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Sotto, Chiz defend Grace Poe over residency issue


(Updated 1:14 p.m.) Allies of the late Fernando Poe Jr. on Wednesday defended his daughter, Senator Grace Poe, who was accused of lacking the required residency to run for either President or Vice President in the 2016 elections.
 
Acting Minority Leader Vicente Sotto III said that the residency requirement should not be a problem as Poe always had an intention to return to the Philippines and besides she has yet to decide if she will run for a higher post next year. 
 
Poe resided in the United States and became a dual citizen before her return to the country when her father died in 2004.
 
“What I know is that she was born here and even if she stayed abroad for a while, she always had an intention to return. She came back in 2004 and stayed. Besides, what’s the big fuss e she has not decided?” he said in a text message to GMA News Online.
 
Sotto was one of those who convinced the late actor Poe to run for President in 2004.
 
Senator Francis Escudero, for his part, scored Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco for raising the residency requirement against Poe.
 
“Noong nakaraang buwan, sabi nila nais ni Vice President Binay si Grace. Pumirma lang siya sa committee report, tinanggihan lang siya at hindi kinakausap… biglang disqualified naman ngayon,” he said in a television interview.
 
“Alam ko at tiyak ko kung nag-research talaga sila, malalaman din nila 'yan. Mula pa siguro noong 2004, 2005, kung tama ang pagkakaalala ko, dito na nanirahan si Sen. Poe matapos pumanaw ang kanyang tatay noong December 2004," Escudero said.

"Madaling patunayan at kayang patunayan 'yun kung saka-sakaling magpapasyang tumakbo si Senator Poe,” he added.

Animus revertendi

Escudero, a lawyer, also mentioned the principle of animus revertendi or "intent to return."

"Basta meron kang intent to return, ayon sa Korte Suprema, pwede. Dahil hindi mo kailangang patunayan na physically present ka, lalo na kung physically present ka," he said.

Senator Sergio Osmeña III said the SC has resolved the issue on animus revertendi “65 years ago when Eliseo Quirino returned after many years in America to run for Governor of Ilocos Sur.” 
 
“The mere intention  to return to your country is sufficient to establish your domicile here. It is distinguished between domicile and residence,” he said in a text message to GMA News Online.
 
Senate President Franklin Drilon, also a lawyer, also said that there should be no issue of residency on Poe citing the animus revertendi principle.
 
“Kahit kayo po ay lumabas ng bansa o wala sa inyong distrito, ngunit kung meron kayo na sinasabing intensiyon na bumalik, 'yun po ay hindi kailangan ang inyong physical presence sa isang lugar upang ang inyong residency ay ma-satisfy. As long as may balak kayong bumalik, at may intensiyon kayong bumalik sa inyong lugar na inyong pinanggalingan, iyan po ay bilang doon sa inyong residency," he said.
 
Escudero further said that Tiangco should have known this as the latter’s aunt, Leyte Rep. Imelda Marcos, a sibling of his parent-in-law, was also questioned for her lack of residency.

The Supreme Court ruled then that “the fact of residence not the statements made in the COC (certificate of candicacy) will control and dictate kung residente ka nga ba sa isang lugar o hindi," he said in a radio interview.

Escudero also asked those making the accusation to examine themselves first.
 
“Marami nga at may ilang kongresista diyan ang tinitirhan nilang bahay ay iba sa tinatakbuhan o kinakatawan nilang lugar. So sana maghunus-dili ‘ika nga at manalamin ang ilan sa mga nagsasalita,” said Escudero.
 
The senator expressed disappointment that the same issues hurled against the father FPJ are also being hurled against the daughter, Senator Poe.
 
“Residency, citizenship, competence, experience, lahat ng binabato kay Sen. Poe ngayon, 'yan ang eksaktong binato sa kanyang ama noong nagdaang pagtakbo niya noong 2004. Hindi na siguro nakakagulat 'yun. Pero nakakalungkot na 'yung ginawa sa ama, ginagawa at gagawin din sa anak,” Escudero said.
 
Escudero was the spokesperson of the late Poe in the 2004 presidential polls. —KG, GMA News