What honest elections are we talking about?


The Commission on Elections describes the 151-day “election period,” which began yesterday, as “the span of time during which the Comelec exercises extraordinary powers for the purpose of ensuring honest, orderly and peaceful election.” These include a gun ban, the setting up of checkpoints, particularly in so-called “hot spots,” and active police action against “private armed groups,” etc., but nothing that would make the automated voting under Smartmatic more transparent and credible.

The Comelec had three years from the May 13, 2013 election to the May 9 election this year to ensure a clean, honest, transparent and credible election. The first order of priority was to restore all the security and safety features and accuracy mechanisms, which were illegally removed from the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine in 2010 and 2013, and for the Ombudsman to prosecute all those involved in this crime. But there is no sign of any of these until now. So what “honest, orderly and peaceful election” are we talking about?

Focus on candidates
Except for a small militant group that believes the security and safety features and accuracy mechanisms of the voting machine are prejudicial to the validity of the elections, the general public appears to be more focused on the presidential candidates. Can Malacañang and the LP camp still stop Vice President Jejomar Binay’s dramatic rise in the perception of the masses? Can Sen. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares survive the Comelec en banc ruling disqualifying her as a presidential candidate and canceling her Certificate of Candidacy for not being a natural-born Filipino and failing to meet the 10-year residency requirement prior to the May 9 election? Will Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, whose COC is under question, not be also disqualified?

President B. S. Aquino 3rd is said to be firmly committed to Roxas and will do everything to make him win. There is no perceptible plan for an honest election, but the popular impression is that because PNoy owes him, he will pull out all the stops to ensure his election. PNoy was machine-elected in 2010 after Mar, the long declared presidential wannabe, slid to the number two position, only to be beaten by former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay. That sacrifice deserves PNoy’s most profound gratitude and the highest loyalty medal.

The Binay groundswell
But Mar’s chances of being machine-elected a la PNoy have suddenly dimmed after Binay shot back to top position despite a year of sustained vilification by the attack dogs of Malacañang. Long “undecided” and reticent community workers have since started declaring open support for the Vice President. The groundswell, among those who still believe in the elections, has been nothing short of phenomenal.

But where Binay is beginning to look unstoppable, Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares is beginning to look impossible. She insists on running for President despite her not being a natural-born citizen and lacking the 10-year residency requirement prior to the day of the May 9 election. She knows she is not eligible, but she and her financiers seem to believe that for the “right price,” they could do anything with our Constitution, laws and jurisprudence, and the fiercest consciences on the bench will approve.

Ending Grace Poe
Two actions seek to end Mrs. Llamanzares’s political career. A quo warranto petition filed by Rizalito David before the Senate Electoral Tribunal seeks to unseat her from the Senate for not being a natural-born citizen. All three Supreme Court Justices on the nine-member tribunal had voted to unseat her for that very reason, even though her five Senate colleagues had voted in her favor, without considering the Constitution. (In my last column, I inadvertently included the residency issue in the SET case; I tried to correct that error, but the correction “failed to send.” I apologize for it.)

Through his counsel Manuelito Luna, David has raised the SET ruling before the Supreme Court on a petition for certiorari, alleging grave abuse of discretion, amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. This is set for oral arguments before the High Court on Jan. 19.

On the other hand, the Comelec has already disqualified Mrs. Llamanzares as a presidential candidate and canceled her CoC for not being a natural-born citizen and for failing to meet the 10-year residency requirement prior to the May 9 election. This en banc decision confirmed the rulings of the First and Second Divisions on four separate petitions, of which I am one of the petitioners. But in response to the respondent’s plea, Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno has provisionally restrained its implementation. I have asked the Court to dismiss the respondent’s petition for certiorari and dissolve the TRO so that the Comelec ruling could finally run.

Solgen vs himself
In these two cases before the High Court, both the SET and the Comelec have a right to be represented by the government’s chief legal counsel – Solicitor General Florin Hilbay. But because the decisions of the two institutions are opposed to each other, they cannot both be represented by the same lawyer. Hilbay’s wisest move would be to desist from representing either, or to represent the institution whose assailed ruling is best anchored on the Constitution, the law and jurisprudence. This means the Comelec, rather than the electoral tribunal.

