father Fernando Poe, Jr. in 2004, and the false choice she is offering us now. I see only missing parts and blanks in their backgrounds.
Sometimes I wish we could just apply the words of Winston Churchill to this lady. Winston Churchill in a radio broadcast in October 1939, said of Russia, the following:
“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”
Ms. Poe would probably delight in being called a riddle, a mystery, and an enigma. Who is the woman who can resist being described in this way?
But for this I now have a reply, thanks to an epiphany that came to me from nowhere yesterday.
Jane Doe instead of Grace Poe
This revelation suggested to me that because of Ms. Poe’s total failure to substantiate her claim of Filipino citizenship, it would be more fitting and proper to now refer to her as Jane Doe in public records and in journalism, as is the practice in the United States, Canada, and most English-speaking countries, with respect to persons, living or dead, whose identity is unknown.
Jane Doe has the advantage of even rhyming with Grace Poe. It is preferable to calling her “Juana de la Cruz,” which might offend people surnamed de la Cruz, who have no problem with their citizenship.
The names “John Doe” for men, and “Jane Doe” for women, are used as placeholder names for a party whose true identity is unknown or must be withheld in a legal action, case, or discussion. The names are also used to refer to a corpse or hospital patient whose identity is unknown.
Similarly, a child or baby whose identity is unknown may be referred to as Baby Doe.
So here I am called to the breach once again, dear friends, to write about the haunting of our national politics by Jane Doe, a.k.a. Grace Poe. Aka stands for ‘also known as.”
The placeholder name brings a sense of relief, but only a momentary one.
One more SC justice succumbs
What really impelled my change of tack are two excellent pieces of journalism that were published and posted within a day of each other during the last two days.
1. The first is the column of my colleague Kit Tatad, which appeared in yesterday’s edition of the Manila Times. Entitled “Crossing the line in the Llamanzares case,” it discussed and analyzed the declaration of one more justice of the Supreme Court, Francis Jardeleza, that he is a partisan of Grace Poe, and ready to rule that she is a natural- born Filipino.
I awaited this column eagerly because I knew that Tatad attended last Tuesday’s round of oral arguments on Ms. Poe’s disqualification cases at the Supreme Court.
I expected him to recount blow-by-blow what transpired in the day’s proceedings. He would analyze what they portend for Ms. Poe’s case.
Tycoon and Aquino pressuring SC
2. The second piece of journalism is a report by veteran journalist Charlie Manalo, published in the Daily Tribune on February 11. Headlined “SC justices pressured to qualify Poe – sources,” the report said that “the pressure on the Supreme Court justices is on, big time, to have Sen. Grace Poe declared a natural-born Filipino qualified to run for the presidency.”
Manalo said that two reliable Tribune sources had told him (1) that a big businessman, said to be bankrolling Poe’s presidential run, has been exerting pressure on the Supreme Court through a third
party, an influential politician, known to the SC justices as a “fixer”; and (2) that President Aquino has been applying pressure on his five appointees to the Supreme Court (now six with his latest appointee), to get them to qualify Poe for her presidential run.
Manalo said that the two-pronged full-court press may be succeeding, because the latest estimates indicate that the count of justices may be swinging in Ms. Poe’s favor. The combination of the business lobby and presidential pressure may be too hard for the SC justices to resist.
A menace to the Republic
These two reports are extremely alarming. Consequently, I am constrained to get out of my temporary foxhole and return to the arena.
I believe that the nation is confronted here by nothing less than a challenge to its constitutional foundations. No institution is safe from the predatory machinations of business and political forces. With President Aquino obsessed to free himself from answering formal charges for high crimes and misdemeanors during his presidency, the May elections could be forcibly manipulated.
Nothingless than the rule of law and our constitutional government are now on the line.
Jane Doe , a.k.a Grace Poe, is now a menace to the republic.