Grace not qualified to run, UNA claims

SENATOR Grace Poe is not qualified to run either for President or vice president in the 2016 national elections because she does not meet the residency requirement, United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said on Tuesday.

At a news conference, Tiangco showed a certificate of candidacy (CoC) supposedly filed by Poe when she ran for senator in 2013 as proof that the senator could not pursue her political ambition in next year’s elections.

“The constitutional requirement for vice president and President is 10 years,” Tiangco said, citing Article 7, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution.

He quoted the provision in full: “No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.”

But Tiangco said Poe’s CoC showed that she had been a Philippine resident for only six years and six months before election day on May 13, 2013. Thus, she would only be a resident for nine years and six months by May 2016, six months short of the constitutional requirement.

“Six years and six months plus three years equals nine years and six months... You can’t argue with the number,” Tiangco said, noting that Poe herself attested to that fact when she signed her 2013 CoC.

“By her own declaration, in her own sworn statement, she herself says that she is not qualified in 2016,” he added, noting that a CoC was a public document and should only contain the truth because lying would constitute perjury.

Tiangco also took a swipe at Poe’s earlier remark that the country needed a leader with honesty rather than a leader with experience.

“If the issue of honesty is that important to her, she should’ve been honest to the people that she isn’t qualified to run.”

Although Poe was born and educated in the Philippines, she has spent most of her adult life in the United States, where she studied at Boston College.

Sought for comment, Poe’s camp said the senator returned to the country in late 2004 following the death of her father, actor and then opposition standard-bearer Fernando Poe Jr.

Fatal flaw? Detail of Poe’s signed certificate of candidacy filed with
the Commission on Elections for the May 2013 elections shows her
declaring that she would only be a resident of the Philippines for
six years by election day.
“The fact remains that Grace Poe and her whole family permanently resided in the country soon after FPJ died in December 2004 to [provide] company to the grieving widow Susan Roces,” said Nelson Victorino, Poe’s chief of staff.

She decided to return permanently to the Philippines after her adoptive father, movie actor Fernando Poe Jr., died in 2004 after losing the presidential election of that year to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Poe has always maintained that her father was cheated of the presidency and entered public service in the 2010, when President Benigno Aquino III appointed her chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.

She served two terms at the MTRCB until she filed her candidacy for senator in September 2012.

She ran with funding from the Team PNoy coalition, although she officially ran as an independent and  was also a guest candidate of UNA along with Senators Loren Legarda and Francis Escudero. She topped the 2013 senatorial election in her first bid for public office.

Both UNA and the Liberal Party have been actively persuading her to join their ticket in 2016 because of her performance in 2013 and in presidential preference surveys.

But on May 30, Poe appeared to have closed the door to the Binay camp after she signed the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee’s recommendation that plunder charges should be filed against Vice President Jejomar Binay, UNA’s presumptive presidential candidate, over the alleged P2.7 billion overpricing of the Makati City Hall parking building.

Poe was among the four signatories to the draft partial report which also suggested the filing of similar charges against the Vice President’s son, Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay and others, including former and incumbent Makati City officials.

Asked why UNA revealed Poe’s certificate only now, Tiangco said Binay is too much of a gentleman to bring the matter up. “The Vice President is very polite. When I told him about (the issue of residency), he said let it come from other people,” Tiangco said.

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