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Binay, Poe heat up debate over corruption, citizenship

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - March 20, 2016 - 5:57am

CEBU CITY, Philippines —  Presidential candidates Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay and Sen. Grace Poe heated up the first round of the presidential debate on Sunday when they had an exchange on the rule of law, which turned into an argument on Poe’s citizenship.

Binay was asked what he would do if his son dismissed Makati City Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay Jr. gets convicted. He said he will adhere to the rule of law and let his son face the charges.

“Kung ano man ang desisyon susundan natin. We must live a government with a rule of law,” Binay said.

Poe rebutted Binay and questioned his statement on rule of law, saying that the vice president and his son refused to attend hearings on the corruption allegations against them.

“Rule of law, pero meron din tayong mga rules ngayon na dapat sinunod. Siguro maganda ring pahiwatig ang paggalang din sa batas at nagging mga regulasyon ng debateng ito,” Poe said.

“Bigyan na natin ng benefit of the doubt ang ating mayor siguro nga mali ang nasabi nito pero para sakin importante na sana nakadalo siya sa Senado para mag-explica kung wala naman siyang tinatago,” she added.

Binay then fired back at Poe by poking at her citizenship as a violation of rule of law.

“Alam mo Madame Senator, pinaguusapan natin ang rule of law ha, lagi mong sinasabi na ikaw ay tunay na Pilipino, paano ka magiging tunay na Pilipino kung sumumpa ka na na maging Amerikano at mag-aabroad ka, ikinahihiya mo ang pinanggagalingan mo?” Binay asked.

Poe answered Binay’s tirades by citing the Republic Act 9225 or on dual citizenship. She said many Filipinos decide to live in other countries for greater opportunity but never lose their love for the country. She added that since Binay is an advocate for overseas Filipino workers, he should have understood this.

 However, the vice president insisted that Poe is not an OFW.

“Pinoprotektahan mo ang OFW, tapos sinasabi mo na ang isang tumira sa ibang bansa ay di na pwedeng manilbihan?” Poe said.

The Binay-Poe word war went on with an argument on Poe’s citizenship and ended up on Poe accusing Binay of corruption. Due to time limit, the exchange was cut off by moderator, Luchi Cruz Valdez.

Poe insisted that she returned to the country when her foster father Fernando Poe Jr. died while Binay insisted that he is not yet pronounced guilty of corruption.

“Hindi nila kinahihiya ang kanilang bansa. Kaya ako tumatakbo para magkaroon ng oportunidad (for Filipinos) para magkaroon ng oportunidad at hindi manatili dito para magnakaw lamang,” Poe said.

“Nanatili ka nga sa bansa pero ikaw naman ay nangulimbat,” Poe said, without referring to anyone in particular. Binay reacted, so the senator asked why he was being defensive.

During the argument, Binay kept mentioning the oath of acquiring an American citizenship or naturalization while reading his notes, the subject of earlier discussion among the candidates and debate hosts.

READ: Presidential debate delayed due to bets' 'concerns'

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