NAVOTAS CITY (Metro Manila) Rep. Tobias Tiangco, interim president of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), who earlier questioned the qualification of Sen. Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares to run for a higher position in 2016, has apologized for causing damage to the friendship between the senator and Vice President Jejomar Binay.
“I apologize for having caused damage to the friendship of the Poe and Binay families,” he told GMA News and CNN Philippines on Friday.
Tiangco said he will heed the call of the Vice President’s daughter, Makati City Rep. Mar-len Abigail Binay “to stop speaking on the matter as this is an issue for the proper courts to decide.”
He went to town on Tuesday and claimed that Poe–who was earlier reported as having been wooed by both the administration and opposition camps to run for a higher post–is not qualified to stand for either the presidency or vice presidency as she lacks the 10-year residency requirement as spelled out in the 1987 Constitution.
Tiangco based his statement on Poe’s certificate of candidacy in the 2013 elections where she indicated 6 years and 6 months in answer to the question, “Period of residence in the Philippines before May 13, 2013.”
“Counting from there, she would be six months short of the requirement in the May 2016 elections,” he said.
Vice President Binay immediately issued a statement, saying he had nothing to do with Tiangco’s moves, sand that he still values his friendship with Poe’s father, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ. Binay served as the elder Poe’s campaign manager when he ran for President in 2004.
Searching for clues
Sen. Poe flew to Iloilo on Friday amid talks about how she was abandoned as a newborn in church in the province and how she ended up getting adopted by Philippine show business royalty FPJ and actress Susan Roces.
Her search for her biological parents has started showing signs of progress after Poe got new information about the identity of her supposed biological father during her visit.
According to Poe, she received information that her father was a certain Edgardo Militar.
The senator said she was told that it was Militar’s brother-in-law who found her inside the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral on September 3, 1968 and took care of her before she was entrusted to the care of Tessie Valencia.
According to the senator, there are two indivuduals who confirmed to her that Militar, who signed her foundling certificate, was her biological father.
But Poe said she still finds the information questionable as it conflicts with another version.
“There are conflicting claims so up to now the stories remain unfounded and it is difficult to believe because nobody can attest that [he is]indeed my biological [father],” she added.
But Poe is not discounting the story as no less than her adoptive mother, Susan Roces, who told her how devastated the Militars were when they tried to see her before they migrated to Canada.
The senator said Militar’s children have expressed willingness to provide DNA samples that could be cross-matched with hers and determine paternity.
Poe, meanwhile, pointed out that her effort to search for her biological parents is not only for her, but for other foundlings in the country whose nationalities are now in question because of the move of some individuals to question her nationality.
“For me, there’s a bigger purpose to this and to other children… We should not discriminate. Nobody has the right to say that you’re just a foundling, therefore, your opportunities and rights are limited,” she said.