Ted Cruz and Grace Poe: eligibility blues

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It is the sort of molehill that Rex Gatchalian, spokesman of Sen. Grace Poe, has the unusual ability to turn into a mountain.

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I refer to the primetime news in the US that, Sen. Ted Cruz, the second leading contender for the US republican presidential nomination, is suddenly under questioning about his eligibility to run for President of the US.

Like Grace Poe, Cruz faces a major constitutional hurdle. And like Grace, he needs a declaratory judgment from a competent court that he is a natural-born American citizen.

Just as he tried to turn the Bautista vs. Guanzon misunderstanding into a full-blown Comelec crisis, Gatchalian could grab this straw and turn it into a press release saying that Senator Cruz’s questioned citizenship will strengthen Senator Poe’s contention that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen.

Where the similarities end

The similarities between the two presidential candidates are only superficial, however. The moment you scratch it, it puffs up in smoke.

Both Grace Poe and Ted Cruz are senators of their respective countries. Both are bidding to be elected President.

Both the US and the Philippines reserve the presidency for natural-born citizens of the republic. The 1987 Philippine Constitution defined what a natural-born citizen is. The
American founding fathers left the issue undefined.

But that is as far as serious facts will allow.

Cruz was born of an American mother in Canada.

Grace Poe was born of parents who are unknown. Her birth is completely shrouded in mystery.

Cruz is a Harvard-trained lawyer, who surged to prominence as a conservative politician from Texas. He is a formidable foe on the debating stage.

Cruz is now favored by the polls to win the Iowa caucus which will be held this February. If he wins as projected by the polls, Trump could have a top-flight rival in the Republican race.

Cruz is totally confident that he is a natural-born American, and therefore qualified to be US President. He sounds all set and confident to argue his way before any court where his opponents will take him.

Grace Poe, by contrast, does not know where citizenship law begins or ends for her. She can cite no law, Filipino or international, to back her claim to being a natural-born Filipino.

In addition, her ten-year residency in the country is under question, as her comings and goings between the US and the Philippines keep tripping her up.

Her only argument is of dubious legality; Philippine courts should classify her as a natural-born Filipino because she is/was a foundling. Out of compassion for all foundlings in the country, they should all be declared Filipino citizens.

No one agrees with her reasoning, however, except the traditional politicians (trapos) who have a vested interest in her candidacy, like Francis Escudero and the nameless senatorial candidates in her ticket.

 Instructive for our own ordeal

The eligibility question confronting Senator Cruz is instructive for our own ordeal regarding Grace Poe’s persistence to run for President.

Consider the exchange between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz on the citizenship of Senator Cruz.

Republican frontunner Donald J. Trump sharply escalated his rhetoric about Senator Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be President last Saturday, by suggesting that because he was born in Canada there were unanswered questions about whether he met the constitutional requirement to be a “natural-born citizen.’’

“You can’t have a person who’s running for office, even though Ted is very glib and he goes
out and says ‘Well, I’m a natural-born citizen,’ but the point is you’re not,” Mr. Trump said while campaigning in Clear Lake, Iowa.

Mr. Cruz was born in Calgary, Canada, to an American mother, which automatically conferred American citizenship. Most legal experts agree that this satisfies the requirement to be a “natural-born citizen,’’ a term that was not defined by the founding fathers of America.

Mr. Trump, who began raising questions about Mr. Cruz’s ability to be President earlier in the week, said on Saturday that Mr. Cruz would have to go to court to get a “declaratory judgment” about his eligibility “or you have a candidate who just cannot run.’’ (Mr. Cruz could need a judgment if someone filed a lawsuit to challenge his candidacy and a court agreed to take up the question.)

Mr. Cruz’s response to Trump’s jabbing is crisp: He says: “Under longstanding federal law, the child of a US citizen born abroad is a natural-born citizen.”

“You’re seeing candidates trying to throw whatever rocks they can,” he said. “That’s fine, that’s their prerogative. I like Donald Trump, I respect Donald Trump. He’s welcome to toss whatever attacks he wants.”

But Trump has a serious point to make, If Cruz runs and wins the US presidency, he would be the first President who was not born in the United States or in US territory.

We citizens have rights too

If Senator Cruz’s predicament reaches the courts, he has a better than even chance that he and his lawyers can win the argument in court.

Not being born in the US is an issue that will be used by opponents like Trump to advantage on the campaign trail.

Senator Grace Poe’s predicament, by contrast, appears to have no leg to stand on. Every legal argument put up in her defense, by characters as varied as former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and her lawyers, has been battered senseless by the chorus of legal arguments rained on it – in the public square and in social media.

At the Supreme Court, it is more than likely that she will lose all three disqualification cases against her in the High Court.

