MANILA – After a disqualification case challenging her citizenship and residency was filed on Thursday, Senator Grace Poe reiterated that she was a Filipino by birth, abode and choice.
“This petition . . . is seeking to unseat respondent Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares from the Senate . . . [because her] noncitizenship and nonresidence are grounds of ineligibility for a member of the Senate, thus, a member can be disqualified to continue as senator on these grounds,” the petition read.
The case was filed by Ang Kapatiran (The Brotherhood) party member Rizalito David before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET). David lost in the 2013 senatorial race. Poe, who topped the 2013 senatorial race and led the 2016 presidential preferences polls, was not at all threatened.
“It is an opportunity for the truth to come out and for this issue to be resolved once and for all,” Poe said in a Philippine Daily Inquirer report, seeing the case as her chance to clear all doubts regarding her citizenship.
“I am a Filipino by birth, abode and choice,” she added.
Ang Kapatiran, for its part, clarified that the disqualification case was not backed by the party but was filed by David alone. It also noted that the political party did not have members who handled citizenship and residency issues.
“The case is not a party position… It’s better the citizenship issue be raised by the nemeses of Poe after she files her candidacy,” Ang Kapatiran president Norman Cabrera said in the same report.
Presenting the petition alone, David was asked for his motives. He then asserted that he had ‘noble’ intentions and few supporters.
“I want to emphasize that my party has nothing to do with my petition… I feel they have an orchestrated response against my petition while I am alone, with no lawyer, in this fight for truth,” he said.
David also pointed out that Poe should not have served as the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) head in 2010 as she still had US citizenship at that time; and the law clearly stated that government officials should be Filipino citizens.
Not having enough financial resources to pay for the P50,000 filing fee, David admitted that it was funded by ‘plenty of friends in the private sector.’ He refused, however, to name his financial providers.
Openly questioning Poe’s citizenship and residency, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay was believed to have funded David’s disqualification case. Binay, however, denied having any involvement in the said case.