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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM MANILA STANDARD

EDITORIAL: FOREIGNER


NOVEMBER 26 -Administration presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II asks us, those whom he asks to vote for him, whether we would want a foreigner for a president. He is, of course, referring to his opponent, Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares, who topped the senatorial race in 2013 and is now leading the presidential poll surveys. Poe is facing numerous challenges to her citizenship and residency. As an infant she was found abandoned at a church and later on adopted by prominent movie stars. She then migrated to the United States, married an American citizen, and then sought to regain her Filipino citizenship upon taking on a job here under the Aquino administration. While the Senate Electoral Tribunal has ruled in her favor in one case, there remain others to hurdle. One thing is clear now: more people are wondering whether Poe is Filipino enough to aspire for the highest position in the land. It’s not only Roxas who is now capitalizing on Poe’s legal woes. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte says he finally made up his mind to run for president because he could not accept that an American might be president. Let’s hope he does not change his mind on this yet again. But it was Roxas (and his patron, President Aquino) who, months ago, had a very long and public courtship of Ms. Poe, whom they tagged as being an ally in the pursuit of the straight path. It was obvious they wanted her “yes” so badly. She was polite and thankful, but she knew she was being courted for the boost she could give Roxas’ lackluster campaign. And so she said no. For the Liberals, that must have stung. This is the same person Roxas is now deriding as a foreigner, someone not at all fit to be the nation’s next leader. At least, in Duterte’s case, Poe was the one who had wanted to be his running mate, or so he claims. We leave to the courts the decision on the petitions against the senator, and to the nation the verdict on whether renouncing one’s citizenship and reacquiring it when convenient amounts to lack of patriotism. What is glaring, however, is the hypocrisy displayed by the self-righteous administration in wooing somebody from whose acquiescence it stood to gain, only to talk ill of that same person as a jilted suitor would. And we thought all these candidates wanted an issues-based campaign where they would refrain from attacking one another and instead focus on presenting the best roadmap to the people. So much for elevating the level of discourse. The messiahs, the underdogs, the tough talkers—those to whom substance, respect and fair play are foreign—are ruling the day. FULL EDITORIAL.

ALSO EDITORIAL: Election as risk to growth


NOVEMBER 27 -Elections generally drive the economy, as poll candidates raise and spend funds to woo voters. They boost consumer spending and provide temporary jobs to thousands of so-called volunteers helping their candidates win in the 2016 polls. But the voting exercise can also pose a risk to economic growth. Next year, Filipinos will again choose the nation’s next leader, who in turn will form his Cabinet to run the day-to-day affairs of the new government. The election of a new chief executive brings uncertainties in the economy because his or her style of governance and policies are relatively unknown and have yet to be tested. Local and foreign businessmen will be wary of the incoming president. They may want economic reforms, but they essentially prefer a continuity of the general economic and investment policies. Businessmen know too well what happened in the presidency of Benigno Aquino III. His government dilly-dallied on a number of issues that stalled many infrastructure projects that could have pushed the economy to greater heights. President Aquino withheld government spending despite a legislated budget program, causing a slowdown in economic growth. He also adopted an anti-mining policy that prevented the Philippines from developing a major export earner. Businessmen prefer a national leader who will keep the investment rules intact and work for reforms to improve the economic environment. Presidential candidates, thus, are advised to bare their economic agenda to guide voters and businessmen alike. The inclusive economic agenda that President Aquino has advocated in the latter part of his term has failed to take off. Economic development in the Philippines is still uneven—growth remains concentrated in the urban centers and has not created a trickle-down effect. The economy will likely grow in the succeeding years but there is no assurance it will keep expanding at a rate enough to keep pace with the rest of Asia. The next leader should make the economy his or her priority to break the poverty cycle. He or she should not squander the opportunity.THE FULL EDITORIAL.

