Justices grill Poe’s lawyer

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto M. Maceda - The Philippine Star

Justices Antonio Carpio, Teresita de Castro, Mariano del Castillo, Diosdado Peralta and Estela Perlas Bernabe questioned Atty. Alex Poblador, Senator Grace Poe’s lawyer.

Upon interpellation by Justice Del Castillo, Poblador confirmed that Poe used her United States passport four times in October, November and December 2009 and March 2010. At that time, Poblador admitted that Poe was still a dual citizen in the Philippines until she renounced her US citizenship in October 2010.

Del Castillo also questioned why the Senator opted to use the Balikbayan Visa, which is temporary in nature, instead of a Permanent Visa, if she really intended to stay in the country for good.

Del Castillo questioned why the Senator used her US passport four times as a dual citizen despite having a Philippine passport in 2006?

Del Castillo asked Poblador the reason why Poe renounced her American citizenship five years after she returned to the country. Poblador answered it was due to her appointment as chairman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

Senior Associate Justice Carpio asked Poblador why Poe did not secure a Bureau of Immigration (BIR) requirement for former natural born citizens intending to permanently reside in the Philippines without having to be a dual citizen. Poblador said Poe thought it was not necessary under the citizenship reacquisition law.

Justice De Castro maintained her opinion that citizenship accorded to foundlings like Poe could not be considered as natural-born in nature as it is only given for purposes of adoption, which involves a long process.

Poblador admitted that Poe erred in filling out her Certificate of Candidacy (COC) when she ran for senator when she indicated her residency for only six years and six months.

Justice De Castro said the presumption of Filipino citizenship of Fernando Poe Jr. was not disputable as it was based on fact unlike the case of daughter Grace which is based on a disputable fact.

Justice Peralta said the case of Imelda Marcos cannot be applied to Poe’s case since Marcos never acquired US citizenship.

Justice Bernabe questioned Poblador on his contention that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) have abused its discretion on disqualifying Poe as only the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) had such authority.

Justice Marvic Leonen also questioned Atty. Poblador but was clearly supportive of Poe’s case.

The next hearing was set for January 26.

Binay tops latest survey

Vice President Jejomar Binay topped the latest survey, with 30 percent of the vote, conducted by independent pollster, The Center of Ed Malay.

Grace Poe and Mar Roxas tied for second place, with 22 percent each. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte came in fourth, with 20 percent.

Malay said the ratings of Vice President Binay show that people doubt the actual intent of the Senate hearings and many are drawn to deduce that these are indeed politically motivated.

Malay noted that Poe’s popularity is losing steam as Filipino voters appear to have awaken from their stupor, look beyond popularity and are in search of quality and caliber.

Malay noted that unless Binay increases his eight-point lead to double digits, the voters have not yet made up their minds, and  the contest for President will go down to the wire.

Meanwhile, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) Secretary General JV Bautista announced that Vice Governor Sheffered Lino Tan and Provincial Board Member Albert Esclamado of Southern Leyte have left the Liberal Party (LP) and joined UNA.

P-Noy to travel

Speaking before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Tourism Forum at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), President Simeon Benigno Aquino Jr. said “in 162 days he will step down as President and he will be free to be a tourist.”

“This means that when I visit our country’s famous beaches, I will be able to stay more than an hour and actually get to walk on the sand of these beaches.”

“If I do get to travel to any countries in Asean, I will be able to spend more time walking the streets and imbibing all of the cultural activities at leisure,” the President added.

P-Noy noted that 5.36 million tourists visited the Philippines in 2015 and engaged in a wide variety of activities, from shopping in world class malls to climbing mountains and swimming with whale sharks.

He predicted that the Philippines will catch up with Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam who are attracting more visitors.

8 presidential candidates

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) released a list of eight presidential candidates for the May 2016 elections.

They are Vice President Jejomar Binay (UNA), Secretary Mar Roxas (LP), Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (PRP), Senator Grace Poe (Independent), Mayor Rodrigo Duterte (PDP-Laban), Cong. Roy Seneres (OFW), Mel Mendoza (PMP) and Dante Valencia (Independent).


Senator Serge Osmeña III said he is not supporting Mar Roxas for president but is leaning towards Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. He also said he is openly supporting Rep. Leni Robredo for vice president.

Lt. Col. Ferdinand Marcelino, former head of the Special Enforcement Service of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), was arrested in a raid at an apartment in Sta. Cruz, Manila which was used as a drug laboratory.

Two more National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) towers were bombed in North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur.

Pope Francis invited all Catholics to attend the 51st International Eucharistic Congress in Cebu, starting this week.

Of the 6,000 units planned to be constructed for the victims of the Zamboanga City siege, only 2,000 have been completed.













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