Unfortunately, he chose to represent the SET, prompting the Comelec to call on two of its commissioners – Arthur D. Lim and Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon – to represent it at the Supreme Court proceedings. This has provoked certain unseemly speculations. Hilbay is aiming for a Supreme Court appointment, and presumably would like to please PNoy to earn his appointment. Is this compatible with taking the side of Mrs. Llamanzares, whose candidacy represents a threat to Roxas, PNoy’s own candidate? It just doesn’t wash, unless PNoy is actually committed to helping Llamanzares, or some other secret scenario has yet to unfold, or unless Hilbay’s secret instruction or intention is to make sure Llamanzares is completely out.

Whatever his motivations, Hilbay’s decision to defend a position that trashes the clear provisions of the Constitution in favor of other considerations is likely to shift our focus farther away from the real issues. Hilbay is reputedly more interested in “unplugging” the Constitution, as his book of the same title suggests; his defense rests on his thesis that foundlings are natural-born citizens, and that if they are not mentioned at all in the enumeration of “who are citizens” under the 1935 Constitution, which was in force when Mrs. Llamanzares was born in 1968, it is because those who wrote the Constitution found it no longer necessary to mention them.

Fatuous theory
This is a highly fallacious theory. The Constitution is the handiwork of the people who promulgate it, not by the delegates who worked on it; it must be read and understood as the people apprehend its letter and spirit, not as some legal advocates propose to interpret it, even when there is no need to interpret it. To propose that foundlings are natural-born citizens, when they are deliberately excluded from the enumeration of citizens under the Constitution, is to reject what is known in favor of the unknown; the objective and definitive in favor of the purely speculative. It is to turn upside down the time-worn universal legal maxim, upon which rests an inexhaustible wealth of legal discourse and judicial rulings, that in any enumeration that which is not included is excluded – inclusio unius est exclusio alterius.

It is also to render meaningless the jus sanguinis doctrine, which governs the citizenship of all natural-born Filipinos, and replace it with the jus soli doctrine, which all our Constitutions, from 1935 to 1973 to 1987, reject. By speculating on the real meaning of what is clearly stated in the Constitution, the Llamanzares defense merely aggravates the gross disrespect for the Constitution, which has grown these last few years, and which it is our duty to stem and reverse. Its implications go far beyond the Llamanzares case.

I have no reason to believe Hilbay’s theory will fly with the learned SC justices.

Father vs ‘daughter’
Neither can one see the Justices being persuaded by Mrs. Llamanzares’s own insistence that foundlings found in the Philippines of unknown parentage are natural-born Filipinos “under international law,” and that to prevent her from running because of her constitutional ineligibility is “to deprive the people of their right to choose their own leader.” The late Fernando Poe Jr., Mrs. Llamanzares’s adoptive father, was the real winner in the 2004 presidential elections, as far as we, his partymates, were concerned. But we never had the gall to say Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had deprived us of our right to choose our own leader.

The adopted daughter is certainly less modest. She seems to believe that she now speaks for “the people” and that they want her to be their leader, regardless of her constitutional infirmity. This is pure ego trip, and “the people” have nothing to do with it. By what madness does someone who is not even eligible under the Constitution claim any right to be elected as the President? The facts are undisputed, so are the constitutional provisions, laws and jurisprudence.

Beyond dispute
It is beyond dispute that under the Constitution no person shall be elected President unless he is, among other things, a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding the election. And these Mrs. Llamanzares is not.

It is beyond dispute that under the Constitution, natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their citizenship. This she is not. As a foundling of unknown parentage and nationality, she must have performed an act – legal or illegal – to become a Filipino citizen (assuming she did become such) before she became an American citizen in 2001, her only known and properly documented citizenship. Such an act destroyed any claim to her being a natural-born Filipino.

It is beyond dispute that under the 1935 Constitution, which was in force when Mrs. Llamanzares was born in 1968, a child must have a Filipino father in order to become a Filipino. If the mother alone is a Filipino, the child must elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. It is undisputed that she was born a foundling, and found in the premises of the church in Jaro, Iloilo on Sept. 3, 1968, and that her parents have remained unknown to this day.

Politics of the grave
Mrs. Llamanzares has not hesitated to disturb the sleep of the dead by digging up the graves of people long dead in Guimaras, which produces the best Philippine mangoes, in her search for the correct “DNA match” to establish her Filipino parentage. Never before in the long history of our tatterdemalion politics have we seen anything like this. So far the results have been negative. But even more negative has been the public reaction to political excursion to the grave.

