I wouldn’t trust an ex ex-Filipina

Our friend Leandro Coronel lived in the United States for almost three decades working at the World Bank, and came home to the Philippines for good still a Filipino citizen. I guess DD knows whereof he speaks when he says not to trust a former ex-Filipino to lead this country.

By Leandro DD Coronel (Manila Bulletin, October 25, 2015)

Every other week, it seems there’s a disqualification (DQ in media headlines) petition filed against presidential candidate Grace Poe.

The filed cases center on whether she’s natural-born Filipino and whether she’s within the residency period required, having lived in the United States before.

Poe backers claim these charges are mere technicalities and don’t really matter whether or not she can run for president. If they don’t matter, why doesn’t the Commission on Elections just delete them from the list of legal requirements for high elective office?

Of course, they matter. But the proper venues to resolve Poe’s disqualification cases are the Comelec and the courts. We should all let the legal process take its course.

But the people will decide whether Poe is fit to be president of this country. And this is a crucial matter.

As I’ve written before, what does Poe bring to the table? What has she done for the country? MTRCB chairwoman? Senator for three years? Fernando Poe’s daughter? Are these enough? It’s up to the people to say whether that experience is enough for them to vote for Poe.

But my concern is this. Grace Poe had once abandoned this country. She left the Philippines and went to the United States and chose to become a US citizen. To become a US citizen she had to renounce her Filipino citizenship. These are facts.

When you renounce your original citizenship, that is abandonment of your country. There are no two ways about it, you renounce, therefore, you abandon.

And that she did.

She reapplied for Filipino citizenship when she came back here. For some four years she held dual citizenship, that of the United States and that of the Philippines. For that, she had dual loyalties, she took an oath to be loyal to two countries. She then dropped the US citizenship because it was the convenient thing to do as she had by then been appointed to the MTRCB, the movie censors board.

Is this a trivial issue? A technicality? Not in my opinion.

First, how can the Filipino people vote for someone who once abandoned their country, the one of which she is now claiming to be a natural-born citizen.

Second, can or should the Filipino people trust someone who discards one citizenship when that’s convenient and embraces another, also because it’s convenient? What kind of dutiful and nation-loving citizen does that?

(Disclosure: I lived in the United States for 28 years but never for one second did I give a thought to applying for either an immigrant status or citizenship there. I was already a citizen, a Filipino citizen, so I didn’t need another one. I lucked out and was able to complete a fulfilling career. Since I promised myself I would come back home before I was 50 years old, I opted for early retirement and made it home six months before that birthday.)

So, why are we even considering the candidacy of someone who had abandoned our country? And for the presidency at that!

And, with all the members of her family being American citizens, would the Filipino people allow them to live in Malacañang, the seat and symbol of the Philippine presidency, and representative of the sovereign Filipino people?

That is the question I ask the Filipino people. Why are we even fighting over a person who left the country, embraced another, and now wants to lead us (which is being overambitious in the first place)?

I wouldn’t trust a former ex-Filipino to be my president.

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