A petition to disqualify Grace Poe has been lodged by my pal, Dean Amado Valdez, with whom I am normally in agreement — and am I surprised when we differ. He contends that the Senator is not qualified in the 2016 presidential elections on the following grounds:
1. Assuming that Grace Poe was a natural-born citizen, she lost her status as natural-born when she
Renounced her Filipino citizenship in 2001 to become an American citizen. She never regained her natural born status. At best, she is a repatriated Filipino citizen under RA 9225.
It seems to me being a natural-born Filipino is a one-time permanent thing. As Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion taught us in senior law, a natural-born Filipino “is one born a Filipino.” One is born only once. That concept, to me, is unchanging. One is a natural-born Pinoy, Martian or Manchurian Candidate. Losing one’s natural-born status seems an impossibility, like losing my birthplace of Mauban, Quezon, my sainted mother, my birth date, etc. Immutable. We cannot square the circle.
2. She has not completed her ten-year residency reckoned, at the earliest, from july, 2006 when she re-acquired her Filipino citizenship, and at the latest on 20 october 2010 when she renounced her American citizenship.
Residence was required to make sure one was aware of what was going on in the community and the country. For a caring Pinoy, that is now the easiest thing to do, without being physically present. We are talking of only a few months and therefore the issue has de minimis significance, if at all. The intent of the law is to exclude a stranger and a newcomer, unacquainted with the conditions and needs of the community and not identified with the latter. That may well be but it represents the best thinking of a jurassic era.
When I was in Rizal High, I would walk two or three kilometers for lunch at home and to catch the one o’clock Sports Parade of Willie Hernandez, to find out how the New York Yankees had fared the day before. Today we can watch sports events world-wide, live. And edifying presidential debates.
I chat with my family at home and then I am told my daughter Lara, with a doctorate in philosophy – children’s studies, now teaching tenure-track in New York, is there, on screen, to chat with her siblings here, live. There is the I-Pod, computer, cellphones, etc.
that make it possible for concerned Pinoys abroad who care to follow daily what goes on here.
Art. 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees against statelessness. Art. 25 says to care for love children. In Makati Elementary, we read about Philip Nolan, The Man Without a Country. Was Grace ever The Woman Without a Country?
I may sound Emotionalized. I prefer Passionate, for all my life I have preferred to be on the side of the one being dumped on and kicked around. Do we kick around a Poe-Lot who comes to this world with two strikes against him/her? Underdogs, weeping alone, my kind of people, for whom I have worked, prayed and fought with that kind of passion that whips the blood.
I don’t want the unelected Commission on Elections and the unelected Supreme Court ruling on the tough issue. Not even the partly elected Senate Electoral Tribunal, whose widely-admired Chair, Justice Tony Carpio, inexplicably and uncharacteristically prejudged Grace’s case on Day One, without waiting for all the arguments to be in, leaving him no wiggle room. He should have waited until after all the evidence and arguments are in.
The choice of who will lead the country is the quintessential political question falling under its second kind.
The concept of “political question” is limited to two: 1) when the matter is exclusively left to a body to decide, like disorderly behavior of a member of Congress for something said say, in a privilege speech; it may be questioned there but not in any other place, such as the courts; or 2) when it is left to the people to decide in their sovereign capacity.
“But where the matter falls under the discretion of another department or especially the people themselves, the decision reached is in the category of a political question and consequently may not be the subject of judicial review.” I. Cruz and C. Cruz, Phil. Political Law 140 (2014).
I may be wrong but I should not have to be blamed for something drilled in me by Chief Justice Concepcion in San Beda and Prof. Albert Sacks in Harvard Law and adopted by Justice Isagani Cruz and his son, Carlo.
Let the sovereign people, the bosses, decide in a society that would be humane under our constitutional preamble.
Am I voting for Grace? Decency I always associate with FPJ and Susan. Osmosis should work and result in Designer Genes.
But, in fact, I have not made up my mind. It’s just that I don’t want any foundling being dumped on and kicked around. Art. 24 of the Civil Code says the system must be vigilant in protecting the handicapped, and ang putok sa buho, which Shakespeare lamented in King Lear, “Why bastard? wherefore base” – merits sympathy, understanding and compassion.
Campaign against her but let her be among the cards to be dealt our people in 2016.
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Letran dumped on San Beda in gloating as reported in the PDI last Saturday. Last Monday, I had lunch with Ting Cuna, a Red Lion in the time of Loyzaga. He recounted that once when Letran beat us by one point for the title, Letran graciously invited San Beda in the celeb-bash. Ting and brother Dading, a Red Lion teammate, went to Muralla. Letran could just have ignored us today but if it really wanted to give credit where credit was due, it could have invited the refs, the blind mice who helped make them win cuz of a miscall or noncall in the dying seconds, with Letran ahead by a point. As fellow biased Bedan Jude Roque wrote: “One expert, a retired FIBA Europe referee, said it best: `A double lane violation can only be called when both rebounders enter at the same time. But this is rarely seen in basketball. There’s always someone who comes in first, and his team gets the violation. Baiting an opponent is not within the spirit of the rules’.”
None of this is to take away anything from Coach Ayo, Mark Cruz & Co., deserving champs. We salute you.