Aquino: SC ruling should 'fully educate' public on Poe case

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday, March 9, said he expects the Supreme Court to "fully educate" the public on its ruling on the disqualification case against Senator Grace Poe.

Aquino made the statement in a news briefing in Lipa City, Batangas, where he keynoted the Philippine Air Force change of command and retirement ceremony at the Fernando Air Base.

Responding to questions, the President said he hopes the SC decision would address questions on Poe's citizenship and residency, and provide clear rules on Filipino citizenship or non-citizenship.

"Sana iyong ating Korte Suprema dito sa kanilang desisyon ay magbibigay talaga ng…todong kalinawan o paglilinaw sa sambayanan in their role as educator, as far as the law is concerned, para maging klarong-klaro sa lahat ng ating mamamayan kung ano ba talaga ang mga alituntunin sa pagiging citizen or non-citizen ng ating bansa," he said.

(I hope the Supreme Court, in their decision, will fully explain this to the public in their role as educator, as far as the law is concerned, so that the rules on being a citizen or non-citizen in our country will be crystal clear to the people.)

The SC only announced the 9-6 vote in favor of Poe, but did not explain the basis for its ruling. In a statement released hours after the verdict on Tuesday, SC spokesman Theodore Te said he was only authorized to release this information, and that there would be 4 concurring opinions to the majority decision, and 5 dissenting opinions.

"Please note that since the Court has only authorized the release of the vote, it may not be safe to report which ground the Court ruled upon and used as basis for the vote, i.e., between citizenship and residence," Te said.

Independence of appointees

The President said that he "personally wants to see two things in the decision."

Aquino said it was the first time for him to hear that when Poe accepted her appointment to chair the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board  (MTRCB), she had to go to the consular office in the United States to renounce her citizenship in 2011, when she already occupied the position.

"Ni walang nagkwento sa akin, walang nagbalita, walang formal report noong panahon na iyon (Nobody told me about this, there was no formal report submitted to me during that time)," he said.

Aquino asked why Poe should do this when she was supposed to have already reacquired her Philippine citizenship.

"Gusto nating makita, maliwanagan lahat ng issues. Sana magkaroon ng kumpletong tugon doon sa desisyon na ilalathala nila (We want to be fully clarified on the issues. We hope the decision they will publish would provide complete answers)," he said.

Asked about his SC appointees who voted in favor of Poe, Aquino said it only proved their independence from their appointing authority.

"Itinalaga natin sila para maging independent e. Ginawa nila ang independence nila (We appointed them to be independent. They exercised their independence)," Aquino said.

Of the 9 SC justices who voted in favor of Poe, 4 are Aquino appointees: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, and justices Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Benjamin Caguioa. – Rappler.com