MANILA, Philippines – The ruling Liberal Party (LP) “presumed regularity” when it invited Senator Grace Poe, now caught in legal battles over her citizenship and residency, to be the party’s vice presidential candidate in the 2016 elections, party standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II said on Thursday, December 3.
“Alam ninyo po, inilihim, isinikreto po sa amin ito. We presumed regularity, sincero po kami, inimbita siya na maging kabahagi ng Daang Matuwid, hindi po namin alam ang mga pangyayaring ito,” said Roxas in a chance interview with reporters in Biliran on Thursday, December 3.
(She concealed, kept this a secret from us. We presumed regularity and we were sincere in inviting her to be part of Daang matuwid. We did not know about these issues.)
Roxas was asked to react to Poe’s statement in a press conference on Thursday, where she was quizzed on whether she thought the cases against her wouldn’t prosper had she agreed to be Roxas’ vice presidential bet.
Poe said: “Siguro totoo pong mas magiging madali kung kasama ko sila. At alam ko iyon noong nagdedesisyon pa lang ako. Alam kong mas magiging madali kung kasama ko sila, at wala itong problema na ito kung ako ay tumakbo bilang bise presidente.” (Maybe it’s true that I would’ve have an easier time had I allied with them. And I was aware when I made that decision to run. I knew that it would’ve been much easier if I were allied with them… these problems wouldn’t be here had I decided to run for vice president.)
For months, the LP wooed Poe, the front runner in presidential preference surveys, to be Roxas’ running mate in 2016.
But those talks, led by no less than party chairman President Benigno Aquino III proved futile when Poe eventually decided to seek the presidency herself.
The relationship between Poe and the ruling party, of which she is an ally, has since soured following her announcement. In 2013, when Poe ran for senator, she was part of the LP-led “Team PNoy.”
This week, following a Commission on Elections (Comelec) division’s decision to cancel her Certificate of Candidacy (COC), Poe pointed to Roxas and opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay, as the forces behind the disqualification cases against her.
Both parties have denied those claims. (READ: LP behind Grace Poe DQ? Far from it and UNA on Poe disqualification: We’re victims of politics, too)
UNA floated first
The Comelec’s 2nd division, composed of 3 commissioners, declared that Poe made “material misrepresentations” in her COC for president.
Poe, a foundling who was adopted by two movie stars, faces several disqualification cases because she is allegedly not a natural-born Filipino and has yet to meet the residency requirements of presidential candidates. (READ: TIMELINE: Grace Poe’s citizenship, residency)
In the Philippines, a candidate must be a natural-born Filipino with at least 10 years of residency to run for president. Vice presidential candidates have the same requirements.
Roxas pointed out that it was the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which Binay heads, that was the initial source of Poe’s residency issues.
“Diba lumitaw ito lahat nung sinabi ni Congressman Toby Tiangco lahat ito? Eh hindi naman natin kakampi si Cong. Toby Tiangco. So lahat ito ay palagay kong mga spekulasyon at mga pang iintriga at siguro maganda na doon na lang po sila tumutok sa mga nakatakdang proseso dahil wala naman po kaming kinalaman sa mga nangyayari sa kanila,” added Roxas.
(Didn’t this first become public when Congressman Tobias Tiangco revealed it? Congressman Tiangco is not our ally. So all this talk is merely speculation and intrigue. Perhaps it would be better if Poe and her camp instead focus on the processes involved in the case because we have nothing to do with whatever issues they face.)
Tiangco went public with Poe’s supposed residency issues early June, or roughly two month before Roxas was endorsed by Aquino.
In an earlier interview with Radio Mindanao Network also on Thursday, Roxas urged Poe to stop playing the blame game and instead focus on answering the issues thrown against her.
The Comelec division’s ruling is not yet final, as Poe and her camp can still appeal it before the Comelec en banc and if need be, before the Supreme Court (SC). (READ: EXPLAINER: Can Comelec ‘disqualify’ Grace Poe?)
Roxas, the administration candidate, is being accused of using government resources to his advantage.
Senator Francis Escudero, Poe’s running mate, also saw Roxas’ hand in the petition against Poe, alleging that the lawyer who filed the case is tied to lawyer and former defense chief Avelino “Nonong” Cruz Jr, who is said to be one of the legal advisers of Roxas.
“Alam ninyo, lahat naman ito ay mga spekulasyon diba? Ito si Sen. Chiz, lahat na lang ituturo. Sino bang abogado na gumawa ng dokumento nila? Bakit nila isisisi sa kahit kaninuman? Palagay ko, diba may kasabihan tayo na pag tayo’y nagturo, may isang daliri na tukoy sa ibang tao pero may tatlo o apat na nakabalik sa atin. Siguro na pagisipan nila ang kanilang kalagayan, ang kanilang mga desisyon, sa mga gawain nila, para naman makita ang katotohanan,” said Roxas.
(All of this is speculation, right? Senator Escudero pins the blame on every one. Who is the lawyer who prepared their documents? Why are they blaming this on other people? I think, don’t we have a saying that when you point your finger towards something, three or four fingers point back at you? They should think about their situation, their decision, what they’ve been doing so they can at least see the truth.)
Roxas mentioned the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET)’s recent decision in favor of Poe to disprove allegations that the ruling party is behind moves to remove Poe from the equation.
The LP-led “Daang Matuwid” coalition’s spokesman, Marikina Representative Romero Quimbo, earlier told reporters that if they wanted to take advantage of the processes, they should’ve done so during the SET, who counts as one of its members LP executive committee member Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino.
Aquino is the cousin of President Aquino and is the campaign manager of Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Leni Robredo, Roxas’ running mate.
Poe leads in at least two presidential preference surveys while Roxas is usually third behind Poe, Binay and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. – Rappler.com
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