I AM back from the hospital, far from well, but able to walk from bed to computer. Not much else I can do though.
Many fine patriotic minds I respect continue to differ on whether Grace Poe and Digong Duterte qualify to run for Prez. If the issue is valid, then campaign against, and not vote for, them. It is a campaign, not legal, issue. The more, the merrier.
A type of political question courts cannot touch is one left to the people, in their sovereign capacity, to decide. I submit that the issue of who will lead us in 2016-22 is, with all due respect, too important to leave to the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the Commission on Elections, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, or the Supreme Court, to decide. The People should.
In Tañada v. Cuenco, 100 Phil 1101 (1957), the Supreme Court said that a political question “connotes what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, . . .”
Prudential considerations favor Grace and Digong, in my view. No policy choice higher than choosing a prez.
Grace – who got 20,337,327 votes in 2013, from electors who did not suspect she was not one of us. I have had a lifelong sympathy, as a human rights advocate, for perceived losers, for the handicapped. She was a pulot, in Jaro, Iloilo, for whom the law should be biased under Art. 24 of the Civil Code, in our society that would be “humane,” in our Constitution’s Preamble. An abandoned love child comes to this world with two strikes against him; I won’t join anyone dumping or piling on him. “Ikaw, pulot, anak sa labas, putok sa buho, patunayan mo kung sino ang magulang mo. Pinoy ba?” Cruel, insensitive and unreasonable. Less than fair, from where I sit.
I won’t commit today to vote for her, either. A week is a long time in politics. Harold Wilson.
Let the People reject her, in the ballot box, not some agency meandering in the bowels of our bureaucracy.
But, I posit that Grace is a natural-born Pinoy in the sense defined by Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, in our class, “one born a citizen.” I do not see her as a natural-born born Martian smuggled in surreptitiously as an infant. She looks and talks like many of us, she laughs. Probability is the one witness who never lies or errs.
No fair to demand that Poe-Lot prove that she was not a natural-born Manchurian.
She attended Assumption, UP and Boston College (as my late Dulce did).
One perceived to have been elected has legitimacy, vital in trying to lead an arguably ungovernable nation of more than 100M conejos.
So let the voter, as a particle of popular sovereignty, decide who we will next punish to try to lead unleadable us, a nation of scofflaws.
Grace’s residence? Short by a few months, if that? This jurassic standard was meant to make sure one is familiar with the problems of her turf. But, one can keep track today of local conditions even when abroad, by radio-TV, computer, fax, mobile phones, email, ipods, etc.. No more American President Lines or old propeller craft. One can fly from Manila to San Franco nonstop in a little over 12 hours. So, el sitio nada importa. The place does not matter. That is why it is easy to accept that a promdi Cong staying mostly in Metro Manila, where he may have a second home (and family?), qualifies as a Cong representing some faraway place with a strange-sounding name.
It is important the next Prez, whoever he/she may be, enjoy the widest, biggest mandate.
Let not the SET, Comelec, SC, but the People, as particles of popular sovereignty, decide.
Are the sovereign people to be factored in on human rights? The UN Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated on December 10, 1948. Sidelined, say some observers. It seems to me all candidates should be asked where they stand on the issue, which we hope they can tell from a hole in the ground.
Anyway, it is not nice to say to any foundling who looks and sounds like us, “you are stateless,” in a society that would be humane, and should not impose inhumane, even impossible, burdens. A foundling cannot prove who abandoned and maybe rejected him or her.
If the cycle is savagery, civilization and decay, who among the aspirants has the fast lane to the third?
[Note from Opinion Editor: We apologize to readers and Columnist Saguisag for moving his column from Page 4. The column will be in its normal place next Friday.]