Poser over Poe’s roots threatens to cause chaos

MANILA: Is he or isn't he? 

That question about the Filipino citizenship of a film star running for president threatens to tip May's election into even more chaos and send his angry supporters into the streets. 

Fernando Poe Jr, or FPJ as he is known, is a household name in the Philippines for beating up the bad guys in movies since the 1950s and has charged ahead in opinion polls without any record in politics. 

Despite his close friendship with deposed president Joseph Estrada, Poe insists he is his own man as his campaign team markets him as a force for national unity and positive change. 

But his bid to block President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from a fresh term now hangs in limbo as lawyers, senators and newspapers dig up the roots of his family tree. 

Accusations of altered documents have roared back and forth. 

“I want all of you to know that I am a Filipino,” Poe told a business gathering yesterday. “I won't be disqualified.” 

There is no argument that Poe's mother was an American but the citizenship of his father -- Spanish or Filipino -- and the legitimacy of their marriage will determine whether the actor will be allowed to stand in the election on May 10. 

Presidential candidates must be Filipino nationals, over the age of 40 and able to read and write. 

As a Senate inquiry sat yesterday to weigh the citizenship question, newspaper editorials called on Poe to live up to his image for honesty and on the government to ensure a credible investigation that will settle the issue once and for all. 

“It creates a major wrinkle in the predictability of an election that's unpredictable as it is,” Alex Magno, a political analyst and speechwriter for Arroyo, said. 

“It could break into a riot. That scenario is a very likely one but whether this will progress into anything more serious, like burning down the election commission building or whatever, is open to speculation.” 

Hundreds of Poe supporters demonstrated their displeasure at the election commission on Monday and the head of a loose legion of fans has warned of unrest if the film star is disqualified. 

“The people might hold an uprising,” Ruben “Boots” Cadsawan said on Tuesday. “No one will believe that he is not a Filipino.” – Reuters  

For Another perspective from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, a partner of Asia News Network, click here

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Did you find this article insightful?


Next In Regional

Covid-19: Cases up by 3,170 bringing total to 172,549 (updated daily)
Jack Ma’s video chat prompts a US$58bil sigh of relief
The future of China’s most popular app WeChat is short videos and livestreaming, says creator Allen Zhang
Pinduoduo worker deaths reignite debate on 996 and the dark side of China tech’s overwork culture
Alibaba founder Jack Ma delivers video speech to China’s rural teachers in first public appearance in three months
Tencent super app WeChat celebrates a decade of influence in China’s online world, but are its best years behind it?
Thai woman sentenced to 43 years in jail for insulting monarchy
Google backs Indian courier startup Dunzo in $40 million fundraising
MCO 2.0 to cost Malaysia RM600m daily, Zafrul says
Japan's Okinawa declares coronavirus emergency as cases spike

Stories You'll Enjoy