• Seeing through Grace


    I NEVER liked the idea of Grace Poe running for President in 2016 – it seems too early, she seems too unprepared. There’s just too little she’s done for any of us to decide that she is worthy. Yes, she might not be corrupt, but neither is the current President.

    That hasn’t gotten us very far, has it?
    An aside: this is not to say I know who I’m voting for, or if I’m voting at all. Jejomar Binay is pro-ChaCha and pro-mining; Mar Roxas will continue Matuwid Na Daan even as we’ve proven the mess that it is; Rodrigo Duterte takes pride in the human rights abuses he has committed in Davao; Miriam Defensor-Santiago seems too sick to deserve my vote. And then there is Poe.

    Fact and spin
    Now that the questions about her citizenship and residency are haunting her campaign, one can’t help but wonder why this isn’t enough of a sign for Poe to actually think of a graceful exit. She could then spend another six years in the Senate (for sure she will win in the next Senatorial elections anyway) to change that part of the Constitution that disallows her from running at this point in time.

    Then when she runs in 2022, no one can say she has not put in the work, no one can say she has not earned her stripes, no one can say it’s too much too soon, too PNoy.

    The fact is that Poe’s papers are a mess, and the stories about her adoption by Susan Roces and Fernando Poe Jr., multiple. None of this helps her case, especially since the law is clear on this one.

    A person who is not a natural born citizen, i.e., whose parents are not proven to be Filipino citizens, cannot run for president. The specific narrative that surrounds Poe’s adoption by Roces and FPJ, the urban legends and the “real” stories, keeps her from being treated as natural born – because there’s no clear sense of who her parents are, and whether or not they are even Filipinos.

    Neither does it help Poe’s case that she has two different birth certificates: one that says she’s a foundling, and another that says she is the daughter of Roces and FPJ. Any other citizen with different data on their papers, or with two different birth certificates in circulation, would be given hell by our institutions – government and otherwise.

    The spin that Poe’s camp has used is the idea that she – and therefore all adopted children – are being marginalized by the system. That is true, but it is the law. To insist that she should be allowed to run regardless, and allow people to choose, just makes it a recipe for disaster later on: it will be so easy to unseat her since the law ain’t on her side.

    Fact: Poe is already in the position to change that system from within, change that law while she’s senator, so that in 2022, she can run for president. No questions about her residency, no questions about her citizenship, her birth certificates fixed, her parentage proven to be Filipino.

    Like love, may tamang panahon ang pagtakbo para presidente. Poe and her supporters should see the writing on the wall.

    Failed distractions
    What confuses me even more is the fact that the Left who stand behind Poe are the ones who insist that she should be allowed to run, the law notwithstanding, let the people choose.

    I have high respect for many in the Left, but this rhetoric confuses me because it is also the militant Left organizations who fall back on the law and the Constitution at any given time, when it is most convenient, when it is about the struggle for people’s rights. It is from the Left that I learned to look at what is said on paper, and who is responsible for the protection of and service to citizens.

    And then to handle Poe’s PR the way we have seen the Liberal Party handle theirs – that just confuses me even more. Where in the midst of these very valid concerns over Poe’s citizenship, and the insistence that we ignore the law, what we are being treated to is the celebratory pats on Poe’s back, for her recently articulated stance against the contractualization of labor, and in favor of tax reform.

    It seems to be too little too late, doesn’t it? All the other presidentiables (save for Mar Roxas) have taken the same stand. It is far from being new, far from making Poe the right choice.

    What it reveals too at this point in time is that these soundbites are being used as a distraction, from the bigger more important issue that hounds Poe’s campaign.

    The strategy is so Liberal Party that it hurts me to watch Poe and her supporters using it. Because I trust that they are also more intelligent than this, that they must know that the law is clear, and there are no ifs and buts about it: Poe is not qualified to run for president at this point in time.

    Nor does the display of feistiness and daring really work at this point, because what it shows us all is how defensive Poe has become, how bratty (and I daresay, very PNoy!) dismissing the disqualification cases to be a matter of her rivals, namely Liberal Party’s Roxas and UNA’s Binay, messing with her candidacy. Pointing out that they have much to gain from her disqualification.

