‘Citizenship suit vs Poe may backfire’
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - August 7, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Senior administration lawmakers warned the political opponents of Sen. Grace Poe to go easy on the citizenship issue because it may backfire.

Deputy Speaker and Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe said the more opponents hit Poe – who is seen as running for president in 2016 – the more the senator could gain public sympathy.

“How can we accuse a foundling, an abandoned baby in Iloilo, to be an American citizen? The more they file cases regarding the citizenship of Grace Poe, the more we will emphasize the humble beginnings of Grace in the Philippines,” Batocabe said.

“And the more you strike this personal chord on the very existence of Grace Poe, the more personal the pain inflicted on her, the more will her political stock grow. So keep these cases going if you want Grace to win,” he added.

Aggabao believes that if the citizenship case will reach the Supreme Court, the magistrates will likely rule in her favor.

“My perception is this: we have an activist Supreme Court. We’ve seen that in many decisions. My feeling is, if they see Sen. Grace Poe is on top of the heap and is soaring in poll surveys, they will listen to the people. At the end of the day, issues pertaining to her citizenship are not very difficult hurdles,” he said.

Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar Binay said he is leaving it up to his daughter, Sen. Nancy Binay, to decide on whether to inhibit from the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), which will hear the petition to unseat Poe due to residency and citizenship issues.

“Nancy will be the one to decide. She has enough knowledge and integrity,” the Vice President said in an interview in Pangasinan.

 “Don’t worry, we always base our judgment on evidence,” Binay added.

 The SET is composed of six senators and three SC justices.

It is currently chaired by Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio with members Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Arturo Brion and Sens. Binay, Loren Legarda, Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Pia Cayetano, Cynthia Villar and Vicente Sotto III.

Former senatorial aspirant Rizalito David on Thursday filed the quo warranto petition before the SET, arguing that since

Poe is a foundling, she is therefore stateless and could be unseated as a member of the Senate.

The Vice President denied he was behind David’s filing of petition against Poe, who has overtaken Binay in the presidential surveys. – With Helen Flores

ACIRC ASSOCIATE JUSTICES TERESITA LEONARDO BINAY CASTRO AND ARTURO BRION AND SENS CYNTHIA VILLAR AND VICENTE SOTTO DEPUTY SPEAKER AND ISABELA REP GIORGIDI AGGABAO AND AKO BICOL GRACE POE POE SUPREME COURT VICE PRESIDENT
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