She could lose the appeal of the decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal. And she could also lose the two Comelec disqualification cases she appealed to the SC.

In the first, she could be stripped of her position as a senator of the republic. In the two other cases, the court could order the invalidation of her candidacy for President.

I must confess that my writing on Grace Poe is now impelled by sheer annoyance over her insistence in running for the presidency. As a citizen who is descended from an authentic veteran and officer of the Philippine revolution and the Spanish-American War (fully documented in books), I do not understand how a person of such unknown identity and origins can succeed in discombobulating our preparations for the May 2016 elections.
People with real credentials as Filipino citizens also have rights that must be respected by those who covet our prerogatives and privileges.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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13 Comments

  1. Nowadays after GMA, the philippines corrupt government want to field a Low IQ leader so they can manipulate and plunder the taxpayer money to their interest..Maybe Binay was so bright that’s why ,they do all possible thing to stop him and placed a dummy as a leader like POE. Roxas.. If a low IQ leader was elected,I don’t really surprice how that happened..Watched more fiction movies like FPJ to educate your political knowledge as what GPL trying to show to the people as a hero

  2. Dami ninyo satsat..

    Try nyo tumakbo agains her for sure Grace Poe will be choosen by the Filipino People against you insecure patriotic kuno…. in short walang gamot sa insecurity

  3. Grace Poe is simply delusional in her arrogant quest to be our President. One could just imagine a president like her who in her stubborn desire to be one will disobey what is in the very fundamentals of constitution of the country. She does not posses the true heart of a leader who will gracefully exit and look for other ways to serve the Filipino people, if that is really the reason she is bent on running. Her candidacy is propelled by the likes of the politically shrewd Escudero who wants a avail of the shortest distance to the presidency he so covets and his minions of unknown senatorial candidates who desire to hitch their wagons to a star they think of Grace.

    • Arrogant and delusional, yes, Llamanzares, the American, is! Stubborn also, yes! She has been disqualified by COMELEC yet she persists in dictating her wish in how the SC justices should run the courts. What a broad!

  4. Leodegardo Pruna on

    The law is the law no matter how harsh. The team of disgraced GRACE is extra digging her political demise. God bless the Philippines.

  5. laguatanlawzen.com on

    Grace P. Llamanzares is annoyingly stubborn and stupid even if the people behind her has a clear intent to manipulate her for their personal benefit. She cannot distinguish between facts and myth.

  6. It is true that Grace Poe lies in her declaration to run as President, and even as she did when she run as Senator. It is clear to an unbiased mind that her expulsion from the Senate and disqualification to run as President is imminent.

    Like Yen Makabenta, I am appalled at the sheer stupidity of the traditional politicians around her to support a cause that is clearly lost in the midst of legal submissions and analysis by parties who know the laws of our country.

    And I am also surprised at the large support that Grace Poe generates, considering that she is not someone who has done anything truly laudable in public and private life, such as in the profession, in business, in government, in the arts, in academe.

  7. Senator Poe is qualified to run and she can enjoy the presumption of being a natural-born citizen unless somebody can prove otherwise. The burden of proof is not on her.

    • When you apply for a job, you have to prove those facts you state in your application form. She is applying for a job as President. Hence, it is incumbent on her to prove that she qualifies based on the requirements of our Constitution. If not, she has on her own out of sheer delicadeza to withdraw her application. You can not apply for a Project Manager that requires an engineering degree or experience if you are a teacher who finished an Education degree. Just because it is a diploma you hold does not mean that all diploma are the same.

    • the reason why we want an SC decision . . .. the TRO is not winning verdict but ONLY
      allowing her to be heard . . . am praying that the decision is not gray as what chiz hopes that “let the people decides”

  8. Like this writer, I am also annoyed by the insistence and arrogance of Grace Poe. She is acting as if she is the ‘savior’ of the Filipinos. She should look closely at the person she sees in the mirror every morning and ask, “are you really that capable and able to govern this country?” Quite frankly, her qualification to run for president will mean “frustration” to many, like myself, who for the past few years, have just regained their right to vote in our beloved Philippines.

    There’s nothing personal about her person, but she’s just too confident as if she is the ‘hoper’ of the Filipinos. In a way, she is ‘belittling’ the ability of other capable leaders of the country. Her education and employment track record is NOTHING compared to many government and business leaders. She is just a ‘TOOL’ of power brokers, which she may not be aware of. Or, she is just power hungry. There’s MORE than.desire and heart to be a good leader in a country like the Philippines. It also involves more of unquestionable love of country, belief in the fundamental law of the land and undying nationalism from birth to death, which she did NOT and CANNOT have because of her being a “half-cooked” Filipino nationality.

    With Grace Poe Llamanzares, may God bless the Philippines; may God bless the Filipinos.