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How Can Filipinos Vote for Grace Poe After She Turned Her Back on the Philippines in 2001

Grace Poe-Llamanzares

race 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.

During the 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 world.

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.

Grace Poe-Llamanzares

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

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