MANILA - Presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe is no "American girl." This, she declared, even as she revealed that her DNA test which was supposed to show that she was born to Filipino parents yielded negative results.
During her live appearance on dzMM Wednesday for "Ikaw na ba? Para sa Pamilyang Pilipino," Poe confidently answered in the affirmative when asked if she is a Filipino amid questions on her citizenship.
"Ako'y Pilipino. Ako'y ipinanganak dito sa ating bansa. Ako'y lumaki dito sa ating bansa, pinag-aral ng aking mga magulang dito... Hindi lamang dito lumaki, ngayon ay naninilbihan dito sa ating bansa. Wala po akong duda sa aking puso, sa aking isip, ako po ay Pilipino," she said.
Poe is facing a disqualification case before the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) on the grounds that she is not a natural-born Filipino because her biological parents remain unknown.
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.
Poe was found abandoned as an infant at a church in Iloilo City in September 1968. She was later adopted by the late action king Fernando Poe Jr. and veteran actress Susan Roces.
READ: A foundling named Grace
Supreme Court (SC) Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, chairman of the SET, has argued that Poe is not a natural-born citizen but merely a naturalized Filipino, which, Poe stressed, implies that she underwent a process wherein she acquired Philippine citizenship.
According to Poe, she was saddened by Carpio's statement, noting that the SC justice was also among those who said that her father, who ran for president in the 2004 elections, was not a Filipino citizen.
But Poe nonetheless is unfazed. "Hindi naman siya (Carpio) at hindi lang naman ang opinyon niya ang magiging desisyon para sa lahat," she said.
DNA TEST RESULTS NEGATIVE
In a bid to prove that she was born to Filipino parents to finally resolve her disqualification case, Poe underwent a DNA test last September.
READ: Poe undergoes DNA test to prove citizenship
However, in the dzMM interview, Poe admitted that the results of the DNA test, which involved two other persons, were negative.
The senator did not reveal the identities of the two individuals, noting that they are private individuals.
"Mahabang proseso itong sa DNA sapagkat di lamang isang tao ang aming kinunan dito. Pero aaminin ko sa inyo yung aming mga nakuha na ay di po nagtugma ang aming DNA," Poe said.
"Ngayon, nakakalungkot din sapagkat matagal ko na ring inaasam na malaman na rin yung katotohanan tungkol sa mismong mga pagkatao ng aking pamilya na kadugo."
Despite the negative results, Poe still expressed confidence that she will be able to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino and therefore qualified to hold public office.
"Gayunpaman, hindi naman ako nawawalan din ng loob, lakas ng loob dito, sapagkat ang aming tinatayunan na legal na basehan ay hindi lang naman sa DNA nakasalalay. Nakasalalay po ito sa karapatan ng mga bata bilang mga ipinanganak dito sa ating bansa," she added.
READ: Is Grace Poe a Militar?
LOVE FOR PH
Poe, meanwhile, insisted that her decision to become an American citizen 14 years ago did not mean that she had turned her back on the Philippines.
Poe became a dual (American-Filipino) citizen in 2001, but renounced American citizenship in 2010 before becoming the chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).
"Hindi totoo yun. Nanatili ang pagmamahal ko sa ating bansa. Kung meron man akong talagang natutunan habang ako'y lumalaki ay talagang suportahan, mahalin ang iyong kabiyak at ang iyong pamilya," she said. Poe's husband, Neil Llamanzares, is a US citizen.
"Kaya nga ito eh, 'Ikaw na nga ba ang para sa pamilyang Pilipino?' Ang pamilyang Pilipino ay hindi nananatili sa Pilipinas lamang. Kung saan-saan na sila ngayon sa buong mundo," she said.
NO AMERICAN GIRL, BOY IN PALACE
The senator nonetheless said her husband is willing to renounce his American citizenship in support for her candidacy for the presidency in next year's elections.
"Huwag kayong mag-alala, hindi kayo magkakaroon ng American boy sa Malacañang," Poe quipped, taking a swipe at Vice President Jejomar Binay's "American girl" tag on her.
She, however, said she will not force her three children, who are also dual citizens, to also renounce their US citizenship.
Poe, meanwhile, just downplayed the "American girl" tag given to her by her political rival Binay.
READ: Tunay na Pilipino: Binay takes swipe anew at Poe?
She said she will not stoop down to name-calling. This, despite Binay facing numerous allegations of corruption.
"Eh hayaan mo na siya. Mas okay naman na na yun na ang itawag niya sa akin. Marami akong pwedeng itawag sa kanya, pero hindi ko rin naman sinasabi yun," she said.
"Eh kung name-calling pala tayo, ang tinatawag niya sa akin feeling niya yan ang aking kahinaan, eh kung tinawag ko sinuman na katunggali ko sa aking inaakalang kahinaan nila, di ba pangit rin naman yun?"