By Jelly F. Musico
MANILA, June 3 (PNA) – As she promised, Senator Grace Poe faced the media on Wednesday and answered several issues ranging from her real birth parents to her citizenship now being questioned after her sudden surge in the presidential preference surveys.
Poe, an adopted daughter of the late movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. and actress Susan Roces, clarified that if ever she will decide to run for a public higher office in 2016, she is qualified even under the 10-year residency rule.
”First, it is not true that I’m not qualified. I’m qualified but I have yet to decide whether I will file my candidacy,” Poe told the Senate media.
Last Tuesday, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president Toby Tiangco showed to the media Poe’s certificate of candidacy (COC) in 2013 where she said she was a resident of the Philippines for only six years and six months.
Tiangco, one of the spokespersons of Vice President Jejomar Binay who already declared his intention to run for president next year, said Poe is a resident of the country for only nine years and six months if she will run as president.
Article VII, Section 2 of the Constitution states that “no person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.”
”First, why six years and six months? It was stated in the COC, resident in the Philippines before May 2013. It was not by May 2013 or on May 2013. What I did, it was my actual residence on the day of my filing (COC) which is in October 2012,” Poe explained.
Poe said she decided to stay in the Philippines as early as 2005 after her father Fernando Poe Jr. died in December 2004.
”I’m honest and truthful and if you will count the time that I’m here in the Philippines, I’m more than the requirement. I have many proofs,” she stressed.
On her citizenship, Poe admitted that she was holding dual citizenship but she gave up already her American citizenship when she decided to stay in the Philippines.
”It is clear (in the law) that if you are a dual citizen of the Philippines, you revert back to original status. Now, if my original status is here, I’m a founding still a found status,” Poe explained.
With regard to her real birth parents, Poe said she still interested to find out her real parents but even if opportunity would not come, “I’m still blessed and thankful that I have parents who loved me so much.”
”I just want to recall what happened, my (biological parents) left me in a church in Iloilo. Perhaps they really cannot support me, so they left me in a church because they still fear God,” Poe said.
Poe said she is already expecting these kind of issues will be used against her if ever she will decide to run for higher office in 2016.
”For me, they are using this issue as if I have no right to think of serving the people in a higher position,” she said.
Poe also answered an issue that she was the daughter of the late President Ferdinand Marcos to Susan Roces’ sister Rosemarie Sonora.
”I asked my mother about that. My mother never lies, I’m close to my aunt (Rosamarie), it is not really true. Now, if somebody in the showbiz will prove, it’s up to them, but I will still believe my mother that it is not true,” Poe said.
The lady senator, who topped the 2013 senatorial election, is just hoping that the people will accept the truth even without a DNA test.
Poe admitted that the attacks she has been getting might help in convincing her to run for higher office in the 2016 polls.
”Aaminin ko po, ngayon nangyayari lahat ito, mas napapadalas ang isip ko dito at pagpaplano. Basta po kung lalabas ako, sabi nga nila ‘ilang percent na ba ang iyong desisyon?’ Sabi ko sa tingin ko mga 50% at mas lalo pa nilang tinutulak na mapalapit sa 100%,” she said.
Poe was statistically tied with front-running Vice President Jejomar Binay based on the recent presidential preference surveys.
Poe’s father, FPJ, ran but lost to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the highly-controversial 2004 presidential election. (PNA)