Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares desperately wants to be in the news as often as possible. The on-going power struggle for the leadership of the House of Representatives has relegated Poe to the sidelines. For almost all of the last two weeks of June, nothing was heard from her.
In the Senate, neophyte senators led by Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go have filed so many bills upon assuming office, enough to upstage Poe.
Poe is still recovering from her embarrassment in the May 2019 senatorial polls. She was expecting to reprise her first place finish in the 2013 senatorial elections. Alas, the honor this year went to Senator Cynthia Villar.
Being dislodged from first place was enough to upset Poe, and to make her assistants regret it. Her failure to make it to number one indicates that Poe’s plans for another presidential run in 2022 will not be a walk in the park after all. Cynthia Villar is now in Poe’s list of possible adversaries for the highest office in the land.
Last week, when Poe criticized the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte for what she alleged as the slow pace in the renovation of the mass transport system in the metropolis, particularly the MRT-3 train system, she wasn›t really concerned about the transport woes of the citizenry. She simply wanted to give the public the wrong impression that a vital need of the populace — adequate transportation — is being neglected by the administration.
Poe pretends to be unaware that the Department of Transportation (DoTr) has arranged for the purchase and delivery of high-grade rail tracks for the MRT-3 train system. The tracks were purchased from Nippon Steel, an industrial giant based in Japan. A shipment consisting of 50 percent of the total order will arrive at the port of Manila before the end of August 2019.
The Japanese-made steel tracks are sturdier and smoother than the low-grade existing tracks installed on the MRT-3 system by corrupt officials identified with President Benigno Aquino III and his cohorts in the now disgraced Liberal Party.
Commuters will be pleased to know that last November 2017, the DoTr officially terminated its contract with Busan Universal Rail Inc., the maintenance service provider engaged by the Aquino administration for the MRT-3 system.
When the rehabilitated MRT-3 system becomes fully functional, train capacity is expected to double to 650,000 commuters daily. There will be no more endless waits, surprise stops, and malfunctioning coach doors, thanks to the quality of the Japanese supplies.
By next year, the tram system in Metropolitan Manila will be expanded and major stations will be interconnected using safe, durable and reliable rail tracks and coaches.
Before Poe continuous with her unfounded attacks against the administration, she should engage in some stocktaking about herself and her political game plan.
There is still no legal closure to Poe›s claim to natural-born Philippine citizenship. As a foundling whose biological parents remain unidentified up to today, Poe cannot be considered a natural-born Philippine citizen based on the explicit provisions of the Constitution.
The decision of the Supreme Court (SC) which her allies cite as a ruling favorable for Poe is not doctrinal, which, therefore, does not create a binding legal precedent. For the ruling to be doctrinal, it must have the affirmative vote of at least eight of the 15 justices of the SC. From all indications, the ruling has the support of just seven justices, one vote shy of the majority requirement.
The de facto Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and then Solicitor General Florin Hilbay were the only notable legal personalities who sympathized with Poe. Fortunately, they are no longer around to corrupt Philippine jurisprudence.
In other words, Poe›s citizenship may still be questioned if she runs for president in 2022.
At the height of the 2016 presidential campaign, Poe›s American husband promised to obtain Philippine citizenship whether or not Poe wins the presidential election. Poe’s camp has repeatedly dodged that question for the past three years.
Instead of criticizing the administration, Poe should prioritize her obligation to explain, among others, the citizenship issues haunting her and her husband.