Why does she insist?
Beyond what the Constitution says, what the Comelec says, and what the Court could say, Mrs. Llamanzares knows she is not eligible for the office. So why does she insist? What makes her believe that we deserve a President whose parentage we do not even know, whose nationality we are not sure about, and whose claim to patriotism, if any, is directly contradicted by her having once renounced all allegiance to the Philippines in favor of the United States, and that her husband and children have remained Americans up to this day? Aside from all the “negatives” in her résumé, what has she got to offer to us Filipinos?

Will Mayor Duterte do any better than Mrs. Llamanzares? Let’s follow tomorrow’s clarificatory hearing at the Comelec where Atty. Luna will argue Rizalito David’s petition against the political maverick.



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  1. Honest election? Please do not take it literally. Katulad ng matuwid na daan and other slogans of BS Aquino administration, it means nothing. Pasagasa na lang kayo sa tren. Our leaders, law enforcers and protectors of our Constitution can do nothing. Candidates can break the law with impunity. Kahit kitang kita ang ebidensiya ang mga alagad ng batas ay wala namang magagawa. The candidates can make early campaigning even if it is against the law and even before the start of campaign period they had already spent millions in campaign ads which is way beyond their means. Who are giving them tons of money to spend? What are they getting in return of their investment? Papaano na lang kung disqualified ang kanilang kandidato? How can they recover their capitals? Nakapagtataka at misteryoso, di po ba? Ano kayang kababalaghang nangyayari dito? Investigation in aid of legislation pa more? Puwede ba?

    Papayag na lang ba tayo kabayan na paglalaruan nila palagi ang ating Saligang Batas at mga batas ng bansa? Papapayag na lang ba tayo kabayan na palagi nalang paglalaruan ang kapalaran, kinabukasan at kapakanan ng ating mahal na bansa at mamamayang Filipinos? Huwag naman po sana. Pero ang masaklap ay wala namang masiyadong reklamo ang mga Filipinos kaya malamang ay wala na namang pagbabagong mangyayari. In fact, may kaniya kaniya nang kandidato ang mga bobotantes kaya malamang ay unfit na naman ang mamamahala sa ating bansa. Who cares if we will go through the same shit all over again for another 6 years? Who cares kung mauupo sa trono ng kapangyarihan ang mga pumapatay ng mga sundalo, pulis at innocent civilians? Who cares kung walang hustisiya ang SAF44 and 19 elite soldiers of the AFP basta ba maipasa ang BBL? Who cares if the peace body OPAPP filed fake attendance records and spent P45.33 million worth of car rental services in 2014 without the necessary authorization and with dubious supporting documents? Who cares if our country is still most corrupt and corruption making many people rich? Who cares if the government spend 15 Trillion in six years? Total mayaman naman ang Pilipinas, di po ba? Basta may telenovela at kilig pa more ok lang lahat, di ba kabayan? Saka na lang tayo magreklamo, pagkatapos ng election. Matiisin naman ang mga Filipinos, di ba kabayan?

  2. Pepeton J'anton on

    Why was the DNA of Da Poe King not taken? Or
    Susan Roces Sonora’s, for that matter???

    And the reason is….this is going to be her last card…during the SC en banc deliberation: THE REVELATION THAT RONNIE POE, JR and/or Susan Sonora Roces is her blood father or Susan her mother.

    That would address squarely her natural born citizenship issue. But the question arises…but her so-called “adoptive parents” are known to be …one or both of them, STERILE or BAOG. So the more intriguing (scandalous) issue would be…”If Ronnie Poe, Jr was proven thru DNA to be the real father, and was therefore, NOT BAOG, then the next question is…SINO ANG NANAY MO TALAGA GRAC??? And another more shocking scandal would suggest itself…KUNG NANAY NIYA SI ROSEMARY, the sister of Susan Roces….masisira ang “profile” ni Ronnie Poe…malaking iskandalo at kahiyahiya talaga…Biro mo, ginanon ni Ronnie and sariling hipag niya, tapos, dahil hindi niya nakonsiensang palaglag ang nasa sapupunan ni Rosemary, basta tinapon na lang sa simbahan…That’s one version that will show however that Grace is a natural born citizenship, both blood and sanguine parents being Pilipino citizens…

    But, still, if “da Poe King (ina ay banyaga talaga) was really BAOG…and Susan
    Roces is the real mother (which she claimed in the second birth certificate which she submitted in behalf of Grace), ang tanong ngayon ay: GRACE SINO ANG GINANON NI SUSAN PARA MABUNTIS SA IYO??? Baka kaya, nagkaroon ng kaugnayan si Susan kay Muck U. Farcos, huh? Mas malaking iskandalo yan with all kinds of political implications…sa angkan ng mga Muck U. Farcos, di ba Imeldific???

