Leni Robredo tells Poe: Jesse’s citizenship case ‘very different’ from yours

Bea Cupin
Leni Robredo tells Poe: Jesse’s citizenship case ‘very different’ from yours
Grace Poe earlier compared the citizenship issues being hurled against her to the issues raised against Jesse Robredo in the past

MANILA, Philippines – Neophyte senator and survey front-runner Grace Poe says she sees similarities between the citizenship issues raised against her and the ones raised against the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.

But for the late Cabinet secretary’s widow, Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

Speaking before students of several Pangasinan universities on Wednesday, August 26, Poe compared her situation to that of Robredo’s when he was running for mayor of Naga City.

Si Jesse Robredo na magaling na kalihim… noong namatay sya pinuri sya pero noong tumakbo sya noon sa…. Naga, siya po ay gustong ipa-disqualify dahil sya’y hindi Pilipino kundi Chinese,” said Poe. (Jesse Robredo was a very good Cabinet Secretary and was praised after his death. But when he was running in the [city] of Naga, people wanted to disqualify him because they said he was not Filipino but Chinese.)

Poe, who is seen to be preparing for a presidential bid in 2016, has had to face questions regarding her citizenship – allegedly because she is a foundling and because at one point, she acquired American citizenship. 

In a text message, however, Robredo said: “Jesse [Robredo]’s case was very different from hers. His citizenship case stemmed from the fact that his father, who is a natural-born Filipino citizen under the 1935 Constitution, was born in the Philippines to Chinese parents. Sen Poe’s, I understand, was because at one point, she renounced her Filipino citizenship when she acquired her US citizenship.”

“Jesse never did any act of renouncing his Filipino citizenship at any point in his life,” added Robredo, who is also a lawyer.

Jesse Robredo was President Benigno Aquino III’s interior secretary from 2010 until his untimely death in 2012, when the plane he was riding crashed off the waters of Masbate.

Aquino, his Cabinet, and the administration’s 2016 presidential bet, current Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, recently commemorated Robredo’s death anniversary in Naga City.

Poe is – or was – being eyed by the ruling Liberal Party (LP) to be Roxas’ running mate but the senator is reportedly keen on running for president herself, with her friend and political ally Senator Francis Escudero as her running mate.

Another Roxas choice for vice president is Robredo herself. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.