    But actually we have much to gain from her graceful exit. She would prove to be a class act, conceding to what the Constitution says, and vowing that she will work on changing that law in her next six years in the Senate. We have much to gain, if we were allowed to watch Senator Poe come into her own, in equal parts feisty and intelligent, fighting for the causes that she had taken a stand for during her proclamation speech. That would make 2022 the presidential election to look forward to.

    And 2016? Well. Chiz Escudero could replace Poe as standard bearer of their Partido Pilipinas, and then it would be a four-men-and-a-woman race, where all of them are on equal footing, with years of service and credentials to boot, and it would then truly be a race, beyond the surveys and the press releases.

    If Poe had the sense to exit gracefully, she would be giving us all an election worth thinking about, and participating in. Instead of a moro-moro where we are forced to choose among the lesser of evils.


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    1. On the question about the Maoist Left’s participation in Ms. Llamanzareses campaign, it is not surprising! It has always been a part of their “mass-line” ideology to align themselves with any party that they think can help them advance their own ideological objectives and strategic campaigns. They are playing a chameleon’s game of blending in while playing the card of opportunism in their quest to eventually gain power for themselves in some future time. We often label traditional politicians as nothing more than opportunists and political clowns. But you know what, the Maoist Left (and all other Leftist camps, e.g. Trostkyist, Marxist-Leninist, etc) are no different. Their language and antics may be different, but they do play the same game. Oh well, at least they’re advancing an ideological line, no matter how mechanical and wrong it is as has been shown by history. Just like the trapos, they only have on thing in their sight – tricking the populace and capturing their imagination so that they can gain power and impose their own totalitarian brand of government. If Fascists are on the extreme Right side of the capital, the Maoist Left (along with other camps in the Left) are on the extreme Left side of the capital. Hence, they are often labelled by ComLefts as the other face of the same anti-proletarian totalitarian coin – the Left of the Capital.

      Just look at how they took advantage of the Partylist system. The split up their camp into various mini-camps so they can get as many seats as possible in congress, much the same way as the elite and other opportunists camp in our society is doing. So what we have now is government that is so weak and so divided that it cannot whether a storm from within. How much more a cyclone from without like the imperialist challenge that China is doing in our backyard…

      Believe me, in the end the people in the Left that you happen to highly respect are also just using Ms. Llamanzares and her camp for their own interests, the same way that her camp are trying to use the Left to their advantage. In other words, gamitan laang ang lahat! A zarzuela that is no different than what we can see in other traditional political camps! No wonder you can see them singing them different tunes. The Left calling Mr. Aquino’s ‘Tuwid Na Daan’ as ‘Huwad na Daan’, his so-called “Malayo na ang narating” as “Walang Pagbabago” or “Mas Lalong Naghihirap ang Mamayang Filipino”, while Mrs. Llamanzares was saying the opposite, even crediting the President here and there. Mrs. Llamanzares is open to changing the economic provisions of the constitution to attract foreign investments while the Left opposing in the guise of nationalism and wanting instead a more archaic and Leftist policy of protectionism. Not surprising really as it is a politics of convenience for both camps. Even in Mrs. Llamanzares own circle, they sing different tunes. She is campaigning against Dynasties while her VP is a part of it.

      Anyway, kudos to your splendid way of bringing to light shades of grey that are often mistaken by others, especially by Mrs. Llamanzareses supporters, as truth.

    2. Sometimes even intelligent person does not know how to use their common sense. There is nothing wrong to be ambitious, but if an individual is trying to right the wrong, that’s what we call opportunism. There’s a lot of people who is trying to poison her mind for their political ambition especially Escudero, he knew that he can’t win next year election without Grace Poe, and a lot of people already invested on her with their time and money and about face is not a priority.

    3. First, you are not the Supreme Court. Let Grace Poe fight her legal battle up to the Supreme Court to have a definite decision on the status of foundlings.

