From left to right: Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, and Mar Roxas (courtesy of Rappler)
I have mixed emotions on the entire process of the debate because of prolonged delay of the commencement of the actual debate as Jejomar Binay brought documents to supposedly present his rebuttal against corruption allegations and reportedly, Mar Roxas vehemently opposed it based on COMELEC debate rules where no presidential or vice presidential candidate should bring notes with him/her to use as references of his/her arguments against its opponents. There was really inconsistencies indeed, as TV5 had contradictory rules from COMELEC and created miscommunication between Binay’s camp and COMELEC and TV5.
Speaking of actual debating performances, I think Grace Poe outwitted everybody else because she remained herself cool despite personal tirades thrown at her by Jejomar Binay regarding her natural-born status.
Mar Roxas had an impressive performance but the problem as when Digong Duterte and Grace Poe both grilled him on his performance as DILG secretary in dealing illegal drugs problem and Mamasapano massacre respectively, he lost his cool and kept throwing tantrums to them to the extent that moderator Luchie Cruz Valdez warned him to rein himself as he ran out of time in answering Poe’s questions.
Digong Duterte had really difficulty articulating issues which didn’t have expertise in particular on climate change issues and he really sounded like a denier nut and really, missed a point on how to eradicate crime problems in our country within short span of time and Roxas actually swept him regarding the issue. Back of climate change issue, he had a point that developed and highly industrialized economies are hypocritical regarding the issue, but it doesn’t mean that our country should invest more on environmentally destructive coal power and instead, we should allow foreign investors to invest in much cheaper but cleaner natural gas or even nuclear fission energies.
Jejomar Binay really doesn’t deserve to attend the next presidential debate anymore because of his primary goal was to embarrass Roxas via slapping him with documents which it was an epic fail and aside to that, he sounded like a twat bigot who cannot accept the fact that Grace Poe is a Filipino citizen and has remained to be such for her entire life though she used to be an American citizen.
Grace Poe speaking as she announced her presidential candidacy. (courtesy of Philippine Star)
I have apologized everyone that this is my first blog post this month because for the past three weeks after the 30th anniversary of EDSA I Revolution, there were so much profund changes in our political landscape that would shape our country for next the years to come like the decision of the Supreme Court to affirm the presidential candidacy of Grace Poe, current senator and leading presidential candidate, despite oppositions from certain people ranging from different reasons like her naturalized American citizen or being a foundling.
I have decided to defer until at this point from making a blog post about the decision until I fully read the contents which I took for a week. Based on what I read on why the Supreme Court allowed her to continue her presidential candidacy were the following:
- Her natural-born status was presumed upon as our 1935 constitution – the constitution in force when she was born in 1968 – did not explicitly mention about foundlings although one of petitioners before the COMELEC First Division, Francisco Tatad argued that it meant to exclude foundlings like Poe using the rule of statutory constitution that what is not included is excluded. Our international laws, which we have been a signatory since the heydays of the enforcement of 1935 constitution, further treated foundlings like everybody else who have not been abandoned by their parents.
- Another fact from the residency issue was that it did not necessarily for her to be a Filipino citizen from the first day she reestablished her domicile in our country on May 24, 2005 and RA 9225 or law allowing dual citizenship for Filipino citizens permitted her to assume residency as a Filipino before she regained the citizenship on July 18, 2006 or more than a year later.
- Those who filed petitions to disqualify her forgot the fact that COMELEC did not have a jurisdiction in a petition for quo warranto against presidential and vice presidential candidates until they win in their respective positions. Thus, it committed a gross abuse of power in rendering decision which did not have a jurisdiction in the first place.
These three reasons aforementioned especially the last one are one of the obvious weaknesses to exclude Grace Poe from the presidential race via disqualification due to weaker understanding on the contexts of the framing of our 1935 constitution and subsequent statutes regarding natural-born requirement or residency of a Filipino citizen and being chained upon by the delusions of strict constitutionalism which deny the inevitable imperfections of a written constitution over time. In other words, they have forgotten that our constitution and statutes are living documents and interpretations vary depending on circumstances or situation changes.
Another fact that they have forgotten was the immediate and long-term repercussions of Grace Poe’s disqualification on the legitimacy of whosoever wins as president of our country. Since power emanates from the people, it would be impossible for someone’s authority to be respected by everyone if his/her opponent was robbed out of the presidency via disqualification or worse, electoral fraud; that was really happened under Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presidency when her legitimacy issues never subsided despite of her election for her own presidential term in 2004 due to allegations of electoral fraud and months before the election, attempted disqualification of Grace Poe’s adoptive father based on similar citizenship issue she faced, 12 years later. The Supreme Court justices have been aware that implications and for me, it was a part of their discernment to allow Grace Poe to continue her presidential candidacy for the sake of future stability of our political system, regardless of whosoever wins the presidency. Although I used to be one of staunch opponents of Grace Poe’s candidacy based on residency issue alone, but I realized that I was wrong as I read the full decision and I think the Supreme Court made a rational decision on this landmark case and everyone of us should respect the decision, if you really care for the rule of law and the future stability of our country.