    But as in the first theory, it would prove na si Grace is a natural born citizen…Lusot ba???

    Not too quick, hija. Grace still has to COVER HER TRACKS about her established and proven lack of residency…But in Philippine politics…puede ng baliwalain ang isyu of TIME REQUIREMENT FOR RESIDENCY… Because the isyu of natural born citizenship would have been clarified by either theory of parenthood…HINDI PALA FOUNDLING SI GRACE, KUNG HINDI ANAK SA LABAS…”AND THE SURVEY SHOWS, MILYUN VOTERS WANT HER TO BE THE PRESIDENTENG ANAK SA LABAS.”….

    Pero, afuera de los sugestiones, the reality is…ANO NAMAN ANG KAKAYAHAN NI GRACE PARA JUSTIFY HER BEING ELECTED AS PRESIDENT? Eh wala din naman talaga eh. Kaya at best ano siya “eligible but UNQUALIFIED to serve as President…

    Suma total….HINDI MANANALO SI GRACE MASKI PAYAGANG TUMAKBO. She has no political party that can ensure her victory at the polls. No network at the poll levels to watch, monitor and safeguard her votes. That’s more than enough reason for her to lose. For another, she needs a solid 20 million votes to win. And from the registered and eligible to vote stats…that would mean a minimum of 40% of the votes. STATISTICALLY AN IMPOSSIBILITY.

    So, let us put this DISGRACE OF GRACE to rest. And Senyor Kit, is right. Jojo Binay will most likely, in all probability, and still PHENOMENALLY, going to win the elections…the flaws in the Smartmatic systems notwithstanding. That is the reality of things in elections 2016.


  3. Leodegardo Pruna on

    The disgraced GRACE is insisting on her stand because she has the blessing of P-Noy. The double-talk and the double-standard of this administration led by P-Noy are very much clear and transparent. P-Noy is simply doing the last act of his life in the presidency to be adjudged best presidential actor and nobel actor of the decade. The rest will get stunned when the curtain closes. God bless the Philippines.

  4. If the DNA derived from the disturbance of the deceased who until recently were resting in
    peace fail to match this Llamanzares spouse, she would then be in violation and desecration
    of decedents who are not related to her and thus should not have disinterred.
    That should create a negativity for her and hers.

  5. So .its becoming crystal clear that you are rooting for Binay.After pontificating about your moral standard you are now dragging the electorate to vote to a dynasty whose plunder charges can no longer be counted.It could have been more simple if you and your believers voted no to Grace Poe but you continue to villlify her, By calling the lady pompous in your column it is no longer a matter of subjugating to the constitution as you insist among us readers but a personal compulsive crusade to deprive voters of their choice. My vote for a change in his coming election is between me and my God, the God of Abraham, hindus and muslims not the catholic God of hatred and self righteousness.

    • Why question Sen. Tatad on his choice of candidate? It’s beside the point. What is in question, is this arrogant and ambitious woman qualified to be President of our Republic base on the constitution? Is he right? He is not alone in the belief she is not.

    • It is irrelevant who the writer is rooting for and he is not dragging you, roland q.Estrada, to anywhere. And neither it is simple if he or his ‘believers voted no to’ the American Llamanzares (a foundling). What is simple is that Llamanzares is ineligible to run for the presidency as per the Philippine constitution. This is what you need to inculcate in your stubborn and fickle head! So your ‘vote for a change in this coming election is between you and your God, the God of Abraham, hinduts or muslims’ is fine because that is guaranteed by the freedom of suffrage in this same constitution you try to trample. Lawful change for good is welcomed but change brought about by lawlessness should never be advocated neither tolerated.


      Ex-Makati Vice-Mayor Ernesto Mercado, a lying witness

      Former Makati Vice-Mayor Mercado, the principal resource person of the Senate Sub-Committee, repeatedly told lies and gave testimony based on hearsay without offering a shred of evidence, while admitting that he received kick backs for Makati projects. Yet he was taken at his word, his perjured testimonies incorporated in the Partial Committee Report , and given immunity under the government’s Witness Protection Program.

