President Aquino answers questions related to presidential aspirant Grace Poe during the ANC special interview. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA - If President Aquino would have his way, Senator Grace Poe should be allowed to run for president amid questions about her citizenship.
Speaking to ABS-CBN News Channel's Tina Monzon Palma, Aquino said Poe should be allowed to seek the people's mandate, invoking the maxim "vox populi, vox Dei" (the voice of the people (is) the voice of God").
"One would hope that Senator Grace gets the opportunity to be judged by the people to secure the mandate. Vox populi, vox dei. That's a personal opinion," Aquino said.
Asked what to him is a Filipino, Aquino cited the legal definition of being a natural-born citizen.
"Traditionally, it says a natural-born citizen is somebody who never did anything to complete the process," he said.
The President said he is hoping that the case over Poe's citizenship be resolved before the elections.
"Hopefully--I assume it might get elevated to the Supreme Court--that there is a decision that is timely, that it happens, there is clarity and it happens soon rather than to be decided after the election..." Aquino said.
READ: A foundling named Grace
READ: Is Grace Poe a Militar?
Poe faces a disqualification case at the Senate Electoral Tribunal on the grounds that her natural-born Filipino citizenship is doubtful because she does not know her biological parents.
Senator Grace Poe during the launch of her presidential bid in U.P. Photo by Jonathan Cellona for ABS-CBNnews.com
Poe was abandoned as a baby in a baptismal font in the Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo. A woman named Sayong Militar found Poe and took care of her for a couple of years.
After that, the child was passed on to sugar heiress Tessie Ledesma Valencia, who eventually passed her on to showbiz couple Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice and Senate Electoral Tribunal Chairman Antonio Carpio earlier said Poe, a foundling, is considered a naturalized Filipino and not natural-born. He said the senator must prove her parents are Filipino citizens.
On Monday, Poe revealed that family members of an individual who could be either of her biological parents approached her for a DNA test. She refused to disclose their identities, saying they are private individuals.
The test was conducted around two weeks ago, Garcia said. Poe explained that the results would likely come out after three weeks because the samples had to be sent abroad for actual testing.
THROWBACK: Grace Poe's fond memories with FPJ