      Second, it seems you don’t know the issue based on what you have written. If Grace Poe will withdraw, the Supreme Court will dismiss all cases and will say it is moot and academic since Grace Poe withdrew.

      Third, if Supreme Court decides against Grace Poe what will be her position after that? None! She will no longer be the Senator Grace Poe.

      Why not let her fight her battle and to close this issue until SC decides.

      • Dear Ms. Katrina. A graceful exit that you so strongly advice would be sensible if only Ms. Grace would be given a fare chance of proving the allegations against her not by mere words but by documents being presented. It’s just that these judges are not fare enough to accept her documents for them to evaluate and verify whether it (these documents) are sensible or not. Why deny the person of proving herself thru documents being submitted. You speak about what the constitution says… is it not what the constitution says about accepting all documents being submitted instead of denying these documents (even if it has not been evaluated and verified yet?) Let these judges accept the documents presented by Ms. Grace and have them evaluated and verified and after such process, may there be a graceful exit if evaluated and verified to be senseless.

    4. For me it is not a question of natural born citizen or not. It is the act of renouncing your Filipino citizenship to be an American citizen. By this act, it shows that you decided in your heart and soul that you do not want to be a Filipino. When an opportunity arise, then you decided to be a Filipino again. For me I can conclude that you are a traitor on both country, United States and Republic of the Philippines.

    5. Most excellent observations, Ms Santiago, of Grace Llamanzares (Sorry but I refuse to address her as Poe because it would be dignifying her stinking ‘name recognition strategy’ to her advantage). I agree with you 100% because somehow I share the same thoughts with you point by point as if you were speaking for me. I am hoping that many of our country men will read your column so they will be enlightened. I know many of them love our country but somehow and maybe due to confusion too, they will not be able to make an informed decision come voting time. But I believe there is a God who is not asleep and He is still in control. Apolinario Mabini admonishes us, in his ‘Decalogue,’ to “Have faith in the Divine Providence that guides the destinies of men and nations…” Choose the lesser evil? I, too, am confused, I need some Divine guidance.

    6. Poe is the only one among the candidate whose sincerity to serve the other for are veteran of foul play, corruption, connection, trapo, and amassing wealth and party benifits rather than country.

    7. Why you never mention Grace Poe was America citizens for 2001 to 2011? She just gave up 4 years ago. If she’s patriotic she wouldn’t give up her Filipino citizenship. I bit her children and husband still American passport holder not Filipinos passport.

    8. Where have you been? Do you know that one must be a natural-born Filipino to run for a senatorial seat? Mr. R. David’s petition against Mrs Grace Poe Llamanzares has been forwarded to the Supreme Court. Should the SET decision on Mrs. Llamanzares’ citizenship be reversed by this Court (i.e., she will be declared not to a natural-born Filipino), she will be kicked out from her senate seat, and will not be able to run again as a senatorial candidate. Thus, your scenario that she should finish her current senate term, then serve another six years as senator during which which she would try to change the law to allow her to run for the presidency in 2022 will not materialize. How can she serve another six years in the senate when she will be ineligible to run?

      And if you really think that the law can easily be changed for the benefit of someone
      such as Mrs. Llamanzares, I have a bridge to sell you.

    9. mam, just a reminder, you forgot that poe n chiz are independent candidates, thus, could not avail of substitution, since only those running under a party are allowed to do so.

    10. mikhail hieronymus on

      Kidding aside, GPL is not a presidential timber to reckon with now or in the future. As we see her unrevealed herself before us all, she is no different from other so called: TRAPO.

      Maybe it is not a sin, but she is too AMBITIOUS, she is a LIAR, and now she is acting like a wounded, blind warrior swinging her weapon at anything that moves.

      She knows she is drowning, and she is now grabbing at the proverbial straw in the hope that she might get lucky. Sorry Grace. Your personal ambition did you in. You just showed us your real character.

      BTW. ..m/s Katrina Stuart Santiago; as always, your writings and articles are straight and to the point.