Is UNA threatened by Grace Poe? Tiangco plays coy, keeps mum
Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco on Wednesday chose to play coy and stay mum when asked to react on Senator Grace Poe’s accusations that the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) is threatened by her in the 2016 elections.
Tiangco called for a press conference just hours after Poe answered in an ambush interview the residency issues raised against her, and took a swipe on Vice President Jejomar Binay’s party for pinning on her as if they were threatened.
“Bakit kayo natatakot sa akin ? Kung sinasabi man nyong hindi kayo natatakot sa akin, hindi po ito ang kilos nang hindi nababantaan kahit papaano sinasabi nila hindi daw nila ito ginawa bilang paghihiganti pero parang ang timing naman nila kung kelan ako pumirma ng committee report na pinaninidigan ko po yung committee report,” Poe said, referring to the Senate Blue Ribbon committee report she signed recommending plunder charges against Binay over the alleged overprice of Makati city hall parking building.
“Kung sa tingin niya ay natatakot kami sa kanya, malaya naman siyang magisip ng ganun. Hindi naman natin pwedeng makipag-debate sa perception niya,” Tiangco said.
When asked if the party is nervous that Binay may not win in 2016 because of Poe, Tiangco again evaded the question and instead reiterated that Binay will not back out from the presidential race.
“May nagsasabihing mag-ba-back out si VP Binay. Ang sasabihin ko po, si VP Binay ay hindi magbaback out. Titiisin niya ang panlalait hindi lang sa kanya kundi sa buong pamilya para lang magpatuloy ang kanyang hangarin na magkaroon ng magandang kinabukasan ang mga mahihirap,” Tiangco said.
Poe answered Tiangco’s allegations that she lacked the residency period to run as president or vice president in 2016.
According to her certificate of candidacy for her senatorial bid in 2013, Poe lived in the Philippines for six years and six months, which means she would have lived in the country for nine years and six months by May 2016, Tiangco said.
But Poe said she filed her COC in October 2012, which she said should be the date of reckoning to calculate her residency period. This means by May 2016, Poe would have resided in the Philippines for 10 years and two months.
Poe also hit back at Tiangco for bringing up her residency issue, when Tiangco, representing Navotas, is not even a resident of his district.
“Yung sinasabi ni Tiangco about residency, siguro naman naiintindihan niya rin yun dahil siya ay representative ng Navotas pero yung kanya sitwasyon, ay mas iba pa sapagkat iba naman ang kanyang tinitirhan, hindi naman Navotas,” Poe said.
Tiangco said he has never hidden the fact that he lives more often in his Wack-wack property in Mandaluyong primarily because his wife wants them to.
But he said while he also has a residence property in Navotas, a representative need not always live in his place of district to represent his constituency.
“Hindi sikreto na aside sa bahay ko sa Navotas, ay may bahay ako sa Mandaluyong… That is not the correct analogy… Gusto ng asawa ko (na sa Wack-wack manirahan). Miyembro ako ng TaKuSa (takot sa asawa),” Tiangco quipped.
Tiangco maintained that Poe remains unqualified because her residency period fell short of the 10-year residency period requirement for President and Vice President.
“Kaya nagkaproblema siya sa residency is because may panahon na tinalikuran niya ang pagiging Pilipino,” Tiangco said.
He also clarified that Binay did not give him the go signal in revealing the residency issue, saying Binay even called him up after he announced it on Tuesday’s press conference.
But Binay did not stop him from making more noise, Tiangco said, adding that Poe’s swipe at VP Binay about honesty is what compelled him to reveal the residency issue.
Poe in an earlier interview said Vice President Binay can prove his honesty if he answers the corruption allegations hurled against him over the purportedly overpriced Makati Parking Building, Hacienda Binay, among others.
“Kung ako ang body guard ni President Binay, at sasaksakin siyang patalikod, kailangan ko pa bang magpaalam sa kanya na ‘Boss, dedepensahan ba kita?’ Eh yung boss ko sasaksakin nang patalikod, alangan namang sasabihin ko ‘Boss, sandal lang, dedepensahan ba kita?’” Tiangco said.
“I would have to do what I have to do to protect my boss. That’s how important loyalty is to me,” he added.
Poe’s residency period is the latest of questions raised against Poe’s qualifications to run as president or vice president in 2016, following her popularity in the pre-election opinion poll. Her citizenship issue had also been raised, though Poe has said she has given up her American citizenship and she is now a Filipino citizen.
Poe became a target of criticisms after she fared high in presidential and vice presidential election polls.
In the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) presidential survey, Poe saw her ranking improved from 21 percent to 31 percent, just five percentage points shy from Vice President Binay (36 percent from 37 percent) who remained in the lead. Liberal Party’s presumptive bet Interior Secretary Mar Roxas got a measly 15 percent of respondents, down from 19 percent.
In the latest SWS vice presidential survey, Poe is the top pick with 26 percent of respondents, surpassing Roxas with 12 percent and Binay with seven percent.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.