Presidential bet Sen. Grace Poe and her running mate Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero shake hands with their supporters during a campaign sortie in Angeles City, Pampanga on March 2.  (Photo by Jay Morales)

ANY day now, the Supreme Court of the Philippines is expected to render its decision on the disqualification case against Sen. Grace Poe.

According to a newspaper in Manila, on Dec. 1, 2015, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) 2nd Division voted 3-0 to disqualify Sen. Grace Poe from the presidential race for failure to meet citizenship and residency requirement as mandated by the Philippine Constitution.

The petition was filed by former Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) lawyer Estrella Elamparo.

A week later, the poll body’s First Division voted 2-1 to cancel Sen. Poe’s certificate of candidacy for president after finding that she committed material misrepresentation when she claimed to be a natural-born citizen and has resided in the Philippines for at least 10 years prior to the election on May 6, 2016, also as required by the Philippine Constitution.

The First Division ruling covered three consolidated petitions filed by former Sen. Francisco Tatad, De La Salle University Professor Antonio Contreras and former University of the East College of Law Dean Amado Valdez.

Sen. Poe sought relief for Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from the Supreme Court, which was granted, and filed a formal appeal of her Comelec disqualification.

This is the third month since the Poe appeal was filed.

After five en banc hearings, the Supreme Court is said to be ready to hand down a decision.

There are wild rumors circulating in Manila and opinions about the Supreme Court’s decision-making process.

In his recent column, former Sen. Kit Tatad asked whether money will rule?

He wrote, “But people are worried about all the terrible rumors they are hearing. Even in church, in the middle of Mass during this Lenten season, some elderly matron would touch me on the shoulder from behind to ask how the case is moving. They do not seem to mind interrupting their meditation and prayers. They are not worried that either the petitioners’ and the Comelec’s reading of the Constitution or that of the Justices could be wrong, but that the devil’s temptation, which our Lord rejected at the desert, and a tiny portion of which Judas readily accepted to betray his Master would ultimately decide whether or not Mrs. Llamanzares (Sen. Poe) is natural-born.”

The former two-term senator continued, “Absolute restraint is needed among those who seem to believe that with all their money, they could swing the case in her favor. My fellow Times columnist Yen Makabenta has identified my friend Ramon S. Ang as the one bankrolling Mrs. Llamanzares’ “candidacy”; former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban, in his Philippine Daily Inquirer column, continues to instruct the Justices, in utter contempt of court, how to dispose of the case; and Danding Cojuangco’s National People’s Coalition, which RSA also supports, has just endorsed Mrs. Llamanzares, as though she were now a bona fide candidate, with no constitutional impediment.”

Ric Brazil, a Filipino citizen and social media practitioner, wrote, “...Citizenship of a Filipino has been clearly defined in our Constitution, yet up to now they (Supreme Court) haven’t voted on it yet. This is despite the fact that the case before them is of utmost importance to the nation. Reports we are reading, in making the decision, justices are well aware and are taking into consideration of what will become of them should a favor presidential candidate loses. In other words, it’s personal interest first before national interest.”

This unique case of Sen. Grace Poe reminds us of Abraham Lincoln’s “life and limb dictum.”

In one of his memorable letters to a friend in 1864, Lincoln said, “...By general law, life and limb must be protected, yet often a limb must be amputated to save a life, but a life is never wisely given to save a limb.”

In the same vein, it is our sincerest hope that when the smoke from the Poe disqualification case has cleared after the Supreme Court has made a decision either way, the Philippine Constitution, which is the life of the nation, will remain intact and sacred, and that its supremacy as fundamental law would not be sacrificed in order to save a “limb” or, in this case, to save one presidential candidate.


After the so-called Super Tuesday, or simultaneous primaries in 12 states, which Sec. Hillary Clinton won for the Democrats and Donald Trump for the Republicans, the campaign has shifted from local to national.

It is as if the two are already in the national arena.

Each will be “crowned” as the official standard-bearer of his/her party in a riotous national convention of delegates from 50 states.

Then, the campaign begins.


2016 Pennsylvania State President Peter Urscheler inducts the incoming 2016 New Jersey State President Ria Serrano.  (LL Photography by Lino Ongteco)

Congratulations Ria Serrano, newly-inducted president of the New Jersey Jaycees.

More power!

Likewise, greetings to Joyce Andes-David.

She is the new president of JCI North Jersey.


National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Region 1 and Philippine-American Friendship Committee (PAFCOM) recently co-sponsored a meeting in Jersey City, N.J. to educate Filipino-Americans on the voting process, both in this country (for citizens) and in the Philippines (for dual citizens). Concerned members of the community, led by Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro, Jr. (5th from left), attended the civic gathering.  (Photo by Loren San Diego)

The National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA) Region 1 and the Philippine American Friendship Committee (PAFCOM) jointly conducted a public education on the voting process both here in the U.S. for Fil-Am citizens and for those holding dual citizenship who will vote in the coming Philippine elections.

We praise those two organizations for their initiative.

Filipinos here in America need such efforts and encouragements so they would involve themselves politically in mainstream American life.

We learned the following from the meeting last weekend:

1) For American citizens, NaFFAA is conducting voter registration until Nov. 1, 2016.

2) For dual citizens who want to cast their votes in the May 2016 Philippine elections, e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for ID to be used for voting purposes.

3) There are 25,962 Filipino-Americans who could vote in Philippine elections from the Northeast of the U.S.

4) Voting places for Pinoys in the Northeast States will be designated by the Philippine Consulate in New York.

5) Voting in Philippine elections for Filipinos in the Northeast is from April 9 to May 9, 2016.

6) Contact person at the Philippine Consulate in New York is Consul Kerwin Tate.

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