ALSO By Jojo Robles: Frontrunner’s curse


NOVEMBER 27 -The Whopper of the Week Award belongs to Liberal Party spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez. The spokesman defended the public takedown by LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas of his top rival Grace Poe by saying that the ruling party didn’t know that she had serious citizenship issues when they were courting her just months before to be Roxas’ running mate. “As far as we know, and with the information that we had when we invited her to be part of the Daang Matuwid coalition in 2013 to the slate as senator, and early this year when we invited her to be our vice president, [Poe was a natural-born Filipino],” Gutierrez said. The assumption, of course, is that if the LP had known about Poe’s citizenship and residency concerns, the party would not have touched her with a 10-foot pole. But Gutierrez’s defense is lame, to say the least, because you’d expect the ruling party to exercise a minimum of due diligence before inviting anyone into its ranks. I’m sure, for instance, that the Aquino administration had vetted Poe well enough before handing her the chairmanship of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board in 2010. The truth of the matter is, if Poe had not become such an attractive candidate in both the 2013 Senate and the 2016 presidential elections, and if she had not turned down Aquino’s repeated requests to join Roxas, the LP and Aquino would not have trained their well-funded guns on her. And that Gutierrez, in the unlikely event of a Roxas victory next year, has the makings of an excellent, prevaricating press secretary. To be fair, it’s not just Roxas—who said this week that “nobody wants a foreigner President’’ in pointed reference to Poe—who’s been ganging up on the hands-down frontrunner in the pre-election opinion polls. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte last weekend announced that he was going to seek the presidency because he could not stomach the thought of having an “American President”; and even Vice President Jejomar Binay has joined the fray, saying he, too, believes that the senator should be barred from running because of her citizenship problems. Call it the curse of the frontrunner, something Binay certainly knows about. Or more evidence of the old Filipino maxim about the tree with the most fruits attracting the most number of stones. READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL COLUMN:  Another black eye


NOVEMBRE 23 -OPINION, PHILIPPINES POSTED BY: AMANG LAYA OCTOBER 23, 2015 FROM SOUTH CHINA SEA NEWS TODAY
President Noynoy Aquino’s administration has made it a habit of putting the Philippines in “world’s worst” lists. And soon after the makers of the popular app Waze placed Manila on top of the list of the cities with the worst traffic worldwide, it’s now the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ turn. The AFP has been adjudged as the sixth-worst army in the world by the US-based, military-themed Web site We Are The Mighty. The site is run by former American servicemen and military enthusiasts and describes itself as “the first entertainment and lifestyle brand for and by the military community.” The Philippines, according to the article written by Blake Stilwell, was better off only than Costa Rica (which has “no armed forces to speak of”), Iraq, North Korea, Eritrea and Nigeria. Rounding up the top 10 are Tajikistan, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. The article explained the Philippines’ inclusion in the list thusly: “The President of the Philippines vowed to upgrade the country’s aging Navy and Air Force to the tune of $1.7 billion, the Philippine Congress passed a bill appropriating $2 billion for the effort and … that’s it. Despite the Chinese military buildup in the region, with aggressive moves by the Chinese to claim areas and build islands close to the Philippines, the Philippines’ naval and air forces are still nearly 60 years old and its ships are old US Coast Guard cutters.” This spot-on evaluation of Philippine military might drew reactions of agreement from both the AFP and Malacañang Palace. Yes, the government is “working on” modernizing its aging equipment, they said; but no, it’s not going to be completed anytime soon. But it wouldn’t be a real reaction from the Aquino administration if it did not blame the previous administration. “There are a total of 56 projects under the AFP Modernization program and this has been completed, compared to 45 projects done under the previous administration,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma. Maybe the government should just concentrate on modernizing the military instead of blaming the past administration for everything that goes wrong on its watch. The failure to modernize our aging armed forces, after, is not exclusively the fault of the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, but of all the administrations that went before hers. The over-reliance of Filipino rulers on American military aid (which is still the policy of this President, by the way) is ultimately to blame for the failure to equip our troops properly. But that wouldn’t be the straight path, if it admitted error and didn’t heap it instead on Arroyo, now, would it? READ MORE...

