Mar Roxas: Grace Poe is a Filipino

Bea Cupin
Mar Roxas: Grace Poe is a Filipino
(UPDATED) Roxas says Poe is still his top pick as running mate although several other names have surfaced as alternatives

CEBU, Philippines (UPDATED) – Will the questions surrounding neophyte Senator Grace Poe’s nationality turn into an issue come 2016? 

Some legal pundits and politicians from the opposition may think so but for the standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), there is no doubt in his mind that Poe is a Filipino. 

“Well, obviously naniniwala ako na Filipino si Poe, inimbita ko nga maging running mate,” Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, the LP’s bet for 2016 said on Wednesday, August 12, at the sidelines of a sugar cane industry event in Cebu city. (Obviously, I believe that Poe is a Filipino. I even invited her to be my running mate.)

Poe, who leads early presidential preference surveys, has been facing residency and nationality issues in the lead-up to the coming presidential elections. Lito David, who ran for senator but lost in 2013, filed a disqualification case against Poe, arguing that she is not a natural-born Filipino since she is a foundling. 

David, who ran under the Ang Kapatiran Party, also argued that Poe was short of the two-year residency requirement for senators and that she was still an American citizen when she entered government in 2010. 

Roxas, who is wooing Poe as his running mate, dismissed questions raised against her qualifications. “Kung may problema ang UNA siguro sila na bahala kung ano gagawin nila doon,” added Roxas, referring to the party which opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay founded. (If the United Nationalist Party has a problem about that, then that’s up to them.)

“Meron namang nakatakdang proseso para madetermina lahat iyan,” said Roxas, when asked if Poe’s citizenship or residency could be liabilities come crunch time. (There’s a proper process to determine that.)

Top pick

The administration’s presidential bet earlier confirmed that he had asked Poe to be his running mate, but this happened before he was endorsed by President Benigno Aquino III on July 31. 

Poe had earlier said that despite at least 4 meetings with the President, she was never explicitly offered the vice presidential post. 

The senator, said Roxas, is still his top pick as running mate although several names have emerged as alternatives – Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo, Batangas Governor Vilma Santos, and Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, to name a few. 

“Hindi naman tayo pabagu-bago. Meron tayong outstanding imbitasyon kay Senator Poe at eto yung kasalukuyang position at pananaw ko at ng partido,” added Roxas. (We’re not flighty. We have an outstanding invitation for Senator Poe and it’s a stand shared by myself and the party.)

Last week, Roxas told reporters he has a “direct line” to Poe and was hoping that a meeting would be set soon. That meeting, however, has yet to happen.  

Recent media interviews and a Tuesday evening meeting with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) seem to hint that Poe is, in fact, eyeing the presidency.

‘Walang forever’

Malacañang declined to comment on the initiative of some groups to launch the “Leni Robredo for Vice President” movement that day.

Asked if Malacañang supports the idea of picking Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo as a vice presidential candidate in case Poe seeks the presidency, Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, “At the moment, we are still hoping that Senator Grace Poe would consider being the co-pilot of Secretary Mar Roxas.”

He said in a news briefing that while “there are other people who feel that there are other candidates for that particular position,” Malacañang  is “agnostic about it because right now we’re looking at Senator Grace Poe.”

Asked to comment on the statement of former Quezon representative Erin Tañada that the Liberal Party can’t wait for Poe forever, Lacierda borrowed a popular quote from the TV drama series “Forevermore.”

“Just for record – and I will say this with all the love – sa totoo naman, wala namang (in truth, there is no) forever. Walang (There’s no) forever,” he said.


Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.


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.