Poe's presidential ambitions appears to be mired in muck—all of her own
doing. During oral arguments at the Supreme Court yesterday, Associate
Justice Mariano del Castillo asked Poe's counsel, Alexander Poblador,
why his client gave up her Philippine citizenship and instead chose to
become an American.
three-and-a-half hour hearing, Del Castillo's questioning focused on the
fact that there appeared to be no compelling need for Poe to renounce
her Philippine citizenship while she was living and working in the
United States with her husband Neil Llamanzares.
For ordinary folks who
have no intention of running for president of the Philippines one day,
this is not an issue. In fact many who migrated to the U.S. and chose to
become American citizens are quite happy with that decision. Many of
them have also opted to re-acquire Philippine citizenship and are
dual-citizens of both nations.
It only becomes
complicated if like Poe, you decide to run for high public office in the
Philippines. And the reason is this: in order to become a naturalized
American, you must first renounce your Philippine citizenship and swear
allegiance to the United States. This fact may not be readily obvious
during the naturalization ceremony as there is usually a festive
atmosphere to the event. But in that ceremony, each participant
renounces allegiance to their old country and with their right hand
raised, swears allegiance to their new one.
It therefore becomes
more than a minor problem for someone like Poe who says she now wants to
lead the Philippines as its president. Yet she turned her back on the
country when she became a naturalized American in 2001.
A president of a
country (any country) is not just an ordinary citizen. They are the
embodiment of what their country is and everything it stands for. Like
George Washington for the United States, or Winston Churchill for
England, or Charles De Gaulle for France, a president or a prime
minister becomes the personification of their country to the rest of the
So how can someone who
at one point gave up being Filipino ever hope to now personify its hopes
and aspirations? She can't. In fact we believe that congress should pass
a law that renders anyone who has voluntarily become a naturalized
citizen of another country, ineligible to ever become president.
When you think about
it, what Poe did is go citizen shopping. When it was more convenient to
be an American, she dropped her Philippine citizenship like she would a
hot potato. Then her step-father Fernando Poe Jr. passed away and she
saw an opportunity to leverage his popularity with the masses into a
political career for herself. So she conveniently drops her American
citizenship and reacquires Philippine citizenship so she can run, first
for senator, then springboard that into a run for president. The
callousness of such moves should give every Filipino voter pause for
concern, over and beyond the fact that Poe's glaring lack of experience
renders her unfit for that office to begin with.
Through her actions Poe
has shown that she has no allegiance whatsoever to either the
Philippines or the United States and deserves nothing from either. Published 1/20/2016