ALSO By Rod Kapunan: Not for Poe to claim as foundling


NOVEMBER 28 -The verdict made by the Senate Electoral Tribunal made up of the members of the Senate and justices of the Supreme Court, as usual, disastrously ended up not in a miscarriage of justice, but something worse than that—an insult to the intelligence of the Filipino people. The decision was most repulsive for it seems we elected senators who are willing to abnegate their duty of upholding and defending the Constitution for the sake of a misplaced collegiality and camaraderie. They paraded their ignorance with all alacrity that they voted on the basis of sentiment and sympathy lumped into one called travesty of the law. Every time a special court is formed pursuant to the mandate of the Constitution, like the creation of a Senate Impeachment Court and the SET, they come out with a disgraceful verdict. As the ancient Greeks would say, “Even the Gods in heaven cried in shame for their stupidity.” The Filipino people too wriggle in shame on that moronic decision of our senators as if to live up to the saying that “birds of the same feathers truly flock together.” It was not the first time that verdict jointly participated in by members of the Senate ended up as a judicial disaster. It was reminiscent of the Senate Impeachment Court that was reduced to that of a Kangaroo Court when they impeached President Joseph “Erap” Estrada in 2001 and Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona Jr. in 2012. The decision was all based on fabricated evidence and testimony of hallucinating witnesses, and here comes now a senator neatly stitching her lies as a foundling to cover her falsification of documents. Justice Antonio Carpio was right that citizenship cannot automatically be conferred to one claiming to be a foundling. We might even add that citizenship is a privilege that the Constitution clearly defines. Interpretations as to who are the citizens of this country, natural-born or naturalized, are to be strictly interpreted, more if the one claiming to be a citizen is exercising power and authority. To quote what Justice Carpio wrote, “There is no treaty, customary international law or a general principle of international law granting automatically Philippine citizenship to a foundling at birth. Respondent failed to prove that there is such customary international law. At best, there exists a presumption that a foundling is domiciled and born in the country where the founding is found.” Even if the court will accept her fantasy that she was found at the door of the cathedral in Jaro, Ilo-ilo, she nonetheless failed to pass two vital tests, and both are crucial to her claim as a natural-born citizen: First, it is not for Grace Poe-Llamanzares or for her acknowledged parent Jesusa Sonora, a.k.a. Susan Roces, to say she is a foundling. It is for the person, a certain Edgardo Militar, who found her to prove that she is a founding. Yet, the very person who could have testified on her status failed to testify and submit sufficient evidence to support Poe’s claim. Second, even if the one who found her has proven that indeed she is a foundling, the person (Militar) must have proven that he is a citizen of this country. This country does not subscribe to the principle of jus soli in determining who its citizens are, which is based on the place where one is born. Even her claim of being a foundling is a mere presumption, for aside from not being of age to consciously know that fact, nobody knows whether she was in fact given by somebody to be adopted or sold, which could effectively pull her out from that status as foundling. Besides, there is no such thing as foundling under international law which could be the proper subject in determining the nationality or citizenship of a person. The nearest thing a foundling could be classified is that of a stateless person. Without the person testifying, at most the claim of Grace Poe of being a founding stands on a precarious—or worse, self-serving—presumption. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Foreigners

MANILA, NOVEMBER 30, 2015 (MANILA STANDARD) posted November 26, 2015 at 12:01 am - Administration presidential candidate Manuel Roxas II asks us, those whom he asks to vote for him, whether we would want a foreigner for a president.

He is, of course, referring to his opponent, Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares, who topped the senatorial race in 2013 and is now leading the presidential poll surveys.

Poe is facing numerous challenges to her citizenship and residency. As an infant she was found abandoned at a church and later on adopted by prominent movie stars. She then migrated to the United States, married an American citizen, and then sought to regain her Filipino citizenship upon taking on a job here under the Aquino administration.

While the Senate Electoral Tribunal has ruled in her favor in one case, there remain others to hurdle. One thing is clear now: more people are wondering whether Poe is Filipino enough to aspire for the highest position in the land.

It’s not only Roxas who is now capitalizing on Poe’s legal woes. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte says he finally made up his mind to run for president because he could not accept that an American might be president. Let’s hope he does not change his mind on this yet again.

