By Raïssa Robles
Instead of getting annoyed at me – which was what happened when I asked President Benigno Aquino in 2011 if it was true he was playing video games during the 2010 Luneta bus hostage crisis – Senator Grace Poe thanked me for publishing US state records on her American citizenship.
Which, by the way came from “Yvonne” and later “Baycas” – both active members of the Cyber Plaza Miranda who congregate on this site.
Thank you, too, @emmcee79 for calling my attention on Twitter about Senator Poe’s direct mention of my name to Senate reporters.
This is a portion of the transcript of that ambush interview with Senator Poe that her office officially released:
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GRACE POE AMBUSH INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT
Q: Alam ko nasagot niyo na, pero tungkol sa citizenship ulit. There’s a blog…kay Raissa Robles….
Poe: Oo, sinasabi nga na kinoquote ‘yung aking katapatan. Ako po’y nananatiling tapat. Sa atin pong batas ng dual-citizenship, nakalagay po doon na kailangan mag-renounce ka before public officer. Ako po ay sumumpa doon renouncing–October 2010. Ngayon tungkol dun sa US, nirelease po nila ang aking renunciation 2012. Bakit? Sapagkat sila ay may prosesong napakahaba. Hindi ka basta pupunta sa US embassy para mag-submit…Kailangan doon ang tax return mo doon in the last 5 years, ari-arian mo in the last 5 years. Ang daming dokumento. At isa pa po ang batas lang natin ang babasihan, pwede ko sanang niloko ang ating mga kababayan at nanumpa lang ako sa public officer dito sa pilipinas. Hindi naman nakalagay dun na kailangang pumunta ka sa embassy o sa iba. Ginawa ko po ang nararapat at magmula po noon ang akin pong ginamit ay tourist visa para pumunta sa America. So okay lang po ‘yun. Salamat kay Ms. Robles na inilabas niya ang issue na iyun sapagkat ngayon mas nasasagot ko ng mas malinaw.
Q: So ma’am linawin lang po natin. Kelan niyo sinimulan yung process sa US embassy?
Poe: Sa US Embassy, nagsimula ako ng process, kailangan kong balikan ano, pero parang 2011, kalagitnaan. Bakit? Sapagkat sa batas, complied na ako just by a public officer na Pilipino. Complied na. Pero sabi ko “alam mo hahanapan ako ng butas nito e. Kahit na sabihin nila “if you’re sincere, bakit di ka pumunta ng US embassy?” I did it but before I went there, that’s why it took until the middle part of the year, kinailangan ko munang basahin, nasa internet…Ang laki ng babayaran niyo para mag-renounce, ang dami niyong dokumentong kailangan gawin, hindi ‘to basta basta nagagawa. Kung natatandaan ninyo inappoint ako ni president, magtatapos na ang taon ng 2010, so ang emergency dun ay kailangan ko mag-renounce before a Filipino public officer. ‘Yung sa US Embassy, added bonus na ginawa ko ‘yun pero kinailangan ko ‘yung mga dokumento ipasok talaga lahat.
Q: So it means while you were MTRCB chair, hindi na kayo US citizen?
Poe: And I never used my visa after that and I’m willing to answer it and if they question this in court, ako po ay kumpyansa. Nagsasabi naman po ako ng totoo ukol dito.
UPDATE: @mel found the video of the ambush interview
The citizenship issue is what her political rivals will use against her. It could even reach the Supreme Court.
As my hubby Alan pointed out , “It’s all going to emerge eventually, anyway. The story could emerge late, nasty and twisted for weaponized use by political spin doctors, or it could emerge early, factual and straightforward in this blog as a subject for rational debate and discussion.”
Another thing Alan mentioned to me: in the end Sen. Grace Poe could use the Fernando Poe Jr. solution.
And what is that, I asked him.
Well, he said, when Poe’s citizenship was questioned before the Supreme Court thousands of his supporters massed before the high court. The justices ruled in his favor.
My many thanks to Getty Images for enabling me to embed these highly evocative images.
My reply to Senator Poe: you’re welcome. :)
But one gentle reminder – you still haven’t answered the four questions I put at the end of my story. In case you forgot, here they are:
ONE – What does she intend to do with the pending cases against the Marcoses? And with the fact that the bulk of their ill-gotten and stolen wealth is still hidden abroad? To begin with, does she even (as evidence overwhelmingly shows) think that the Marcoses did stash ill-gotten wealth and should now return the money to the government?
TWO – What is her stand on the South China Sea issue? Will she enter into joint exploration, knowing full well that China will only agree to it if it is done in the context of their sovereignty?
THREE – What is her stand on the criminal cases of Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and former President Gloria Arroyo? Will the justice department under her watch continue to backstop the pursuit of these cases?
FOUR – What is her stand on any cases that might be filed against President Benigno Aquino once he steps down from office?