MANILA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe on Monday, November 9, criticized the 4th disqualification case filed against her before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
The new disqualification case, filed by former University of the East law dean Amado Valdez on Monday, questioned Poe’s natural-born Filipino status.
Poe’s spokesman, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, said in a statement: “Senator Poe respects the right of Dean Amado Valdez to file a petition through Comelec. We reiterate, though, that Sen. Poe has met all the...prerequisites in seeking the presidency.”
Gatchalian stressed that Poe “has been domiciled in the Philippines since 2005,” and has thus “met the 10-year residency requirement.”
Poe’s spokesman also sought to debunk Valdez’s argument that Poe has lost her natural-born Filipino status. He said Republic Act 9225, or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003, “is very clear on this.”
Gatchalian said: “The express provisions of this law substantiates the fact that she was deemed not to have lost her natural born citizenship when she reacquired her Filipino citizenship. The act of repatriation is not naturalization.”
“Like the rest of the petitions, Senator Poe will answer these suits point per point. We are ready to face all these petitions and prove them wrong,” he said.
Valdez: Poe lost natural-born status
Quoted by radio dzMM, Valdez said Poe regained only her Philippine citizenship and not her natural-born status. He based this argument on Republic Act 9225.
Valdez added that one cannot regain one's natural-born status once lost, according to dzMM. Poe reportedly lost her natural-born status in 2001 when she became a naturalized US citizen.
Previously, 3 different petitioners already filed disqualification cases against Poe before the Comelec.
On October 20, De La Salle University professor and political analyst Antonio Contreras said Poe isn't qualified to run for president in 2016 because of her "failure to meet the 10-year residency requirement."
Former senator Francisco Tatad filed a similar petition on October 19, and maintained that Poe is not a natural-born citizen as she has "unknown parents."
On October 16 – just a day after Poe filed her COC – lawyer Estrella Elamparo filed a petition, too, "to deny due course to or cancel" the senator's COC because of her allegedly false claims: that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen and is also a resident of the Philippines for 10 years prior to May 2016.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.