MANILA - Do Filipinos deserve a president who once renounced his or her Filipino citizenship? Camarines Sur. Rep. Leni Robredo doesn't think so.
Robredo, a lawyer by profession, said the question about Sen. Grace Poe's citizenship is not about legality or qualifications but about loyalty to country.
"Mahalaga yun eh. For somebody seeking the presidency, parang mahirap naman at one point in your life, you renounced loyalty to your own country, di ba? I am not saying she did renounce citizenship kasi hindi ko naman alam e. But if it can be proven later on that she did renounce, palagay ko parang hindi natin dine-deserve yung isang presidente na di ba parang at one point in her life tinalikuran tayo," she told ANC's Headstart.
"Hindi legal yung question. Mas loyalty to country. Kahit pa natural born ka ulit kasi bumalik ka sa dati mong citinzenship, hindi yun ang question. Ang question ay - at one point, tinalikuran mo ang iyong bansa. Yun ang mas question sa akin," she added.
Robredo said she has nothing against Poe, saying that she does not know the senator well enough. "OK naman sa competence. I don't know her well enough...Nakikita ko maayos naman," she said.
She said she actually wants Poe to run for vice-president with Secretary Mar Roxas since they are both supporters of President Aquino's "Daang Matuwid."
Poe is currently facing a quo warranto petition questioning her citizenship before the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Defeated 2013 senatorial candidate Rizalito David filed the case against Poe at the SET on the allegations that she is not a natural-born citizen as she is a foundling, and that she does not satisfy the residency requirements for the Senate, which is two years before the elections.
If Poe loses the case, not only does she lose the Senate election she topped. She will also be rendered ineligible for higher office in the 2016 elections, which requires natural-born citizenship and a 10-year residency before the election.
In an earlier interview, Robredo said Poe's citizenship dilemma is different than that of her late husband, DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo.
She clarified that the late Naga City mayor and interior secretary never renounced his citizenship.
"'Yung asawa ko naman, never in his life na nag-renounce siya ng citizenship. Parang ang kinukuwestiyon dun sa asawa ko, iyung citizenship ng tatay niya. Kasi iyung tatay niya, full-blooded na Chinese, pero born in the Philippines. Kaya ibang-iba talaga ‘yung premise ng question sa citizenship," she told ABS-CBN's late night news program Bandila.