      Mercado lied about VP Binay’s alleged 350 hectare property in Rosario, Batangas. The Department Of agrarian Reform – (DAR) stated that there was no evidence of such ownership. On the other hand, businessman Antonio Tiu testified that he owns a 145 Agri-Tourism park in the area, while VP Binay acknolwedged renting 10 hectares for his piggery, under the name of JCB Farms and for the flower business of Mrs. Binay.
      Mercado lied about an ” air-conditioned piggery” in Rosario, Batangas. Senator Antonio Trillianes and members of media found this to be untrue.
      Mercado lied About a 40-car garage and luxurious mansions in Rosario, Batangas. Again, an ocular inspection revealed no such thing.
      Mercado lied about a Binay reshouse in Rosario, Batangas allegedly designed by Architect Rodolfo R. Bongato. Mr Bongato denied this and stated that his signature was forged.
      Mercado lied about a long cabin in Tagaytay High lands allegedly owned by VP Binay. The developer of Tagaytay Highlands denied this.
      Mercado lied that he was on board a helicopter that took pictures of the alleged Binay property in Rosario, Batangas. The flight manifest showed that he was not on board but the staff of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano were.
      Mercado lied, claiming that he learned about kickbacks for VP Binay Makati projects from Engr. Morales, a person already dead and unable to confirm or deny his testimony.
      Mercado lied about kicks backs given to VP Binay by Hilmarc’s , the company that constructed Makati City Hall Building II. Hilmarc’s Categorically Denied this under oath.
      Mercado lied that VP Binay owned a condominium unit in Peak tower in Makati. in fact, Mercado himself had occupied the unit and his mistress was shot dead in the condo under mysterious circumstances, with Mercado as the prime suspect.
      Mercado lied that VP Binay owned units in at least 60% of condominium buildings in Makati. Reputable developers, SM Development Corp., Megaworld Corp., Robinsons Land Corp., Rockwell Land Corp., and Eton Properties issued statements expressly denying this.
      Mercado lied that VP Binay, as president of the Boy Scouts of the Philippines earned P200 million from a joint venture between the BSP and Alphaland Corp. Alphaland President Mario A. Oreta refuted this and testified that it was Mercado, as senior VP and Head of Asset management of BSP who had brokered the deal and had hinted at financial considerations.

    • Suit yourself mr.roland q.estrada.
      You are well within your right for your own opinion.
      But know that others like myself agree with Kit Tatad .
      And that does not mean I will be voting for v.p. Binay.

  6. Mrs. Llamanzares insists because she and her husband have been paid hundreds of millions and maybe even billions to be the battering ream against the Constitution and the Republic by polwerful domestic and foreign forces!
    After the 2016 elections, if Grace Poe Llamanzares becomes president, the Philippines will become 100 percent a puppet state of Foreign Powers and the Ang/Danding Cojuangco conglomerate.

  7. Sad to see a writer of your talent go off on a diatribe on Grace at the drop of a hat.

    But thank you for teaching your readers speed reading…..

    • The writer has to go to such great length for readers like you, Joe, who refuses to understand what the constitution requires for anyone who aspires to run for the highest leadership position of the land. Perhaps you should slow down a bit in reading, eh?

  8. MORE POWER to Former Senator Tatad for your brief and concise column. It is very clear that GRAPOE is disqualified to run for 2016 Presidential elections.Beyond what the Constitution says, what the Comelec says, and what the Court could say, Mrs. Llamanzares knows she is not eligible for the office. if any, is directly contradicted by her having once renounced all allegiance to the Philippines in favor of the United States, and that her husband and children have remained Americans up to this day? Aside from all the “negatives” in her résumé, what has she got to offer to us Filipinos?

  9. Thanks Former Senator Tatad for your brief and concise column. It is very clear that GRAPOE is disqualified to run for 2016 Presidential elections.Beyond what the Constitution says, what the Comelec says, and what the Court could say, Mrs. Llamanzares knows she is not eligible for the office. if any, is directly contradicted by her having once renounced all allegiance to the Philippines in favor of the United States, and that her husband and children have remained Americans up to this day? Aside from all the “negatives” in her résumé, what has she got to offer to us Filipinos?