Ex-nanny vouches for Grace Poe
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—A former nanny of the family of actress Susan Roces wept when she learned that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had decided to cancel the certificate of candidacy (COC) for President of Sen. Grace Poe.
“I knew Grace Poe when she was a baby. She is pure Filipino,” said Herminia Sajo Alojado, 64, and a resident of Hacienda Mercedes, Barangay Pasil, EB Magalona, in Negros Occidental.
She said she could not understand how people could be so cruel “to a child who was found in a church in Iloilo and could be nothing else but a Filipino.”
Alojado worked for Susan’s younger sister, Teresita Sonora, as nanny of her then baby daughter Shiela.
She said Teresita’s family would often visit Susan and her late husband, actor Fernando Poe Jr., in their house in San Juan.
When in Susan’s house, Alojado said she would carry and bathe Grace, who she described as a good and cute baby.
According to Alojado, she came to work for the Sonoras after she was brought there by Trinidad Sonora, an aunt of Susan, who owned a farm located near her residence in EB Magalona.
Alojado said baby Grace was brought to the home of the Poes by an Ilongga fan of Susan, Teresita Valencia.
The Poes loved the baby so much that they eventually decided to adopt her.
“I have no doubt that she is a Filipino and I hope she is allowed to run for President because I certainly will vote for her,” said Alojado, who is now a sugarcane farm worker.
The Comelec First Division voted 2-1 to cancel Poe’s COC for President on Friday, granting a petition filed by former Sen. Francisco Tatad and former University of the East College of Law dean Amado Valdez.
It was Poe’s second setback, following a unanimous vote by the Comelec Second Division on Dec. 1 to disqualify her as a presidential candidate.
Meanwhile, Poe, who went to the city of Cauayan in Isabela province on Saturday, said she was hurt that her political ambitions had prompted her rivals for Malacañang to try to take her Filipino citizenship away.
Saying the second disqualification ruling issued by another division of the Comelec was hurtful, Poe, an independent presidential candidate, assured people in the city that she first saw light as a Filipino.
“I am a true Filipino from birth. I saw light as a Filipino, was raised a Filipino, resided, studied and got married in the country so I would like to serve my fellow Filipinos,” she told a news briefing here.
Take away citizenship
“This is why it hurts that they are trying to take away my citizenship, my heritage, which are a huge part of my being,” she said.
Her lawyers would elevate her case to the Supreme Court, where the senator said she expected to get a favorable decision.
Sen. Francis Escudero, her running mate, said he respected the First Division ruling but he described it as biased and haphazardly done.
He said the Comelec disqualified Poe before it could declare presidential candidates who registered under the names “Intergalactic Warrior” and “Satan” as nuisance candidates.
“Our chances in the Comelec are dim. Our hope lies in the Supreme Court,” Escudero said.
Poe said it was “disturbing that an institution is being used to leave people behind, instead of protecting and defending them.”
She said the legal setbacks have not discouraged her from pursuing the presidency.
“We will knock on the doors of the Comelec and the Supreme Court to assert truth and the genuine aspirations of the Constitution. Meanwhile, I will continue to seek the presidency,” she said.
“I will fulfill my promises because I know that I do not carry any political baggage for which I need to be protected. I would sleep soundly at night should I be truly disqualified from running next year because I seek the presidency only for the people. I worry about the people,” she said.
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.