Questions remain over Poe’s use of US passport after renouncing American citizenship

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By Macon Araneta
FilAm Star Correspondent

TACLOBAN CITY, PH – Vice-presidential candidate Sen. Chiz Escudero recently condemned the apparent move to sow confusion with the Arnado vs. Comelec case, in which the Supreme Court (SC) disqualified a town mayor for using a US passport after renouncing his American citizenship.

Escudero, a lawyer from the University of the Philippines and Harvard University, stressed the Arnado case cannot be applied in the case of presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe, who is facing disqualification charges in the Supreme Court.

In the case of Arnado, Escudero said in a news conference at Hotel Antonio Penthouse, “He was repatriated from being a Filipino. He renounced his American citizenship but after doing these, he used his US passport.”

“So the Supreme Court said his repatriation and renouncing his American citizenship was void. It has no bearing because he again used his US passport,” said Escudero.

Kauswagan Mayor Rommel Arnado was also disqualified from the 2013 elections for using his American passport after renuoncing his US citizenship.

The SC holds that the use of a foreign passport after renouncing one’s foreign citizenship “is a positive and voluntary act of representation as to one’s nationality and citizenship” and “does not divest one of the reacquired Filipino citizenship but recants the Oath of Renunciation required to qualify one to run for an elective position.”

Escudero also pointed out that since a disqualification case was filed against Poe, many believe that Poe used her passport after she renounced her US citizenship and was repatriated.

“We already went through the Comelec. We’re done with the Supreme Court, so why up to now has that evidence not come out.” Escudero said it was proven that she did not use her US passport after renouncing her US citizenship.

“Even if they wanted it, that case is not applicable,” insisted Escudero.

Poe said if that was really the case, she would have been removed from the MTRCB if there was evidence to prove that allegation.

“They showed my Philippine passport… and everything that can prove it. And in fact if that is true, this issue should no longer reach the Supreme Court. It should already be at the Comelec level,” said Poe.

She echoed Escudero’s view that those behind this merely liked to create confusion in the public’s mind. Poe said, “ (It’s a) fabricated statement and I can prove it.”

Her counsel, George Garcia, said, “Records would show that there was no use of (her) US passport after her renunciation of US citizenship in October of 2010,” said Garcia. He also said the last time Poe used her US passport was in March of 2010 or several months before her renunciation.

He said this was confirmed by the entries on the US passport itself, and the travel records from the Bureau of Immigration. He noted that this was further amplified during the oral argument.

“Let us all wait for the SC decision. It’s forthcoming anyway. Whatever it may be, we should bow to its wisdom. This after all is what we call the rule of law,” he added.

However, Manuelito Luna, lawyer of former Sen. Francisco “Kit” Tatad, one of four disqualification petitioners against Poe in the Comelec, earlier cited records of US State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs possibly showing that Poe still used her US passport after renouncing her American citizenship.

Luna said the documents indicated that Poe used her US passport in September 2011, a month before the same passport expired. “I have pointed out in our memo that two evidences show the use of her US passport in 2006 to 2011.”

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