Poe reacts to Roxas: You knew about my election 'issues'
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe on Friday, December 4, shot back at Liberal Party standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II, who had claimed that Poe hid her citizenship and residency issues when she was being invited as the ruling party's vice presidential candidate.
"Wala naman akong sinisikreto. Bilang isang DILG secretary noon, alam niya siguro ang lahat, pati nga ang background namin. Hayaan na natin," Poe said, dismissing Roxas' statement.
(I'm not hiding anything. As the DILG secretary then, he must have known everything, even our background. Let's just let him be.)
On Thursday, December 3, Roxas said the ruling party "presumed regularity" when it sincerely invited Poe to "be part of Daang Matuwid."
"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," the former interior secretary earlier said in a chance interview with reporters in Biliran.
(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.)
Poe pointed out that Roxas knew early on that questions were being raised about her qualifications, and cannot claim that these were kept secret from the ruling party.
As early as May, there were already reports both camps of Roxas and opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay were separately preparing cases to question the possibility that Poe is not a natural-born Filipino – a requirement for presidents under the Constitution.
Yet the ruling Liberal Party continued to woo her to become Roxas' running mate.
"Nako naman, June pa lamang po nalathala na sa lahat ng mga papel noon 'yung isang partido ay nagpakita ng tungkol sa aking citizenship, di ba? Sinabi pa nga noong mga panahon na iyon ay kulang daw ako sa aking residency dito," Poe said in a press conference in Surigao City Friday.
(Really? As early as June, it was already published in many newspapers that one party showed something against my citizenship, right? They even said during that time that my residency here falls short of what is required.)
Poe on Friday also zeroed in on Roxas, who himself lived and worked for years in the United States. She said it was clear in her conversations before with Roxas that he knew she used to also live in the US.
Poe, the front runner in presidential preference surveys, recently identified Roxas' camp as among those behind moves to disqualify her from the 2016 polls, insinuating that such efforts intensified because she did not agree to become Roxas' running mate.
Poe said on Thursday that she would've had an easier time had she allied with the ruling party and ran as Roxas' vice president. But now that she's a presidential candidate leading in preference surveys, Poe is facing 4 disqualification cases before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Ruling on one of the cases, the Comelec Second Division already ordered the cancellation of Poe's certificate of candidacy (COC) as it contains "material representations which are false."
The division ruled that Poe as a foundling is not a natural-born Filipino – a decision contrary to the final decision of the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
It also ruled that Poe has not met the 10-year residency requirement for presidents since she wrote in her 2013 COC for senator that she was a resident of the Philippines for 6 years and 6 months.
The members of the division – commissioners Al Parreño, Arthur Lim, and Sheriff Abas – are all appointees of President Benigno Aquino III.
'Nobody else to blame but herself'
In a press conference Friday, LP's spokesman and Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice insisted that even if Poe was the ruling coalition's vice presidential bet, she would still be facing the same problems.
Reacting to Poe's lapses in her COC for president, Erice said she has no one to blame but herself.
"Walang dapat sisihin si Poe kundi ang sarili niya. Una, naniwala siya kay Chiz [Escudero].... Palagay ko po 'yun ang pinakamalaking pagkakamali niya. Simpleng COC lang nagkamali ka, tapos tatakbo ka ng pangulo. Ano pang gagawin mo 'pag naging presidente ka?" said Erice.
(Poe has nobody to blame but herself. First, she believed in Chiz Escudero [that she should run for president]. To me, that's her biggest mistake. She cannot get her COC right and yet she wants to run for president. What more if she's elected president?) – with a report from Bea Cupin/Rappler.com
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