But it was Roxas (and his patron, President Aquino) who, months ago, had a very long and public courtship of Ms. Poe, whom they tagged as being an ally in the pursuit of the straight path. It was obvious they wanted her “yes” so badly. She was polite and thankful, but she knew she was being courted for the boost she could give Roxas’ lackluster campaign.

And so she said no. For the Liberals, that must have stung.

This is the same person Roxas is now deriding as a foreigner, someone not at all fit to be the nation’s next leader. At least, in Duterte’s case, Poe was the one who had wanted to be his running mate, or so he claims.

We leave to the courts the decision on the petitions against the senator, and to the nation the verdict on whether renouncing one’s citizenship and reacquiring it when convenient amounts to lack of patriotism. What is glaring, however, is the hypocrisy displayed by the self-righteous administration in wooing somebody from whose acquiescence it stood to gain, only to talk ill of that same person as a jilted suitor would.

And we thought all these candidates wanted an issues-based campaign where they would refrain from attacking one another and instead focus on presenting the best roadmap to the people.

So much for elevating the level of discourse. The messiahs, the underdogs, the tough talkers—those to whom substance, respect and fair play are foreign—are ruling the day.


Election as risk to growth posted November 27, 2015 at 12:01 am

Elections generally drive the economy, as poll candidates raise and spend funds to woo voters. They boost consumer spending and provide temporary jobs to thousands of so-called volunteers helping their candidates win in the 2016 polls.

But the voting exercise can also pose a risk to economic growth. Next year, Filipinos will again choose the nation’s next leader, who in turn will form his Cabinet to run the day-to-day affairs of the new government.

The election of a new chief executive brings uncertainties in the economy because his or her style of governance and policies are relatively unknown and have yet to be tested. Local and foreign businessmen will be wary of the incoming president. They may want economic reforms, but they essentially prefer a continuity of the general economic and investment policies.

Businessmen know too well what happened in the presidency of Benigno Aquino III. His government dilly-dallied on a number of issues that stalled many infrastructure projects that could have pushed the economy to greater heights. President Aquino withheld government spending despite a legislated budget program, causing a slowdown in economic growth. He also adopted an anti-mining policy that prevented the Philippines from developing a major export earner.

Businessmen prefer a national leader who will keep the investment rules intact and work for reforms to improve the economic environment.

Presidential candidates, thus, are advised to bare their economic agenda to guide voters and businessmen alike. The inclusive economic agenda that President Aquino has advocated in the latter part of his term has failed to take off. Economic development in the Philippines is still uneven—growth remains concentrated in the urban centers and has not created a trickle-down effect.

The economy will likely grow in the succeeding years but there is no assurance it will keep expanding at a rate enough to keep pace with the rest of Asia. The next leader should make the economy his or her priority to break the poverty cycle. He or she should not squander the opportunity.


Frontrunner’s curse posted November 27, 2015 at 12:01 am by Jojo Robles


JOJO ROBLES IS THE Editor-In-Chief Manila Standard Today (also the Executive Editor)

The Whopper of the Week Award belongs to Liberal Party spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez. The spokesman defended the public takedown by LP presidential candidate Mar Roxas of his top rival Grace Poe by saying that the ruling party didn’t know that she had serious citizenship issues when they were courting her just months before to be Roxas’ running mate.

“As far as we know, and with the information that we had when we invited her to be part of the Daang Matuwid coalition in 2013 to the slate as senator, and early this year when we invited her to be our vice president, [Poe was a natural-born Filipino],” Gutierrez said. The assumption, of course, is that if the LP had known about Poe’s citizenship and residency concerns, the party would not have touched her with a 10-foot pole.

But Gutierrez’s defense is lame, to say the least, because you’d expect the ruling party to exercise a minimum of due diligence before inviting anyone into its ranks. I’m sure, for instance, that the Aquino administration had vetted Poe well enough before handing her the chairmanship of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board in 2010.

