QUEZON CITY (via PhilAmPress) – Is Senator Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares a natural born Filipino citizen and qualified to run for president of the Philippines?
The question continues to hound the neophyte senator even as she continues to lead surveys among presidentiables that include Vice President Jejomar Binay of the opposition who was the erstwhile leader, and former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, the administration Liberal Party’s candidate.
The senator, who is an adopted daughter of the late presidential candidate and Movie King Fernando Poe Jr. and veteran actress Susan Roces, shrugs off the issue nevertheless, stressing with confidence that she is a Filipino born in the Philippines and qualified to become the next leader of the country.
Senator Poe is facing disqualification cases before the Commission on Elections and the Senate Electoral Tribunal and, allegedly due to strong chances that she could be disqualified as a senator or as a presidential candidate, rumors flew this week in Manila that she has withdrawn from the presidential race.
Immediately, the lady senator denied the rumors which her camp suspect are being floated by her rivals who are not faring well in the surveys as part of their black propaganda.
Amidst the rumors, Poe revealed that the DNA tests taken from at least two persons have yielded negative results but insisted she is a Filipino.
“Ako’y Pilipino. Ako’y ipinanganak dito sa ating bansa. Ako’y lumaki dito sa ating bansa, pinag-aral ng aking mga magulang dito… Hindi lamang dito lumaki, ngayon ay naninilbihan dito sa ating bansa. Wala po akong duda sa aking puso, sa aking isip, ako po ay Pilipino,” she said in a DZMM interview.
”I have to admit to you, those who have taken samples did not match our DNA,” Poe said in the interview with radio dzMM ‘Ikaw Na Ba’ program.
Poe, however, refused to name the two persons who were tested to see if they match genetically with her.
”I cannot reveal their names because they are private citizens,” said Poe.
The lady senator said she was saddened by the new development but “I’m not losing hope because DNA is not only our legal defense.”
“Gayunpaman, hindi naman ako nawawalan din ng loob, lakas ng loob dito, sapagkat ang aming tinatayunan na legal na basehan ay hindi lang naman sa DNA nakasalalay. Nakasalalay po ito sa karapatan ng mga bata bilang mga ipinanganak dito sa ating bansa,” she added.
”It is also the fight for the rights of the foundling children in our country,” Poe said.
Poe is a foundling found in a church in Iloilo City in September 1968 and was later adopted by showbiz couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.
Poe’s spokesman Valenzuela City mayor Rex Gatchalian said more DNA results that are still being processed that if yield positive results would bolster Poe’s defense on the issue of her citizenship.
”It is taking more time than we anticipated,” Gatchalian said.
He insisted that Poe is a natural-born Filipino “because the laws substantiate that fact.”
”The laws are on all fours on this account hence we are submitting the case for resolution,” Gatchalian said.
He said the DNA results would only add to their legal arguments that are grounded on the intent of the framers of the Constitution and international principles of law.
”We are submitting it for resolution because we are very confident that our legal position will be sustained by the good tribunal,” Gatchalian said.
Under the Constitution, only natural-born Filipinos may sit as president, vice president, senator and congressman. A natural-born Filipino is one whose biological father or mother is a Filipino citizen at the time of the child’s birth.