IT LOOKS like the Binay camp is trying to make a fool out of us on the issue of Sen. Grace Poe’s citizenship. Fortunately, it backfired.
It all began with a press conference by the voluble Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco.
Using the certificate of candidacy that Poe used when she ran for the Senate in 2016, Tiangco claimed that the senator is not eligible to run for a higher post in next year’s elections because she would not qualify for the 10 years residency requirement.
That sparked interest because the result of last month’s Social Weather Stations survey on people’s preference for president, Poe was already in a statistical tie with Vice President Jejomar Binay. Considering the release of more damaging reports on Binay’s alleged corrupt ways, Poe is expected to outstrip Binay in the coming weeks.
So there was method in Tiangco’s madness. But the issue turned out to be a dud even if it sparked intense discussion on certain legal points. Tiangco apparently used a shaky interpretation of the 10-year residency rule that many legal experts immediately debunked. Poe then clarified that she has actually been living in the Philippines for 10 years after years of staying in the US—and she has evidence to prove that.
But another issue sprouted from the Tiangco offensive. While Poe was indeed born in the Philippines, it has not been established who her real parents are and their nationality. Grace was taken care of by several couples when she was a kid until she ended up being adopted by power showbiz couples Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.
Would all these issues derail Grace Poe’s run for a higher post? I doubt.
Now to the amusing part. After the Tiangco claim created a stir, the VP claimed Tiangco, who is one of the stalwarts of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance Party, did the expose on his own. The claim is laughable because what Tiangco did fit snugly into a scheme to pull down Poe’s rating in the survey. And did you hear Binay say Tiangco’s interpretation of the residency requirement is wrong?
The clock is continuing to tick for Vice President Jejomar Binay. Ten members of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee have signed the blue ribbon subcommittee’s partial report recommending the filing of plunder cases against the VP and other people for the allegedly overpriced Makati City Hall Building II. That means the report will now go to the Senate plenary for discussion and approval.
I once saw Binay asked about the subcommittee recommendation and he seemed confident it would not pass muster in the Senate. The signing of the document by 10 Blue Ribbon Committee members must have therefore been a surprise for Binay. Now that recommendation only needs the signature of a few more senators to pass in the plenary.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Ombudsman is continuing to sift through the bank records of Binay and his alleged dummies that the Court of Appeals froze for six months.
Considering the kind of information dug up by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, something should come up on this probably before the year ends.
It now looks like a race against time for the VP. Will the legal issues catch up with him before the campaign period for the 2016 presidential elections comes or before Election Day itself? This is important because the elections seem to be the only hope for him. If he becomes president he will be immune from suit throughout his term although he still can be impeached. But we know how the impeachment process works.
If he loses, expect the world to fall hard on him.