The truth of the matter is, if Poe had not become such an attractive candidate in both the 2013 Senate and the 2016 presidential elections, and if she had not turned down Aquino’s repeated requests to join Roxas, the LP and Aquino would not have trained their well-funded guns on her. And that Gutierrez, in the unlikely event of a Roxas victory next year, has the makings of an excellent, prevaricating press secretary.

To be fair, it’s not just Roxas—who said this week that “nobody wants a foreigner President’’ in pointed reference to Poe—who’s been ganging up on the hands-down frontrunner in the pre-election opinion polls. Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte last weekend announced that he was going to seek the presidency because he could not stomach the thought of having an “American President”; and even Vice President Jejomar Binay has joined the fray, saying he, too, believes that the senator should be barred from running because of her citizenship problems.

Call it the curse of the frontrunner, something Binay certainly knows about. Or more evidence of the old Filipino maxim about the tree with the most fruits attracting the most number of stones.

READ MORE...

* * *

But long before Poe broke from the Daang Matuwid by announcing her plans to seek the highest post in the land, pundits have already been whispering about plans to disqualify her on citizenship and residency grounds. This is why the LP spokesman’s contention that the administration found out only recently about her supposed legal infirmities sounds so disingenuous and unbelievable.

And when the Senate Electoral Tribunal, composed mostly of Poe’s Senate colleagues, green-lighted Poe’s eligibility, the noise about her alleged failure to fulfill the requirements for seeking the presidency predictably escalated, instead of dying down. I think the people who want to stop Poe from running have become convinced of the urgency of their task.

No one knows, of course, if the Commission on Elections, which is now considering four separate complaints about the eligibility of Poe, is going to rule for or against her. All that we know is that the senator and the complaining parties are certain to file an appeal if they lose or to directly elevate the matter to the Supreme Court for resolution.

If Comelec resolves the issue before Dec. 10, when it has to finalize the ballots for the May 9 elections and send them to the printers, well and good. I’ve been told that, even if Poe’s name is allowed on the ballot and even if she wins the election, it will not extinguish her liability or force the high court to come up with a decision before the polls open.

Which brings up yet another issue that’s already been long the subject of speculation in political quarters: That a parallel effort to the legal offensive to disqualify Poe is the propaganda objective, which is to dissuade voters from putting her on the ballot, on the ground that they would not want to cast their votes for a candidate who is going to be declared ineligible anyway.

This alleged plot is similar to the one hatched against Binay by the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee. While that campaign was supposed to end with the Vice President thrown behind bars and physically prevented from running, the people who hatched it feel that they’ve already won even if that has not come to pass—Binay has been dislodged as the survey frontrunner, after all.

Of course, there is some truth to the contention of the Poe camp that the people should be allowed to decide who should serve them as president. But that does not mean that the very few (and very specific) qualifications set for people who seek the highest office should not be complied with.

What’s clear is that Grace Poe is in every one of her rival’s cross-hairs right now. And they will not stop hammering away at her until she becomes less of the threat that she has become in the past few months.


Another black eye posted October 23, 2015 at 12:01 am by Jojo Robles


OPINION, PHILIPPINES POSTED BY: AMANG LAYA OCTOBER 23, 2015 FROM SOUTH CHINA SEA NEWS TODAY

President Noynoy Aquino’s administration has made it a habit of putting the Philippines in “world’s worst” lists. And soon after the makers of the popular app Waze placed Manila on top of the list of the cities with the worst traffic worldwide, it’s now the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ turn.

The AFP has been adjudged as the sixth-worst army in the world by the US-based, military-themed Web site We Are The Mighty. The site is run by former American servicemen and military enthusiasts and describes itself as “the first entertainment and lifestyle brand for and by the military community.”

The Philippines, according to the article written by Blake Stilwell, was better off only than Costa Rica (which has “no armed forces to speak of”), Iraq, North Korea, Eritrea and Nigeria. Rounding up the top 10 are Tajikistan, Mongolia, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

The article explained the Philippines’ inclusion in the list thusly:

“The President of the Philippines vowed to upgrade the country’s aging Navy and Air Force to the tune of $1.7 billion, the Philippine Congress passed a bill appropriating $2 billion for the effort and … that’s it. Despite the Chinese military buildup in the region, with aggressive moves by the Chinese to claim areas and build islands close to the Philippines, the Philippines’ naval and air forces are still nearly 60 years old and its ships are old US Coast Guard cutters.”

