Poe to rivals: Focus on your issues, not on my family’s citizenship

Poe to rivals: Focus on your issues, not on my family’s citizenship
'Alam ninyo ang aking katapatan sa bansa at 'yung ating mga ginawa para rito,' the presidential bet says in reaction to criticisms that her husband and children are American citizens

ILOILO CITY, Philippines – Presidential bet Grace Poe hit critics questioning the citizenship of her husband and 3 kids who are citizens of both the United States and the Philippines.

Poe came to her family’s defense on Monday, March 14, when asked for reaction on social media posts that say they are an American family.

“Ginagawan nila ‘yan ng issue imbis na nakatutok sa bilyon-bilyon na dapat ay sagutin ng iba at sa mga iba pang issue. Basta ako’y nagpapasalamat sa ating mga kababayan,” Poe said in a chance interview in Santa Barbara, Iloilo.

(They are making an issue out of it instead of focusing on the billions that others should answer and many other issues. I am thankful for the support of our fellowmen.)

In November, Poe said her husband Neil Llamanzares would renounce his foreign citizenship and assured the public that Filipinos would not have an “American boy in Malacañang.

“Kung matatandaan ‘nyo, ang proseso ay matagal para d’yan at ‘yung mga bata ay mga bata pa. Alam ninyo ang aking katapatan sa bansa at ‘yung ating mga ginawa para rito,” Poe said.

(If you would remember, the process takes a long time and my children are still young. You know my loyalty to this country and what I’ve done for the country.)

Poe earlier said she would not force her children – Brian, 23; Hanna, 17; and Anika, 11 – to renounce their US citizenship. 

Llamanzares, who is a dual citizen of the US and the Philippines since birth, was born to Filipino doctors who were then studying and working in the US. He married Grace Poe in San Juan, in the Philippines, in 1991. Poe became a naturalized US citizen in 2001.(READ: TIMELINE: Grace Poe’s citizenship, residency)

Unlike Philippine citizenship law, which requires at least 1 parent to be a Filipino, American law considers as citizens those born in their country regardless of parentage.

Husband’s renunciation

Poe in January said her own renunciation before the US government took months and was expecting the same for her husband.

“Kung mapapansin ‘nyo kasi ‘yung sa akin, ano, matagal na nga naproseso. Ilang buwan ang inabot kaya nga tinanong nila. Kaya lang I have to immediately do it in front of a public officer dahil nga I was assuming a post. Kailangan mong ilagay ‘yung mga assets and liabilities. Marami kang mga kailangan suriing mabuti,” she earlier said.

(If you will notice, my renunciation [of US citizenship] was processed a long time ago. It took how many months, that’s why they are questioning it. I had to do it immediately in front of a public officer because I was then assuming a post. You have to put there your assets and liabilities. You have a lot to scrutinize.)

Some critics, however, said Llamanzares could already renounce his foreign citizenship in front of a local notary public like what Poe did.

In October 2010, a day before she took oath as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, she renounced her US citizenship before a notary public in Pasig City.

It was in 2011 when she formally renounced her US citizenship at the US Embassy in Manila.

Critics then alleged she was still a US citizen until that time. But Poe earlier argued the 2010 act was already enough as far as Philippine laws are concerned.

Asked why her husband has not done it, Poe said: “We are already doing what we can to comply with the process. Thank you.” – Rappler.com

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