Grace Poe fears ‘tampering’ of citizenship documents

Camille Elemia

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Grace Poe fears ‘tampering’ of citizenship documents
Senator Poe says the tactics used to disqualify her father from the 2004 presidential elections are being used against her now

MANILA, Philippines – After a political party attempted to question her citizenship before the Senate Electoral Tribunal on Wednesday, August 5, Senator Grace Poe said she is cautious in releasing documents out of fear of “tampering.”

The neophyte senator said she would present in the proper forum the documents that would prove she is qualified to run for a higher office. However, she recalled how her father’s birth certificate was forged in the national archives when certain camps were trying to disqualify him from the 2004 presidential election.

“Kaya lang po kasi minsan, alam mo ‘yung nangyari sa tatay ko noon? ‘Yung citizenship niya, ‘yung mismong birth certificate niya ay kanilang na-forge doon sa national archives. Kaya nag-iingat din ako sa dokumento dahil lahat po ng paratang nila kay FPJ noon, may konti lang ang pagkakaiba ay ginagamit nila ngayon sa akin,” Poe told reporters.

(But sometimes, remember what happened to my father then? His citizenship [case], his birth certificate was forged in the national archives. That’s why I’m being careful with releasing documents. All their accusations against FPJ then are similar to what they’re using against me now.)

(READ: FPJ’s citizenship woes a glimpse of Grace Poe’s battle ahead)

On Wednesday morning, Ang Kapatiran 2013 senatorial candidate Lito David tried to file a case against Poe before the Senate Electoral Tribunal. The SET did not accept the complaint, however, because he was unable to pay the P50,000 filing fee.

David said Poe cannot be considered a natural born Filipino as she is a foundling. He also claimed Poe was one year short of the 2-year residency requirement for senator and that she was an American citizen when she assumed government office in 2010.

David is set to re-file his petition against Poe on Thursday, August 6.

Citizenship, residency different things?

Poe, a foundling who became a United States citizen before working for the government, welcomed this move. She said the SET will be the proper venue to discuss the issue.

She insisted she is a natural born Filipino and has stayed in the country long enough to be allowed to run for higher office. 

She said the citizenship and residency requirements for a presidential candidate are taken separately. 

Poe earlier said she had been residing in the Philippines since 2004, as she campaigned for his late father Fernando Poe Jr and gave birth to her youngest child here.

As for her nationality, Poe said she renounced her US citizenship on October 20, 2010, a day before she took oath as chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

Poe said her cancelled US passport bears the stamp indicating her last use of it.

“P’wede naman po talaga namin ipresenta sa tamang korte o sa tamang forum. Hindi naman po ‘yan namin tinatago. Mali po, gusto ko sabihin mali po ang sinasabi ng iba para magkaroon ng confusion o kalituhan. Hindi ko po ginamit ang ibang passport kundi Philippine passport noong ako na po ay nag-renounce ng aking ibang citizenship,” Poe said.

(We can present that in the proper court or forum. We are not hiding [the documents]. I want to say the allegations are wrong, as they are only meant to confuse [the public.] I did not use any but the Philippine passport when I renounced my US citizenship.)

Poe also cited the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to support her point that no person can be “stateless.”


With all the allegations thrown at her, Poe said she is all the more motivated to continue the fight.

“Pero ‘pag ako ang bumigay, sino ang mawawalan ng karapatan dito? Hindi ba ‘yung mga ibang batang hindi rin matukoy ang mga magulang? At sino ang mamamayagpag dito? Ang mga taong luma ang estilo ng pulitika? Sila ba ang papayagan natin na mamuno pagkatapos ng administrasyon na ito? Parang hindi naman yata tama,” Poe said.

(But if I give up, who will lose their rights? Isn’t it the children who have no information on their parents? And who will win here? Those people who subscribe to old style politics? Should we allow them to lead after this administration? I don’t think that’s right.)

Poe, who is leading in presidential preference surveys, said she is extra focused on preparing for the legal battles ahead.

While the senator refused to say who are behind the moves to question her citizenship and residency, she said she is sure these are related to the 2016 elections. 

Poe called these people “desperate” for hiding behind technicalities, saying these are the same tactics used against FPJ in the 2004 presidential elections. – 

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.