2 SC justices question Poe’s use of Balikbayan visa in 2005
Two justices of the Supreme Court (SC) have questioned why Sen. Grace Poe returned to the Philippines in 2005 using a visa free entry as Balikbayan which is temporary in nature.
Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo asked Poe’s counsel Alexander Poblador why the senator opted for a temporary instead of a permanent visa if she had intended to move to the Philippines for good.
“It was a temporary visa for a visiting former Filipino citizen,” Carpio told Poblador.
But Poblador countered that it was a visa for a returning Filipino citizen.
“When you return to your homeland and you are already a foreigner, [then] you are a former citizen,” Carpio said.
Poblador said Poe was a balikbayan only for a little over a year because she reacquired her citizenship on July 7, 2006.
“Whether or not she has intention to stay, that is shown by her conduct. She traveled only four times to the United States where she stayed only 40 days and she always returned to the Philippines,” Poblador added.
Poblador said Poe kept returning to the US that time because she and her husband had been selling their properties in the US.
The oral argument on Poe’s petition against Comelec is ongoing. RC
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