Having now officially declared your ambition to “serve” as President of the Republic, I ask these questions again, with the voice of your adoptive mother ringing in the distance: “Ang sinungaling ay kapatid ng magnanakaw!” Let that statement –spoken emphatically, fiercely and derisively – be the point of reference as to how you will answer these very basic questions:
1) When did you renounce your Filipino citizenship and become an American citizen? Why did you give up your Filipino citizenship at the time?
There’s nothing wrong with changing citizenships, essentially. Many Filipinos acquire the nationality of their adopted country for reasons ranging from necessity to convenience. I am not questioning your sense of patriotism, either, at that particular time. One can be a ‘global citizen’ yet remain true to their roots, especially to the relatives they left behind. But if one is running for President, as you are doing TODAY, the perspective becomes altogether different. As a voter, I am here and now questioning your motivation. Remember, the actions we did in the past have a way of coming back to us in the future – in your case, at the moment – to haunt us in an unforgiving and intolerant manner. Karmic justice, as it were, waits for the tamang panahon to strike.
Patriotism or loyalty to the land of one’s birth; nationalism, or unadulterated allegiance to the Motherland – whatever term of endearment one may wish to call it – to my mind, should rank as the first trait that a supreme leader must possess. Of course, patriotism is not the monopoly of those who choose to stay in the good old RP, who love it by not leaving it come what may. Your decision to settle in the land of milk and honey, even if you grew up wallowing in milk and honey, was yours and nobody’s business. Then too, entering politics was just a glint in your father’s eye, not in your wildest dreams, apparently – thus, patriotism was not an issue.
But, for crying out loud, would I entrust my country’s future to a person who changed citizenships like she was changing outfits for a job interview? Would I prefer the Philippines to be run “like heaven” by a former Filipino/former American/Filipino again/who knows what next/maybe American again if it’s still possible, than “like hell” by forever Filipinos? Hell, NO. There is no guarantee you will run the government “like heaven” because you have zero experience at running a locality, be it an exclusive, gated village or the whole showbiz community where your parents thrive/d. Nah, “like heaven” is a nebulous place as far as you are concerned. Your spinners shouldn’t be so presumptuous.
2) When did you renounce your American citizenship and re-acquire your Filipino passport? Why did you decide to become Filipino again? When did you last use your American passport? When did you start re-using your Filipino passport? When did you really “come home for good”?
Your answer to those questions will determine whether you speak unequivocally or in forked, meandering tongues like a good old traditional politician. Just give us the exact, complete dates with the corresponding proofs – untampered, unaltered, un-intercalated, plain and simple, self-explanatory, without asterisks, and with no room for more questions to be asked. How easy was it for you to renounce and acquire, renounce and re-acquire something that is both a privilege and a right? Um, yep, like changing outfits, whichever is more convenient in the prevailing circumstance?
You and your supporters are citing the dispute on citizenship and residency as mere technicalities designed to hinder your march towards your professed “destiny”. No, ma’am, it is more than that. In the first place, if the law did not set limitations, requirements, qualifications or what-have-you, then anybody and their crazy neighbor can vie for high office without fear of being disqualified. Similarly, if HR managers did not set standards in hiring candidates for specific positions in their companies, then anyone can apply without fear of being turned away. What sort of chaotic existence would it be?
Contrary to what your lawyers and your talkative running mate are saying, the burden of proof lies on you because you are submitting yourself to our scrutiny. We, the voters, are the HR managers. We will determine, through our vote, whether you are qualified or not based on the credentials that you possess and the things that you say in your campaign speeches – aka “job interview”.
The issue is about HONESTY, INTEGRITY, CHARACTER and the whole nine yards. If you can go around the letter of the law in order to make the shoe fit, how sure are we that you will not circumvent the same law if, God forbid, you sit as President of this benighted land? “Technicalities” serve their purpose when push comes to shove and are there not to obstruct but to set things in order. If you do not have the necessary minimum requirements, why insist? Even Mandela had to wait and sit in prison for 27 years before he could become the first black president of South Africa. What “destiny” are you in such a big hurry to fulfill? Two women have already served before you. You certainly are not a novelty, much less a pioneer. No glass ceiling to break, except your own ambition.
