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Photo by Camille Elemia/Rappler
A little over a year ago, a warm exchange between Senators Alan Peter Cayetano, Grace Poe, and Nancy Binay was unimaginable.
After all, it was Cayetano who spearheaded the investigations into corruption allegations against former vice president Jejomar Binay and his family. Cayetano also questioned Poe's eligibility to run for president, raising citizenship issues against her.
But on Wednesday, May 17, ahead of Cayetano’s final speech as senator, it happened.
Senator Binay approached Cayetano and wished him luck on his new stint as foreign affairs secretary. It was a bit awkward, to say the least, but good thing their other colleagues, Senators Panfilo Lacson and Poe, were there.
“Congratulations!” Binay said as she and Cayetano shook hands.
Lacson could be heard teasing Binay: “Masyado atang contrived na contrived yun ah.” (That seemed too contrived.)
“Good luck! Good luck sila sa iyo. Hindi joke [lang] (Good luck to them. Just kidding),” Binay said in jest.
With his swift confirmation, Cayetano said it must be because of two things: either they really want him to be in the DFA or they just want him out of the Senate fast.
To which, Poe lightly said: “Naturally aware, ha. Wala ako dun ha." (You're naturally aware, ha. I don't have anything to do with that.)
Cayetano then went on to offer help to his colleagues and the Senate, should they one day need the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Lacson interjected a joke that made everyone laugh, including Poe herself.
“Simple lang ang request ni Grace. Baka puwede mabalik yung US citizenship niya (Grace has just a simple request. Maybe she can have her US citizenship back),” Lacson said.
Poe, in response, lightly said: “Grabe kayo. Sabi ko nga [kay Cayetano] pag state visit sa US, kaming dalawa magkasama eh.” (I told [Senator Cayetano] should there be a state visit to the US, the two of us should be together.)
"Yung pinagdaanan na nga namin grabe tapos guguluhin pa namin. Diyos ko, Lord," Poe said in jest. (We went through a lot and then we'll just mess it up, Lord.)
Poe and Cayetano are both former American citizens. Poe, a foundling, was adopted by Filipino showbiz royalties but she became a naturalized citizen in 2001. She got her Philippine citizenship back in 2006. It was the main issue against her when she ran for president in 2016.
Cayetano, meanwhile, was born to a Filipino father and American mother. He said he renounced his US citizenship in 1998.
During the 2016 campaign, Cayetano had questioned the citizenship of Poe – President Rodrigo Duterte’s closest rival then – even saying that senators who voted to retain Poe in the Senate made a wrong decision.
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org