Poe camp fires back at Duterte
The camp of presidential aspirant Sen. Grace Poe hopes that Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte would come to appreciate the wisdom of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) decision that ruled she is a natural-born Filipino citizen.
Duterte was quoted in reports as saying he was now open to running for President in next year’s elections as he expressed misgivings about the SET ruling on Poe’s citizenship.
Duterte said he was disappointed at the decision and believed that Poe was not a natural-born Filipino.
Poe’s spokesperson, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said the SET decision upholds the rights of the marginalized, which include foundlings like Poe.
Gatchalian noted that Duterte was no stranger in fighting for the downtrodden.
“Throughout his career as a public servant, he has fought for the rights of those who couldn’t fight for themselves. Foundlings have been dealt with circumstances that placed them in a disadvantage,” he said.
Stripping foundlings of political and civil rights because of the circumstances of their birth would “further malign them,” Gatchalian said.
“The SET decision enshrined the protection of rights of foundlings, hence we believe Mayor Duterte will appreciate the merits of the decision,” he added.
Gatchalian added that Poe shared Duterte’s mind-set of protecting those who could not protect themselves.
But he also said Poe’s camp respected Duterte’s opinion on her citizenship.
Nevertheless, Gatchalian reiterated that Poe is a natural-born Filipino and this is supported by international laws and covenants.
There was also no political accommodation in the SET’s ruling favoring Poe, he added.
“The five members of the SET crossed party lines to uphold the rights of foundlings like Senator Poe,” he noted.
As this developed, Poe’s lawyer George Garcia advised Rizalito David, who assailed the SET for throwing out his petition seeking to nullify Poe’s win in the 2013 elections, to just move on.
Instead of questioning SET’s ruling, Garcia said David should just “move on and focus his efforts… [in looking for] incontrovertible proof that Senator Poe is not a natural-born Filipino.”
In a statement, Garcia said David would do Poe a favor if he started looking for her biological parents abroad “since he appears to be obsessed with Senator Poe’s foreign blood.”
“In fact, that would be a life-changing search. Even Senator Poe would be interested in that,” Garcia said. “[M]aybe he should start making more frequent trips abroad to embark on such a search.”
David, who lost in the 2013 senatorial race which Poe topped, had argued that Poe should be unseated since she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen being a foundling.
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