Escudero: Poe a natural-born Filipino; I won’t take her place
While confident that Senator Grace Poe would not be disqualified from the presidential race, her running mate, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero made it clear this early that he has no plans to take her place and run for the highest post instead.
Escudero said that in the first place, he was confident that Poe would be allowed to run for president next year, despite a disqualification case filed against her at the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) over questions raised on her citizenship.
“I don’t see that happening quite frankly,” Escudero said on Tuesday when asked during a Pandesal Forum in Quezon City about the possibility that Poe would be disqualified from joining the 2016 elections.
Asked again if he would consider substituting for Poe, Escudero again said: “I don’t see that happening and that’s not legally possible too because one you’ve filed, you cannot file for any other position or substitute for any other position in accordance with law, in accordance with election code.”
“Kapag nakapag-file na po hindi na po pwedeng mag-file pa para sa ibang pwesto neither are you qualified to be a substitute and I have no plans of doing that.”
(Once you’ve filed, you can’t file for any other position neither are you qualified to be a substitute and I have no plans of doing that)
“For one simple reason, kompyansa ako na malalampasan ni Sen. Poe itong kaso laban sa kanya sa SET, sa qualification man ‘yan bilang senador o sa qualification man n’ya bilang pangulo ng bansa at pag-file n’ya ng certificate of candidacy,” he further said.
(For one simple reason, I am confident that Sen. Poe will overcome the case against her at the SET, [questioning] her qualification either as a senator or as president and her plan to file her certificate of candidacy)
Escudero also dismissed speculations that he would end up running alone in 2016.
“I’m confident that she will not be disqualified, that she will be allowed to run and at the end of the day the people will decide on this issue,” he said.
Escudero, who was a former member of SET, insisted that Poe is a natural-born Filipino, contrary to the opinion of the tribunal’s chairman, Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
“What Justice Carpio was quoted as having said, sabi n’ya naturalized Filipino raw tila si Senator Poe. I disagree,” he said. “Dalawang klase po lamang ang Pilipino sa ilalim ng ating Saligang Batas, naturalized, or natural-born. Paano maging naturalized citizen, dalawa lang po ang paraan, by a court decree or by an act of Congress.”
(What Justice Carpio was quoted as having said was that Senator Poe was a naturalized Filipino. I disagree. There are only two kinds of Filipino under the Constitution — naturalized or natural-born. There are only two ways how to be a naturalized citizen, by a court decree or by an act of Congress)
But the senator noted that during Monday’s oral arguments at the SET, the lawyers of the complainant, Rizalito David, admitted that they did not have evidence to prove that Poe was indeed a naturalized citizen.
Escudero also disagreed with the opinion that Poe should first identify her biological parents to find out her citizenship.
“Again, I disagree, kung alam na ho ni Senator Poe ang magulang n’ya hindi na po foundling ang tawag sa kanya, abandoned na po ang tawag sa kanya,” he said.
(Again I disagree, if Senator Poe already knew her parents, then she is no longer a foundling, but an abandoned child.)
The senator also pointed out that under the Constitution, natural-born Filipinos are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect Filipino citizenship.
“May ginawa po ba si Senator Poe para ma-issuehan s’ya ng Philippine passport noong s’ya ay bata at pinanganak? Wala po. Hindi namna po s’ya dumaan sa korte para idekalarang Pilipino s’ya. Wala din namang Act of Congress or Republic Act na nagsasabing Pilipino s’ya so therefore she’s a Filipino, and a natural-born at that,” he further said.
(Did Senator Poe do anything to be issued a Philippine passport when she was younger? No, she did not. She did not go to the court to be declared a Filipino. There is also no act of Congress of a Republic Act that says she’s a Filipino, therefore she’s a Filipino, and a natural-born one at that.)
Besides, Escudero said, it should not be Poe who should prove that she is a natural-born Filipino but the petitioner, who alleges otherwise.
“Bakit naman ilalagay natin sa isang batang iniwan sa simbahan ang responsibilidad para patunayan na s’ya ay Pilipino at kung sino ang magulang nya? Iniwan na nga po s’ya noon e at hindi n’ya alam e. Wala naman pong foundling na hindi gustong malaman kung sino ang kanyang mga magulang,” said the senator.
(Why should we leave it to a child, abandoned in a church, the responsibility to prove that she is a Filipino and identify her parents? She was abandoned so she does not know [her parents ]. There’s no foundling who does not want to know her biological parents) Maila Ager/IDL
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