FPJ ADMITS SIRING ILLEGITIMATE CHILD BY FORMER ACTRESS

{PHOTO AT LEFT: DA KING: Presidential aspirant Fernando Poe Jr. awaits questions from lawyers during a dialogue in a Quezon City restaurant yesterday. - Val Rodriguez}

MANILA, February 4, 2004 (STAR) By Ann Corvera - Like his bosom buddy deposed President Joseph Estrada, presidential aspirant Fernando Poe Jr. has admitted fathering a child out of wedlock. Poe’s admission was made with just a week before the official campaign period begins for the May 10 elections. Poe nonchalantly admitted siring a child by former actress Ana Marin in an exclusive interview with GMA-7’s "Bio-data" program which was shown late last night. Being married to actress Susan Roces for 35 years, Poe however said his romance with Marin "has long been over and is now just part of the past."

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court ordered Poe yesterday to answer all the petitions seeking to disqualify him from the presidential race this May. The high court also directed the Commission on Elections (Comelec), lawyer Victorino Fornier and the Office of the Solicitor General to file their respective comments on the petition filed by lawyers Ma. Jeannette Tecson, Felix Desiderio Jr. and Gertrudo de Leon

A similar petition, which also called for a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction against the Comelec in recognizing Poe as a legitimate presidential candidate, was also filed by Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cagayan de Oro chapter president Zoilo Antonio Velez. "May anak daw kayo kay Ana Marin (Some have said you have an illegitimate child with Ana Marin, is that true)?" asked GMA-7 reporter Jessica Soho. "Oo (Yes)," came Poe’s reply, stressing he is not one to disown his daughter, whom they named Ronian. Pressed if the relationship with Marin — who starred in Marilou Diaz Abaya’s Moral, among other movies — still existed, he said: "Well, it’s part of my past." Rumors about Poe’s love child have been making the rounds in showbiz circles, but GMA’s interview was the first time he admitted to these rumors.

But sources also disclosed Poe had also sired another child with a different starlet whose screen name was Monica. The affair allegedly began when Poe made a movie with her in the late 60s. Monica is now said to be based in Hawaii with their love child who is about 30 years old. Sources told The STAR that Poe is not remiss in giving financial support to Ronian. When asked to elaborate, Poe said this was a part of his life that he had "to answer for." After his short reply, Poe immediately excused himself from the interview. The movie icon’s affair with Marin started during the shooting of their first and only movie together sometime in the mid-1970s. Poe and Roces were married on Dec. 25, 1968. Poe’s daughter with Marin is now in her early 20s and studying in the country. The affair, however, was apparently short-lived. Before his marriage to Roces, Poe was already linked to the starlet, sources said. Being Honest Despite being aloof, Poe said his honesty was enough reason for people to vote him for president. In the same interview, Poe described as an exaggeration reports that he is a heavy drinker and his temper easily flares up during a drinking binge. The actor also refuted accusations that he has little patience with the media. He stressed that is occasionally misunderstood.

Touted as the Philippine version of John Wayne, Poe carries the responsibility of leading the opposition Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP) against the machinery of President Arroyo and the administration party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats. KNP spokesman Rod Reyes, for his part, said the Poe couple did not have any children of their own. He said Poe was merely being honest when he answered the interview. "That is a revelation. I was hearing something to that effect, but if he admitted it, it is a good idea on his part," Reyes said. "Coming from him, if he has to admit it, it is well and good if he is making an upfront admission."

Poe, a high-school dropout whose lack of government experience and economic program has worried the business community, is running mainly on his showbiz popularity. He is a close friend of Estrada, a fellow movie actor who is now in detention on graft charges after being ousted by a popular revolt and replaced by Mrs. Arroyo in January 2001. Estrada, a self-confessed womanizer and drinker who admits siring several children out of wedlock, had pushed Poe to run for president. Critics fear that Poe would end up like Estrada but Poe’s supporters insist that he is different from the deposed leader.

