Poe eyes Bongbong DNA test after polls

Marvin Sy - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – She’s open to the idea of a DNA test with her long-rumored “brother,” Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., but if this is going to happen, it would be done only after the May elections.

Speaking at a roundtable interview with editors and reporters of The STAR yesterday, Sen. Grace Poe revealed that the latest DNA tests conducted on three of her possible relatives in Guimaras have fizzled out.

Poe said that the DNA samples taken from the remains of three individuals whose bodies were exhumed were no longer viable because they were in an advanced stage of decomposition.

“The samples were not viable. They’re now concentrating on the ones that are alive who have submitted their DNA,” Poe said.

She said that this was the reason it took close to a month for the results of the latest testing to come out.

A foundling, Poe was left at the steps of a church in Jaro, Iloilo and the identities of her biological parents were never known. Because of this, rumors and conspiracy theories on her parentage cropped up.

The two most prominent rumors were that she is related to Marcos by blood and that she is the daughter of her aunt, Rosemarie Sonora.

In both instances, the implication was that the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and Sonora were involved in extramarital relations that resulted in the birth of Poe.

The reported relationship between Poe and Marcos has been the subject of friendly banter between the two senators.           

While the two have refused to take the matter seriously, the rumors persist, prompting Marcos to offer a DNA test with Poe.

“Baka nga gawin ko na lang (I just might do it). I’m thankful to Senator Bongbong because he has been very cool about the situation. He’s like ‘Why not?’ He’s willing to do it,” Poe said in jest.

Asked why she would not just agree to the test if only to put the rumors to rest, Poe said that she is open to this, but only after the elections.

“Maybe after May 2016,” she said.

As for the alleged relationship with Sonora, Poe said that evidence against this theory is strong.

She said that there is no reason for her to go through a DNA test with any of the direct relatives of Sonora, specifically her cousin, actress Sheryl Cruz.

“I don’t think there is a reason for it. But sometimes it crosses my mind para matapos na (just to get this over with). But you also have to respect the sentiments of some,” Poe said.

She pointed out that when she was born in 1968, her aunt was active in show business and had a television show, on top of her films.

During that period, Poe said that there was no indication that Sonora was pregnant.

“I don’t think she’s my mother. But some people still want to keep the urban legend alive. Maybe my cousin will definitely not give a DNA test. She’s furious about it and I apologize to her for dragging her into this unintentionally,” Poe said.

Speed up resolution

The Supreme Court (SC) was asked yesterday to speed up its resolution of the case involving the disqualification of Poe by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the presidential polls this May.

Former Government Service Insurance System lawyer Estrella Elamparo specifically asked the high court to conduct daily hearings for the oral arguments on the petition of Poe questioning her disqualification.

Elamparo, one of four petitioners in the disqualification cases against Poe before the poll body who stand as private respondents in the SC cases, said there is a need to resolve the case before the printing of ballots next week.

“Considering that time is of the essence and the importance of resolving this case soonest for the guidance of the electorate, petitioner most humbly requests that the oral arguments be set continuously on a daily basis, if possible until completion,” she appealed in a two-page motion.

Elamparo lamented that despite the first two oral arguments held last Jan. 19 and 26, only the camp of Poe has been able to present its case so far before the high tribunal.

She said there are at least six more representatives from three other parties – the Comelec, Office of the Solicitor General and disqualification petitioners – set to face the SC for the oral arguments that will continue this afternoon and that “it will take more than one hearing day to complete the oral arguments.”

“It bears noting that the Comelec has already delayed the printing of ballots to Feb. 8 to give way to the proceedings before the honorable court,” she said.

Meanwhile, former University of the East law dean Amado Valdez has rebutted the position of Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno in last week’s hearing that Philippine adoption laws recognize foundlings or a child with no known parents as Filipino citizens.

Valdez, also chair emeritus of the Philippine Association of Law Schools, said the country’s adoption laws do not confer citizenship and the 1987 Constitution is clear on who are natural-born citizens.

He said that in adoption proceedings, citizenship was only presumed.

“Adoption law applies (to foundlings) not because of being a Filipino citizen but because of the domiciliary principle which is applied when citizenship cannot be determined,” he said.

“What is stated in the Constitution is clear. Otherwise we open the gates to pretending Filipinos,” he said.

He emphasized that “our last defense to that threat is to limit the presidency and other critical positions only to natural-born citizens.”

Article IV Section 2 of the Constitution provides that “natural-born citizens are those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship...”

On the other hand, Article VII Section 2 provides that “no person may be elected president unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines… and a resident of the Philippines for at least 10 years immediately preceding such election.”

Lawyer Manuelito Luna, counsel for former senator Francisco Tatad, agreed with Valdez and said the Constitution is strict in identifying its citizens because “citizenship is an aspect of sovereignty.”

Luna cited the SC decision on the case of Vicente Ching, where the high court itself did not consider his election of Philippine citizenship made seven years after attaining the age of majority as substantial compliance with the 1935 Constitution “despite passing the Bar exams and the accountancy board coupled with the fact that his mother is a Filipino.”

During last week’s oral arguments on two cases filed by Poe to challenge her disqualification as a presidential candidate, Sereno said that Philippine adoption law recognizes foundlings as Filipino citizens. – With Edu Punay     













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