Poe (IS a/AS a) foundling

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

Everybody who has taken up the cudgels for Grace Poe is arguing her case from the wrong perspective, and it is easy to see why. Poe cannot be saved from disqualification in her bid for the presidency if her case is argued mainly from a constitutional standpoint. The Constitution is very clear. Only a natural born Filipino citizen can be president. And Poe is not a natural born citizen.

Poe is a foundling. As such, her parents are unknown. Since her parents are unknown, it cannot be said with certainty that they are not from Kazakhstan, with due apologies to the good people of this fine Central Asian republic. It is for this reason of uncertainty that she cannot be made president. It has nothing to do with her being a foundling, as her supporters would like the argument to go.

Her supporters, including supposedly wise and learned former magistrates who have the facility and skill to summon the most forceful and persuasive arguments, want the argument to dwell on Poe being a foundling because they want to lace it with emotions. They know emotions can prove far stronger than common sense, logic, even the truth.

To argue on Poe's behalf by courting the emotions in order to win for her a groundswell of sympathy is the only way she can hurdle the legal challenge that stands in her way. That is why, in all the arguments in her favor, there is always a harking to covenants about civil and political rights, declarations of human and children's rights, as well as motherhood statements about statelessness.

It should be pointed out to Poe and her supporters that it is not because she IS a foundling that she is being sought to be disqualified but because AS a foundling her parents are unknown and it could not therefore be determined if they are Filipino or Mesopotamian. There is a whale of a difference between the IS and the AS and if you cannot spot such difference then it is your fault, not the Constitution's.

Not one of the many disqualification cases against Poe is there a single one that stops with her being a foundling. Each one always goes on to qualify the disqualification -- that the natural born citizenship required by the Constitution of those wanting to be president is vested only on those whose parents are known to be Filipino.

Besides, if we are to take up the folly and deliberate muddling of the issue by her supporters at their face value, what civil, political, human and child's rights are they breaking into crocodile tears about? Poe may not be a natural born citizen but she has never been deprived Filipino citizenship. In fact, after she relinquished it in favor of American citizenship, she was able to reacquire it in a breeze when doing so suited her latest personal and political interests.

Indeed, this willingness to switch citizenships whenever she feels like it should prove to be a far greater argument why it is dangerous for the country and detrimental to its national interests to have a president with a record of flitting from one citizenship to another like she was switching channels. Maybe it is time the debates shifted from a non-issue that only became one after its hijacking to the real issues that hound her bid for the presidency.

Among these are her seeming unbridled lust for power and lack of background and preparation for the major foreign and domestic concerns that await the next president. Shown a survey that she topped erstwhile frontrunners for the presidency and she suddenly heard God calling her name. China, the Bangsamoro, illegal drugs, poverty, crime, power shortages, climate change. These are not movie themes that are up for her mere censorship or approval. This is real life calling.

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