So, why did you decide to be a Filipino again?
3) What about your husband and children? Will they become Filipinos if you win, or remain as Americans win or lose?
Once more, that is their choice and none of our concern. But it will become our business the moment they hit the campaign trail and more so if, again, God forbid, you win. It would be tantamount to foreign intervention, wouldn’t it? Even if used only as a figure of speech or in jest, it does leave an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Americans – regardless of how they look – taking center stage in an election of Filipinos, for Filipinos and by Filipinos? Democracy has taken a new meaning, only in the Philippines.
Would they finance their own junkets to the countryside or would campaign contributions by the oligarchs supporting your candidacy take care of everything? Already, your son is making his presence felt by setting his eyes on showbiz starlets. Would an American FG be better than the other one we had? We know nothing about your husband, yet he will play a crucial role in case, God forbid, you become President. I guess, as HR managers, we will have to do a background check on him as well. We learned our lesson from the previous titleholder, who was said to be the one who actually ‘took the money and ran’. We don’t want history to repeat itself, or make it worse.
4) Did you undergo therapy or join a support group to treat depression in the US after your father died like you said in an interview?
I hope you will not deny it because the Internet will confirm that you said it. Have you been treated of the affliction such that it will not recur? What if the burdens of your office become too much to endure? Will you take it on the chin, just grin and bear it, work doubly hard like the show must go on as showbiz denizens would put it? Or would you go on a ‘depressed state’ whatever that means, ‘disappear’ from public view for days (much like the way the current palace occupant does) with no logical explanation, retreat into the inner chambers (literally and figuratively) to unload while somebody else takes the reins of government? The latter scenario is frightening, to say the least.
Again, as HR managers, we require you to show us your complete medical records – from top to bottom. Psychological fitness is as important as physical capability – that much we learned from the present dispensation. We don’t want another head of state that makes disappearing acts every now and then.
5) Are you physically, emotionally, mentally, intellectually, spiritually and morally prepared to call yourself Her Excellency?
Some of your own relatives apparently don’t think so but your running mate, who wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to deliver his customary monologue before the media, dismisses it as washing dirty linen in public. Expressing a contrary opinion is washing dirty linen in public? What exactly did your cousin say except that she thinks you are not ready for the job? Many people would agree with the obvious. A few hearings on the Mamasapano tragedy where you sat as chair and mouthed motherhood statements do not constitute a body of work that would make this voter block the circle or square beside your name come election time. Your stint at the Censors Board was uneventful – mechanical at best. Even that is under question now with the details coming out of the disqualification hearings being conducted by the Senate Electoral Tribunal. (Did you declare under oath during your Filipino citizenship re-acquisition petition in 2006 that you were natural born to spouses Ronald Allan Poe and Jesusa Sonora Poe, three months before the couple was married in December 1968? Did you do the same when you filed your certificate of candidacy in 2013? Be careful what you fill up and sign, it can lead to falsification of public documents. And you want to be President?)
Whether you are natural born or naturalized, I don’t really care. You were found within the territory of the Philippines and your features are as Filipino as your late adoptive father. It is for the courts to decide the legalities, and for the electorate to determine whether we are ready to call you Mrs. President.
Speaking of the late FPJ, please stop using already his name to promote yourself. His likeness lurking over and behind you in your posters and tarps is getting creepier every time. What did he actually start that you say you want to continue? Run on your own merits even as you describe yourself in your premature campaign ads as matapat, may kakayahan at may paninindigan. And while we’re at it, if your biological parents are still alive, they should now come forward and save you from imminent disgrace. Either you come out clean or you cut it cleanly.