by RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

GRACE Poe-Llamanzares, indeed, should be. Her consuming greed for power, her vaulting personal ambition to be President has yoked even the highest court of our land to her will, dragging its justices to the level of her and her patron President Aquino’s legal manservants.

One can argue that the question of whether Llamanzares is natural-born or not, whether qualified to run for President or not, is such a complicated legal issue that the nine justices appointed by former President Arroyo were divided on it, so that five voted in her favor while four didn’t.

But to have four justices, the least experienced and least qualified to be Supreme Court justices and, therefore, the most beholden to Aquino, to all vote for Llamanzares is as strong an indication as any that the President, well, told them to do so. It just can’t be coincidental that the following shameless four voted in Llamanzares’ favor:

The Shameless Four

1. Ma. Lourdes Sereno, a lackluster legal academic plucked out of obscurity by Aquino and put in the High Court in 2010, and then in 2012, over the heads of all the other 13 more senior justices, appointed to replace Renato Corona as chief justice in 2012, at 52 the youngest ever appointed to the post and the first female — and I would insist, the most unqualified. The analogy is that of Aquino appointing a lieutenant teaching at the Philippine Military Academy to serve as Armed Forces Chief of Staff. If you wonder what Sereno, a college chum, did to deserve that post, read her voluminous dissenting opinion against the Court’s decision ordering Hacienda Luisita to comply with agrarian reform laws.

2. Marvic Leonen, two years younger than Sereno, and like her, an obscure, although noisy academic, his appointment a sort of reward by providing the legal (yet flimsy) justification for the peace agreement with the MILF, and the consequent Bangsamoro Basic Law.

3. Francis Jardeleza, who has had no experience as a judge in his entire legal career, his working life devoted to lucrative corporate lawyering for the country’s elite. His post at the court is a reward as being the main backup for Ombudsman Conchita Morales in their campaign to put opposition figures to jail and as Aquino’s Solicitor General; and lastly,

4. Alberto Caguioa, 56 years old, Aquino’s college classmate, his legal counsel in Malacanang for the past four years, and so clearly Aquino’s legal factotum competing with Sereno and Leonen as the justice with the least qualifications to be a justice of the highest court of the land. His legal career is so obscure that one can’t even find any information on him on the internet, except a news article about him when he was appointed to the Court last January. He replaced Martin Villarama, who strangely, or not so strangely, retired seven months before his scheduled date in August, so that Aquino could appoint another one of his boys to the Court.

That’s how Aquino has debased the highest court of the land, appointing to it the least qualified but the most willing and ready to do his bidding. And who defended Poe in the Supreme Court?

Of all people, Aquino’s Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, who is supposed to defend government agencies and not individuals. How much more in-your-face declaration of Aquino’s backing of Poe could you get?

And it is this kind of men that really allowed Poe to run for office.

How dare her?

How dare Poe debase our system for the rule of law, so that the Court would throw to the dustbin the clear constitutional provision that the highest post of the land, must be reserved only to natural-born citizens?

This essentially and philosophically means persons without an iota of doubt are members of this nation that they didn’t have to do anything to be Filipino citizens?

How dare her say “God wanted the Supreme Court decision?”

Or is Aquino now her deity?

How dare Poe insist to be President, when she, a daughter of a rich celebrity couple abandoned her nation and denounced her Filipino citizenship? (Her adoptive fathers indeed were such a rich, celebrity couple that President Marcos and Imelda, at the height of their popularity and power in 1968, were their wedding principal sponsors.) Poe then became “Filipino” so she could be a Senator, sensing that she could exploit people’s incapability to distinguish real people from the movie roles they play.

It’s even an open-and-shut case that she used the US social security number of a dead man in her first years there, a modus operandi of illegals in that country. That’s a federal offense. In the event she becomes Philippine President, the US can use that as a threat to make her act as a Washington puppet?

Who the hell does Poe think she is?

The messiah sent by God to save the Philippines?

Can anyone please tell me what particular skill or talent or wisdom she has, for her to deserve to be the nation’s President?

How dare Poe insist she can lead this land when she is the most unqualified person to ever seek this highest post?

She spent most of her working life in the US as a kindergarten teacher and in the lowest rungs of white-collar employment. What experience did she gain acting as head of the agency that rates movies and television shows for her to think she can be President of this nation of 100 million people, the 12th largest country in the world? Since when has articulateness in English – a skill Filipino immigrants to the US achieve in a few months’ time — become enough qualification for the presidency?

Even if he bungled most of his jobs, at least Manuel Roxas 2nd has had 23 years of experience as congressman, senator and Cabinet member. Vice President Jejomar Binay had engaged himself in serving the people as a human rights lawyer fighting a dictatorship in the 1970s and served as mayor of a major city for 22 years, and the last six as vice president. Rodrigo Duterte had been fighting crime as a prosecutor in Davao, then headed that city for 28 years, and by his own claim even killed enemies of society.

Poe takes us for fools

Yet Poe takes us for fools by saying that “she lacks experience in politics, yes, but also in corruption.” Utter nonsense. What would you do if you were being prepared for a heart surgery, and the surgeon told you that yes, you were his first patient, but not to worry, nobody has ever died under his knife?

This nation is going down to the dogs, and we don’t even realize it. Poe is the most unqualified candidate to run for President ever, and will be – next, of course, only to her father Fernando Poe, Jr.

FPJ may have even had a nobler purpose, to save his bosom friend, the ousted President Joseph Estrada, who begged him to run for office so he could be President and free him from jail.

Poe is just 48 years old this year. A more responsible person, one with the country’s welfare in mind would have thought: “I’ll first be vice president, or senator, or a Cabinet member for six years, so I’ll have the experience and the wisdom to be president in 2022, when I’ll just be 54.” But no, she can’t wait.

Why does she want to be President right now?

Is she thinking that giving up her US citizenship was too big a price, a fair one only if she becomes President now?

What motivates Poe?

Sheer egoism, and her tongue, after having tasted power, has become a serpent consuming her.

Or is it a classic case of foundlings, and she’s out to prove her worth, which her biological parents denied her?

Poe is very much an educated person, an Assumptionista, a UP college student majoring in development studies, and with a B.A. in Political Science in Boston College.

She knows in her heart she doesn’t have the experience to be President of the Republic, and that she, analogously, has the skill set of a nurse or even an orderly, who insists on undertaking surgery on a person lying on the table in the operating room.

But she isn’t deluded as, say Duterte’s spiritual teacher Apollo Quiboloy who has been declaring he is the Son of God. Poe knows that she is exploiting the most ignorant facets of the psyche of Filipinos who confuse her for the daughter of the mythical hero Panday, the role played in the movies so often by her adoptive movie actor father.

Indeed, in a survey I’ve cited before in a column, 45 percent of those who would vote for her picked her because she is “kind, like her father,” that she will “continue the good work of her father” and that she will “fulfill her father’s promises.”

The father here obviously does not refer to FPJ as a person but to his Panday image and other movie-screen heroes he had portrayed.

She is fooling the country and knows it. Yet she insists on running, even debasing the Supreme Court by getting it involved in allowing her to run for President, despite the Constitutional ban on naturalized citizens.

Shame on her. And on Aquino who helped her debase the Supreme Court because of his fear that he would go to jail immediately if the opposition won the presidency. Shame on Chiz Escudero, her adviser who has been using her as his path to power and wealth.

Shame on the powerful figures behind her, among them Estrada and William Gatchalian, with the former thinking that Grace’s run for the presidency is “FPJ Part II,” the winning episode, and with Gatchalian seeing it as Erap Part II.

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