Philippine Senator Grace Poe holds a copy of the Senate probe on the Jan.25, 2015 botched police operation to capture wanted Muslim terrorist Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, also known as Marwan, that resulted in the death of 44 elite police commandos, during a news conference Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at suburban Pasay city south of Manila, Philippines. Forty four police commandos were killed by Muslim guerrillas in an operation to capture Marwan, one of Southeast Asia’s most-wanted terror suspects, in a Jan. 25 raid in marshy outskirts of southern Mamasapano town in southern Philippines. Sen. Poe said in the report that President Benigno Aquino III is "ultimately responsible" for the incident. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Grace Poe, citizenship is a legal issue, but also an emotional one

A few days ago, I wrote what I thought should be a pre-requisite for those who wants to become president of my country, the Philippines. I asked, “Why can’t we place a higher standard of nationalism on them, too? Like expecting a candidate to must have never thought about dropping their being a Filipino, even on paper, just because it’s admittedly more convenient (or inconvenient, for those who have the means to choose it to be that way for them) elsewhere?”

It looks like Prof. Randy David agrees with this line of thought, as he wrote in his recent piece at the Inquirer:

Citizenship is a legal issue, but also an emotional one. I am not a lawyer, but I think Sen. Grace Poe’s eligibility for an elective position in the legislature or the presidency is arguable using RA 9225. That law permitted her to regain her status as a natural-born citizen of this country. But those who oppose her on citizenship grounds will likely ask whether someone who renounced and later reacquired Philippine citizenship can still be considered a natural-born citizen as defined by the 1987 Constitution. Here’s what Article IV, Section 2, says: “Natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.”

Questions: If you renounced and lost your citizenship—and later reacquired it after applying and taking an oath—wouldn’t the latter be regarded as performing an “act to acquire or perfect” one’s citizenship? Doesn’t renouncing your citizenship mean canceling your allegiance to your mother country? And isn’t that the reason for taking the oath of allegiance when you apply to regain it?

… I nonetheless find it reasonable that the Constitution requires more from those aspiring for the highest offices of the republic. They must be free of the stain of dual allegiance. Grace has to find a convincing way to respond, for example, to the late Supreme Court Justice Isagani Cruz’s contention that “Philippine citizenship previously disowned is not that cheaply recovered.”

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It’s not a question whether Grace Poe deserves to be president even if she’s a fondling. To me, being fondling is not an issue. It’s her abandoning her Filipino citizenship at one point in her life that should be a real issue.

As Prof. Randy David eloquently puts it: citizenship is a legal issue, but also an emotional one.

  • rodolfo r. zabella, jr.

    Anyone who values LOYALTY and HONOR will not vote for her