Supreme Court decision on Grace Poe’s candidacy is rational

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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Nothing to celebrate with the Buwan ng Pambansang Wika

You Tagalize the country for your own political survival.

Today, 19 August is the 134th birthday of the Father of National Language and the former President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, Manuel Luis Molina Quezon. The whole month of August has been commemorated as the “Buwan ng Pambansang Wika” or National Language Month in honor of Manuel Luis Molina Quezon’s birth month. His presidency was significant as he was during the presidency that a national language was enacted by our constitution of 1935.

Before his presidency, there was no single common language spoken among the Filipinos (even today as most Filipinos speaks with their respective languages even through there is a national language imposed by our constitution) although Spanish was served as the lingua franca among Filipinos who wants to speak with other ethno-linguistic groups however, Spanish never became a real common language among the Filipinos, let alone of becoming a first language among the majority of the Filipinos as the evolution of Spanish language as the common and national language among Filipino was derailed by the American colonization where the Americans imposed their language, English as the common language through a massive public education, the declaration of Tagalog aka “Filipino” as the national language in 1937, and the destruction of the Intramuros during World War II where most Spanish-speaking Filipinos used to live, and the Black Legend-inspired anti-Spanish resentment among Filipinos who raised during the American and post-American era.

The installation of Tagalog language as the basis for the national language to be called later as “Filipino” was based on naive and ill-advised perspectives among the delegates of the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention where most vocal delegates were Tagalogs.

The delegates who passed the 1935 constitution never realized the country’s multilingual and multinational nature where imposing one national perspectives over the other nationals within the country resulted into a resentment between nations within the Philippine archipelago even until now as the economic and political developments of the country are focused in Tagalog regions at the expense of other regions due to political, economic, cultural, and linguistic systems that gives them an unfair comparative advantage over the other nations like the Cebuanos, Ilocanos, Hiligaynons, Warays, Pampangos, and many other Philippine nations.

The naive and ill-advised perspectives among the delegates of the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention who passed the 1935 constitution have resulted into distortion of the evolution for a single Filipino identity and nation and this distortion is the cause of our cultural, economic, linguistic, and political backwardness over the rest of the world for the last 77 years and maybe irreversible unless we accept the reality that our cultural, economic, linguistic, and political system needs to be fully changed through a constitutional revision.

For me, to correct the mistakes of our politicians during the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention is to make other Philippine-based languages as national language in par with Tagalog and the instruction of Philippine-based languages especially the major ones like Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Waray, Pampango, Bicolano should be limited to their respective regions while encouraging Spanish (most preferably) and English as the common language of all Filipinos from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.