Is Grace Poe a Militar?

By Gigi Grande, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 07 2015 05:52 PM | Updated as of Jun 08 2015 02:36 AM

A DNA test can put to rest whether cockpit worker Edgardo Militar was the father of Grace Poe

Is Grace Poe a Militar? 1
Jaime Cardinal Sin, then Archbishop of Jaro, baptizes baby Grace, held by Sayong Militar. Tessie Ledesma Valencia was among the godmothers. At far right is Edgardo Militar, whom some say is Grace's biological father.

IT WAS Edgardo Militar all along who found the infant at a font of the Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo on September 3, 1968. That's according to Rose Militar Cordova, the second child of Sayong Militar who, for nearly 50 years, was said to have found the baby whom we now know as Senator Grace Poe.

Rose said she hopes this revelation will bring Poe one step closer to finding her biological parents.

Speaking to ABS-CBN News from the United States, Rose said she remembers the day her Uncle Edgardo brought the baby to their home on Sta. Isabel Street in Jaro. Rose was 12 years old at the time. The baby was thought to be 3 to 5 days old, judging from the stump of tissue on her navel.

Not for sale

Rose's story jibes with the story of Edgardo's children, Imelda Militar Hofilena, who is based in Canada, and Zilda Militar Demaala, who is based in Guam. Imelda and Zilda said their father had brought the infant home straight from the cathedral and had cared for her for three days, even fending off people who offered to buy the baby.

Realizing he couldn't provide her a good life, Edgardo, who worked at a cockpit, turned over the child to his brother Emiliano and wife Sayong, who were better off in life.

Sayong would later pass on the baby Grace to sugar heiress Tessie Ledesma Valencia, who would later give up the child for adoption by celebrity couple Susan Roces and Fernando Poe Jr.

Keeping the story simple

Is Grace Poe a Militar? 2
Grace Poe and son Brian Llamanzares with Sayong Militar in Jaro, Iloilo in 2013.

Asked why Sayong and even Rose's brother Jun had left Edgardo out of the story about Poe's beginnings, Rose said they merely wanted to keep the story simple in case the baby's biological parents turned up. "Para lang huwag nang magulo," Rose said. "Para isa na lang ang puntahan kung lumutang yung magulang. Sa simula pa lang, yan na ang kwento and Uncle Gardo (Edgardo) never objected to it."

Edgardo passed away over 30 years ago. Sayong is 89 years old and lives in Canada.

Poe said she has always known that Edgardo's name appears in her certificate of foundling as the person who found her, but she was made to believe that Edgardo had merely processed the papers, and was not physically present at the cathedral.

Waiting for a decision

That Poe's biological parents are unknown is no secret, but renewed interest comes in anticipation of her bid to seek higher office in 2016. Under the constitution, only natural-born Filipinos may sit as President, Vice President, Senator and Congressman. A "natural-born Filipino" is one whose biological father or mother is a Filipino citizen at the time of the child's birth.

Political watchers said they expect this matter to be raised before the Comelec and Supreme Court should Poe declare her bid to run for President.

Poe a Militar?

Asked to comment on rumors that Poe's biological father is Edgardo, or one of the men in the Militar family, Rose said she honestly does not know, and neither does Sayong. They know nothing about Poe's biological mother either, Rose said.

During a visit to Jaro on Friday, Poe said at least two people had told her that Edgardo Militar was her biological father.

Zilda has offered to travel to the Philippines from Guam "any time, even next week," to take a DNA test if that would help Poe find closure.



Part 1: A foundling named Grace
Part 2: The Curious Case of Grace Poe
Part 3: Finding Grace, finding closure