The influential Roman Catholic church, which counts the majority of Filipinos as followers, consistently questioned Estrada’s moral authority when he was president. Facing The Music The court issued the orders yesterday "without giving due course" to the two separate petitions filed against Poe and the Comelec. The lawyers led by Tecson questioned the Comelec’s jurisdiction in ruling that Poe was a natural-born Filipino citizen. The three lawyers claimed only the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the issue and pointed out Fornier should not have filed the disqualification case against Poe before the poll body in the first place. Fornier had alleged before the Comelec that Poe should not be considered a natural-born Filipino because he should adopt the citizenship of his American mother since he was born out of wedlock. Tecson and the other lawyers filed the petition before the high tribunal pointing out the same allegations made by Fornier. They argued that under Philippine laws, Poe should follow the citizenship of his American mother Bessie Kelley, and not of his father Allan Fernando Poe Sr. who had a previous marriage with a certain Paulita Gomez before the actor was born. The petitioners stressed Poe’s parents failed to comply with the requirements of the old Civil Code to legitimize the status of their child. They said there must be a public document acknowledging the actor is the true son of Poe Sr. Even if Poe was later legitimized, the lawyers contended the actor will still not be qualified because he is not a natural-born citizen.

Under the 1987 Constitution, natural-born citizens are those without having to perform any act to acquire and perfect their citizenship. This refuted the claim of Poe being a legitimate child of his biological parents, the lawyers said. The petitioners asked the Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction over the legal issue of Poe’s citizenship. They said the Comelec’s recent admission that it had no jurisdiction to determine the issue of citizenship bolstered their case. The three lawyers have asked the high court to set aside the Jan. 23 ruling of the Comelec declaring Poe is qualified to run as presidential candidate, which would be "unconstitutional, void and without any legal effect." They pointed out supposed "procedural lapses" in the Comelec, which they said were "very alarming" since the poll body expressly acknowledged that they are not the proper forum to determine the citizenship of anyone. "This extremely dangerous precedent – of a tribunal admitting that it has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, yet still persisting to rule on its merits – must be immediately corrected by this Honorable Court through this petition," the three lawyers stated in their petition.

The lawyers said the Comelec is "forcibly justifying itself" in its Jan. 23 resolution favoring Poe’s bid by citing Section 74 of the Omnibus Election Code, "jurisdiction to deny due course to or cancel a certificate of candidacy exclusively on the ground that any material representation contained therein is false." They said the Comelec acted with grave abuse of discretion in favoring Poe’s candidacy and leaving open the question of his citizenship. The petitioners said the Comelec should be stopped from recognizing Poe as a presidential candidate and order the removal of his name from the list of qualified candidates. Poe’s legal counsels at the Comelec have pointed out that the poll body did not rule precisely on the legitimacy and illegitimacy status of the actor since it is "irrelevant" to his candidacy.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel Jr. earlier pointed out that the question over Poe’s citizenship should be properly addressed before the Supreme Court. Pimentel and some other lawmakers called on the Supreme Court to assume jurisdiction over the petition, citing constitutional provisions. Fornier submitted documents before Comelec to prove his claims that Poe is not qualified to run for president because he is not a natural-born Filipino citizen or even a Filipino citizen at all. Ricardo Manapat, the head of the National Archives, had vouched for the authenticity of the documents during a Comelec hearing last month on the petition. Poe’s camp has accused Manapat of fabricating the documents upon orders from Malacañang. The accusations prompted the Senate to conduct a hearing and uncovered what seemed to be falsification on the part of Manapat when three archives employees accused their boss of ordering them to forge documents to support the disqualification petition against Poe.

But a ranking administration lawmaker claimed yesterday that the Senate hearings on the issue were being "staged-managed" by Poe’s allies led by committee chairman Sen. Edgardo Angara. Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay made the claim during the second hearing conducted by the House committee on basic education and culture headed by Marinduque Rep. Edmund Reyes. Pichay earlier filed a resolution calling for an investigation into the alleged faking of National Archives documents showing Poe is not a natural-born citizen.

"The Senate investigation on the alleged tampering of National Archives documents by Manapat is being staged-managed by Senator Angara," Pichay said. Pichay noted the sworn statement made by William Bautista Duff, a supervisor of Florofoto, the shop where Manapat allegedly had some documents microfilmed, appeared to be questionable owing to the discrepancies in the date appearing on it. In the statement, Duff claimed Manapat came to his office on Jan. 10 with about 50 documents to have them microfilmed. Pichay said the alleged incident took place on Jan. 10, but the affidavit was notarized on Jan. 2, eight days before Manapat came to Duff. Pichay said this clearly indicated Poe’s backers in the Senate are hiding the truth on the issue of Poe’s citizenship. The Mindanao lawmaker questioned Angara for refusing to show the microfilm he confiscated from Manapat for public and expert scrutiny during the Senate’s first hearing on the case. He noted that the witnesses against Manapat are also under the custody of Angara. - With Aurea Calica, Paolo Romero, AFP.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

© Copyright, 2003  by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE
All rights reserved


PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE [PHNO] WEBSITE