This spot-on evaluation of Philippine military might drew reactions of agreement from both the AFP and Malacañang Palace. Yes, the government is “working on” modernizing its aging equipment, they said; but no, it’s not going to be completed anytime soon.

But it wouldn’t be a real reaction from the Aquino administration if it did not blame the previous administration. “There are a total of 56 projects under the AFP Modernization program and this has been completed, compared to 45 projects done under the previous administration,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.

Maybe the government should just concentrate on modernizing the military instead of blaming the past administration for everything that goes wrong on its watch. The failure to modernize our aging armed forces, after, is not exclusively the fault of the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, but of all the administrations that went before hers.

The over-reliance of Filipino rulers on American military aid (which is still the policy of this President, by the way) is ultimately to blame for the failure to equip our troops properly. But that wouldn’t be the straight path, if it admitted error and didn’t heap it instead on Arroyo, now, would it?

READ MORE...

* * *

From Davao City, I’m told that the first Mindanao-based Public-Private Partnership project is encountering opposition because the Aquino administration seems hell-bent on awarding it to a favored contractor, instead of local operators currently doing a good job. And why am I not surprised that the Department of Transportation and Communications, which has become famous for incompetence and for brokering shady deals, is behind the plan to award the Sasa seaport project before the current government steps down next year?

The project’s PPP Information Memorandum is reportedly too optimistic in its projections on container traffic. It has also set conditions for potential bidders that favor only big-time port operators, who will be the only ones who can put up the high bidding cost.

The growth rate assumed by the year 2020, I’m told, has never before been seen in the history of Philippine port and cannot be justified by any trend in any industry that uses Davao Bay’s ports. For example, the volume of exported bananas passing through the Davao Bay, which accounts for 70 percent of all the containerized cargoes shipped out of local ports, should grow by approximately 20,212 hectares in one year to justify the projected volume.

Besides, several private companies have already set up their own ports in the area, the biggest of which is the Davao International Container Terminal located in neighboring Panabo City in Davao del Norte province. Aside from DICT, Davao del Norte also has another privately owned port in Tagum City under development, run by the Hijo International Port Services Inc., majority-owned by International Container Terminal Services Inc.

The criteria set out by DoTC in its Instruction to Prospective Bidders to pre-qualify obviously discriminate against local operators. It requires bidders to be currently operating “at least two international container terminals,” which shuts out local players.

It sure sounds like a last-minute sweetheart deal is in the offing, far away from prying eyes in Manila. Let’s see how this deal goes down.


Not for Poe to claim as foundling posted November 28, 2015 at 12:01 am by Rod Kapunan



The verdict made by the Senate Electoral Tribunal made up of the members of the Senate and justices of the Supreme Court, as usual, disastrously ended up not in a miscarriage of justice, but something worse than that—an insult to the intelligence of the Filipino people. The decision was most repulsive for it seems we elected senators who are willing to abnegate their duty of upholding and defending the Constitution for the sake of a misplaced collegiality and camaraderie.

They paraded their ignorance with all alacrity that they voted on the basis of sentiment and sympathy lumped into one called travesty of the law.

Every time a special court is formed pursuant to the mandate of the Constitution, like the creation of a Senate Impeachment Court and the SET, they come out with a disgraceful verdict. As the ancient Greeks would say, “Even the Gods in heaven cried in shame for their stupidity.” The Filipino people too wriggle in shame on that moronic decision of our senators as if to live up to the saying that “birds of the same feathers truly flock together.”

It was not the first time that verdict jointly participated in by members of the Senate ended up as a judicial disaster. It was reminiscent of the Senate Impeachment Court that was reduced to that of a Kangaroo Court when they impeached President Joseph “Erap” Estrada in 2001 and Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona Jr. in 2012. The decision was all based on fabricated evidence and testimony of hallucinating witnesses, and here comes now a senator neatly stitching her lies as a foundling to cover her falsification of documents.

