Ledesma: Citizenship for convenience

THE decision of the Supreme Court to qualify Senator Grace Poe Lamanzares to run for President puts all speculations to an end.

But the public furor surrounding the SC decision on her citizenship and residency issues only intensified and there is no guessing as to when or whether it will ebb.

Outside the confines of the High Court, legal luminaries, passionately expressed their frustration as well as displeasure on the verdict of the court. In the streets however, the fans of the late Fernando Poe Jr., went gaga because now masusulong na ni Grace ang sinimulan ng kanyang amang si FPJ.

In still another venue, the Commission on Elections lost two battles. The SC justices overturned their decision to disqualify Poe and as if that was not enough directed the poll body to issue receipts for every ballot cast in the coming presidential elections.

"This is a day of sadness, not for the Comelec, not even for the Supreme Court — but for Philippine democracy and the rule of law," Comelec Commissioner Arthur Lim intoned.

But what about the Presidential bets? Of course it’s amazing grace of Poe and she cannot hide her delirious reaction on the final deliverance from the issues that hounded her since day one. Vice President Jojo Binay and the anointed one, Mar Roxas, say praises and congratulated Poe for winning her case. Of course they were all feigned gestures. The ruling dashed off Binay’s hopes that he will be the beneficiary if Poe will be disqualified, while Roxas will now be rolling in his bed spooked by the rumors that it’s really Grace who has the Presidential blessings for after all he has always been expendable and in many occasions out of his BFF radar screen. Sad.

Senator Miriam Santiago, as I wrote this piece, was still withholding comment saying she still has to read the transcript of the decision. Only Mayor Rodrigo Duterte disagreed with the Supreme Court judgment. But that is not surprising. One of the immediate reasons why Duterte decided to accept the challenge for him to run was that he cannot countenance an American President to rule the country.

So what is my take on this political episode? More than the legal and rights issues surrounding Grace P. Llamanzares’ entry in the Presidential derby is the more supreme issue of her sense of patriotism and nationalism. Granting that she is in fact a natural born citizen, which I believe she is, I cannot countenance why she has to cast off her Filipino citizenship and pledge allegiance to America.

Even our overseas Filipino workers do not do that because no matter what the future will be they always want to come home to their native land. They are loyal and proud of their country. True she reacquired her Filipino citizenship but her loyalty is tainted, for twice she turned her back to her native land and twice she betrayed the country that adopted her.

For what to her is citizenship? I do not care how the Supreme Court led to their decision but Citizenship to me is never a tool for convenience.

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