Just my opinion
By Raïssa Robles
From the little I know of the adoption process, a notice in a newspaper has to be published several times about any impending adoption in order to give any contesting party a chance to react. Failure to do so could invalidate the entire process.
Among the documents that Poe submitted to the Senate Electoral Tribunal was an order by a judge awarding the adoption of Mary Grace Natividad Contreras Militar to Ronald Allan Kelley Poe and Jesusa Sonora Poe.
The judge’s order contained the following paragraph [underlining mine]:
That the order, setting the hearing of this case on March 29, 1974 was published in the “Tribune,” a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Manila, and likewise in the Philippines, once a week for three consecutive weeks on March 3, 10, and 17, 1974, as evidenced by the Affidavit of Publication, executed by the Publisher of the Tribune, marked as Exhibit “A”; that the minor, Mary Grace Natividad Contreras Militar, was born on September 3, 1968, as evidenced by the Certificate of Live Birth, marked as Exhibit “C”; that the foundling parents of the minor Emiliano Militar and Rosario Militar gave their consent to this adoption marked as Exhibit “D”; that the petitioners Ronald Allan Poe and…”
This judicial document approved the adoption. The section that I noted said the notices of Grace Poe’s impending adoption were –
published in the “Tribune,” a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Manila, and likewise in the Philippines, once a week for three consecutive weeks on March 3, 10, and 17, 1974, as evidenced by the Affidavit of Publication, executed by the Publisher of the Tribune, marked as Exhibit “A”…
You see, I don’t recall a newspaper called the “Tribune” – which this document described as “a newspaper of general circulation in the City of Manila, and likewise in the Philippines” – existing during Martial Law. There was a Tribune before the Second World War but I don’t remember any newspaper called the Tribune in the mid’70s.
The year 1974 was the height of Martial Law. You could count the number of newspapers that were allowed to publish at that time. I remember the Times Journal Group, the Daily Express Group, the Bulletin Group, but I don’t recall a nationally circulated newspaper called the Tribune being published at that time.
Knowing I might be wrong, I asked veteran journalist-publisher Vergel Santos if he ever recalled the Tribune – which the court document said was published nationwide – during martial law.
Vergel also didn’t recall the Tribune. Someone who would know, he told me, would be Francisco Tatad, who was the Public Information Minister then, and who had to approve and certify the publication of all newspapers, tabloids and books during that time.
Tatad had refused to talk to me since the trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona. So that’s out.
Can anyone else say if there was a Tribune newspaper being published in 1974 during Martial Law?
If it didn’t exist, why use a fictional newspaper to put up a notice for adoption? If it did exist, then the newspaper itself showing the notice of the court hearing on her adoption would be the best proof.
This is really getting curiouser and curiouser…
Now, to those asking, why bring this up at all? Because before Grace Poe said she was a foundling, there was a perception among those who went through Martial Law that she was the dictator’s daughter.
Personally, I have no problem with that, provided she discloses how she feels about burying the dictator in Libingan ng mga Bayani and about all those ill-gotten wealth cases the government is still prosecuting. I publicly asked about the Libingan ng mga Bayani question months ago and even coursed the question through her chief-of-staff Nelson Victorino. Until today, I have not received any answer.
Here is a screencap of the judge’s order on Grace Poe’s adoption:
Here is the pertinent section of the judge’s order.
You can find the entire document here –