Justice Antonio Carpio was right that citizenship cannot automatically be conferred to one claiming to be a foundling. We might even add that citizenship is a privilege that the Constitution clearly defines. Interpretations as to who are the citizens of this country, natural-born or naturalized, are to be strictly interpreted, more if the one claiming to be a citizen is exercising power and authority.

To quote what Justice Carpio wrote, “There is no treaty, customary international law or a general principle of international law granting automatically Philippine citizenship to a foundling at birth. Respondent failed to prove that there is such customary international law. At best, there exists a presumption that a foundling is domiciled and born in the country where the founding is found.”

Even if the court will accept her fantasy that she was found at the door of the cathedral in Jaro, Ilo-ilo, she nonetheless failed to pass two vital tests, and both are crucial to her claim as a natural-born citizen:

First, it is not for Grace Poe-Llamanzares or for her acknowledged parent Jesusa Sonora, a.k.a. Susan Roces, to say she is a foundling. It is for the person, a certain Edgardo Militar, who found her to prove that she is a founding. Yet, the very person who could have testified on her status failed to testify and submit sufficient evidence to support Poe’s claim.

Second, even if the one who found her has proven that indeed she is a foundling, the person (Militar) must have proven that he is a citizen of this country.

This country does not subscribe to the principle of jus soli in determining who its citizens are, which is based on the place where one is born. Even her claim of being a foundling is a mere presumption, for aside from not being of age to consciously know that fact, nobody knows whether she was in fact given by somebody to be adopted or sold, which could effectively pull her out from that status as foundling.

Besides, there is no such thing as foundling under international law which could be the proper subject in determining the nationality or citizenship of a person. The nearest thing a foundling could be classified is that of a stateless person.

Without the person testifying, at most the claim of Grace Poe of being a founding stands on a precarious—or worse, self-serving—presumption.

READ MORE...

The person who found her must prove that fact much that nobody really knows whether she is a foundling or a fruit of a crime like snatching or kidnapping. Proving that she was found in the Philippines by a Filipino citizen is mandatory.

This is important because what we observe in this country is based on the principle of jus sanguinis, that in order for her to qualify as a Filipino citizen, she must prove that the one who found her is also a citizen of this country. This we say because the one who found her stands as her father. This is the reason his citizenship needs to be verified.

Hence, when Grace Poe claimed to be a foundling, in effect there is no person she could point to as her biological parents to bolster her claim of being a Filipino citizen by blood. Poe and those who have been hooting for her to run for president, are obviously ignorant or stupid, or both, and are out to put to trash what is clearly provided for in the Constitution.

Their legal strategy to position herself as a foundling, in effect, placed her in the category of a stateless person. International law does not mention anything about foundlings. The United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, which is the agency tasked to determine the status of persons, particularly refugees, says that the person’s nationality or citizenship are classified into two: 1) persons with nationality/citizenship; and 2) persons without nationality or stateless persons.

The determination by the UNHCR of nationality or citizenship is necessary to give those persons the status of refugees, thereby allowing them to apply for citizenship in the country where they intend to settle.

To quote the UNHCR definition of “statelessness”: “The international legal definition of a stateless person is set out in Article 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, which defines a stateless person as “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law”. This means that a stateless person is someone who does not have a nationality of any country. Some people are born stateless, while others become stateless over the course of their lives.”

It added: “To understand how a person can lack a nationality, it helps to know how nationality works in practice. In simple terms, you acquire a nationality automatically at birth or you obtain one later on in life. Those who acquire nationality at birth do so because they were born in a country that gives nationality through birth on their territory (jus soli) or because their parents were able to transmit their nationality to their children (jus sanguinis), which usually applies regardless of where the child was born. Sometimes, however, people need to apply to become a national of a country and base their application on years of residence or a family link with the given country.”

The question now is this: Where does Grace Poe-Llamanzares go from here?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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