Grace Poe thanks judge offering reward to find parents
Grace Poe thanks judge offering reward to find parents
'I welcome their help and I pray that their well-meaning efforts would lead to the truth we are all looking for,' Poe says, referring to the reward offered to find her biological parents

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate and Senator Grace Poe thanked retired Bacolod judge Jesus Nograles Rodriguez Jr and other supporters who helped put up reward money to help find her biological parents.

“I welcome their help and I pray that their well-meaning efforts would lead to the truth we are all looking for,” Poe said in a press statement released on Saturday, December 19.

“It is no secret that I have spent many years trying to find my biological parents. All foundlings want to know who their real parents are. All foundlings go through a difficult process, growing up – as a child, as a teenager and even as an adult – they wonder, they ask. I am no different. I went through the same ordeal. I have been yearning to know,” Poe said.

In a press conference also on Saturday, December 19, Rodriguez, a former arbiter of the National Labor Relations Commission in Western Visayas, announced he and some friends would be offering P300,000 (($6,344.50) to anyone able to offer “solid and credible” information about Poe’s biological parents.

Poe had been in Iloilo previously and had met with relatives and family friends way before her being a natural-born citizen became an issue in her presidential bid.

The Constitution requires candidates for president to be natural-born citizens. Poe’s citizenship has been questioned because she is a foundling.

Rodriguez said he hasn’t met the senator’s adoptive mother, actress Susan Roces, who is from Bacolod City. Neither has he met Poe herself and said he does not know her personally.

“This is my last patriotic act before I go to sleep permanently,” the retired judge said, when asked why he was offering the reward.

Positive outcome

In her statement, Poe said there had been many stories about her biological parents, some of them conflicting. “With the help of Judge Rodriguez and his friends and my supporters here in my hometown, I really hope and pray that this time our search will be blessed with a positive outcome.” (WATCH: Grace Poe cries as she talks about her parents, adoption)

She added that beyond her presidential bid, there is a higher purpose to this issue and this is the “fight for the equal rights of children.” She said, “This is not just my fight to remain in contention for the presidency. The state should not discriminate based on circumstances of one’s birth.”

She explained that government should act as the guardian of people unable to take care of themselves. “If children are abandoned or abused, the state takes care of them and the children take the citizenship of the state that adopts them. It is not humane to say you have no rights just because you are a foundling, that orphaned children are stateless, that they have no country, no citizenship,” Poe said.

Poe has been a consistent front-runner in presidential surveys, but the recent announcement of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte about finally running for president is expected to reflect on voter preferences. The results of another survey are expected to be announced before the Christmas break.  –

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