MANILA – Senator Grace Poe slammed the camp of Vice President Jejomar Binay for questioning her honesty and qualifications for the presidency soon after she signed a Senate subcommittee report recommending plunder charges against the vice president, his son, and other officials.
Firing what could be the most stinging comments yet against Binay's camp, Poe dismissed the statements of United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) interim president Toby Tiangco on her not being able to meet the residency requirement for presidential candidates in the Constitution.
''Ang pinaka-nakakainsulto sa akin ay ginamit nila na hindi daw ako tapat dahil hindi naman ako kwalipikado, na bakit hindi ko daw sinabi iyon,'' Poe said.
''Unang una, hindi po totoo na ako ay hindi kwalipikado. Kwalipikado po ako pero hindi pa po ako kandidato at hanggang ngayon, ang iba may commercial na, ako ay nag-iisip at nagninilay pa."
Poe said she's 50% decided on running in 2016, but she might eventually be forced to run for president because of her detractors.
"Mas lalo pa nilang tinutulak na mapalapit sa 100%,'' she said.
Tiangco, an ally of presidential aspirant Vice President Jejomar Binay, earlier showed Poe's certificate of candidacy for the 2013 midterm elections as senator where she stated she was a resident of the country for 6 years and 6 months at the time of the 2013 mid-term elections.
Tiangco said that adding three more years means Poe would only be a resident for 9 years and 6 months by the time of the May 2016 presidential elections.
The Constitution requires a 10-year residency for anyone running for vice-president or president.
''Hindi ko ho alam bakit tayo aabot doon sa kung kailangan pa siyang i-disqualify. Kasi if she will be honest, kung siya ay magiging tapat sa taumbayan, hindi na dapat umabot sa punto na mag-file pa siya ng certificate of candidacy,'' Tiangco told ABS-CBN's Umagang Kay Ganda.
Poe, however, said she can prove that she would have been in the country for 10 years come election day on May 9, 2016.
''Ang tatay ko kasi namatay 2004 eh, so bandang huli na ng December (2014), so January pa lang, alam ko, or mga February 2005, nandito na ako. Mapapatunayan iyan,'' she said.
''As of today, lagpas lagpas na [sa 10 years]."
NOT SANCTIONED BY BINAY
Tiangco earlier stressed that his statements were his own and not necessarily sanctioned by Binay.
Binay's daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, also tried to distance her father's political party from the lawmaker's statement.
Poe, however, doubts that Tiangco's pronouncements were not approved by Binay.
''Ganyan kalaking desisyon, walang sanction?" Poe said. ''Sino ba si Congressman Toby Tiangco? Tagapag-salita nino? Ganon lang naman ka-simple iyon."
Poe also questioned the timing of Tiangco's statement, saying the latter raised the issue on her residency after she rejected a possible tandem with Binay and signed a Senate sub-committee report recommending plunder charges against the vice president and his allies.
''Bakit kayo natatakot sa akin? Sinasabi nila na hindi raw nila ginawa ito bilang paghihiganti pero parang ang timing naman nila, kung kelan ako pumirma ng committee report at kung kailan sinabi ko na dapat humarap sila at magsalita, ilalabas nila ang issue na ito?" she said.
Poe, who is a foundling, is likewise unfazed that her citizenship is also being questioned.
''Tatakbo man ako o hindi, ito ay isang adbokasiya. Ang ibig sabihin ba nila, na ang isang batang pinulot ay hindi na pwedeng mangarap na manilbihan sa mataas na posisyon at walang karapatan sa parehong oportunidad sa iba?" she said.
Poe also slammed the tactics of Binay's camp, saying ''kung ang mga ganyang klase ang iuupo natin, sa tingin ko paurong ang magiging takbo ng ating bayan."
Old wounds were also opened when Poe recalled how Binay's UNA dropped her from its senatorial slate.
''Sinasabi nila na inimbitahan kami sa UNA, totoo. Pero pagkatapos noon nilaglag nila kami,'' she said.
''Hindi kami nagsalita noon pero napakasakit sa akin sapagkat bagong kandidato lang ako noon, kulang ang aking suporta."
Poe ran as guest candidate of the administration ticket in the 2013 polls.
Poe also lamented how some of the supporters of her father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., turned their backs on her.
''Iyung mga mismong kaibigan ng tatay ko na inasahan ko sana na maiintindihan ang aking hakbang na ako'y nasa administraton sapagkat sa MTRCB ako, ay ang nauna pang nagtakwil sa amin,'' she said.
Poe added that issues of citizenship and lack of experience were the same ones hurled against her father who ran but narrowly lost in the 2004 presidential polls.
''Mabuti na rin, mabuti nang pareho ang kanilang ibinabato sa aking tatay – lack of experience, hindi Filipino, at kulang sa track reord,'' she said.
''Kanino nanggagaling iyan, diba sa kanila rin, na mga dating sumporta kay FPJ?"