Poe on Neil's US Air Force stint: It's no secret
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Presidential bet Grace Poe denied allegations she hid the fact that her husband was a former serviceman of the United States Air Force.
The senator claimed Filipinos know about it and that her husband’s documents are open to the public.
Poe said the mere fact she and her husband – Teodoro Misael Daniel “Neil” Vera Llamanzares – mentioned his US military stint in previous interviews goes to show there was no deliberate attempt to conceal it.
“Kung yun lang naman ang magiging issue ay dapat hindi ko na rin naibanggit noon pa. Hindi naman iyan isang saradong dokumento, iyan naman ay alam ng ating mga kababayan,” Poe said in a chance interview in Batangas on Friday, April 8.
(If that's going to be an issue, I shouldn't have mentioned it before. It's not a confidential document, our countrymen know about it.)
The couple mentioned it in an interview back in 2013. But it was only on Thursday, April 7, that the presidential candidate first disclosed the little known fact, ever since she declared her candidacy. She also did not mention it at the time her citizenship was questioned in various bodies.
Poe said her husband is a good person, who worked hard to provide for the family.
“Hindi po ang asawa ko naman ang tumatakbo bagama’t naiintindihan ko na kailangan malaman ng bawat isa ang background ng pamilya,” Poe said.
(My husband is not the one running, although I understand that the public has to know the background of the family.)
Llamanzares has been a dual citizen of the Philippines and the US since birth, having been born to Filipino doctors studying abroad. The couple got married in 1991 and lived in the US. They lived for a year inside an air base in Washington DC.
Poe was also a citizen of both countries from 2006 to 2010, when she renounced her US citizenship before a notary public. (READ: TIMELINE: Grace Poe's citizenship, residency)
Poe earlier vowed her husband would renounce his foreign citizenship to end all questions, assuring the public there would be no "American boy" in Malacañang. But the presidential candidate has so far failed to give detailed answers when asked for updates on Llamanzares’ renunciation of his US citizenship. (READ: Grace Poe: My husband's US citizenship is 'not an issue')
Same with FVR
In defending her husband, Poe reiterated the case of several government officials – including former president Fidel V. Ramos, former Parañaque representative Roilo Golez and Transportation chief Joseph Emilio Abaya – who studied in US military schools.
“So kung sinasabi mong indoctrination, aba mabigat din yon kasi mismong pangulo din natin ay nakapag-training sa mga institusyon na iyon. Eh iniisip natin mga allies rin naman natin yan,” Poe said.
(So if you're saying indoctrination, wow that's also heavy, because a former president trained abroad. We think they are also our allies.)
The ex-military men, however, did not serve in the US military after finishing their military courses in West Point in the case of Ramos, and Annapolis, in the case of Golez and Abaya.
Reacting to Poe's statements, the spokesman of presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte said, "This is an insult to the hundreds of great officers of our Armed Forces who graduated from foreign military schools such as the US Military Academy in West Point and the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland."
Laviña added, "Just because you graduated from there (foreign military schools) doesn’t mean you have surrendered your allegiance to the Philippines.” These officers, he said, return to the Philippines to serve with the AFP after they finish their foreign military schooling.
Amid questions on her and her family's loyalty, Poe said she would not allow the Philippines to be pushed aside by any other nation, if she wins as president.
“Syempre ano pa ba ang isusulong ko, kundi ang kapakanan ng ating bayan. Kung kailangan ang ating mga allies, tutulong sila, maraming salamat pero meron tayong sarili nating foreign policy. At bilang pangulo, hindi ko papabayaan na ito ay madiktahan ninuman, kundi ng interes ng ating mga kababayan,” she said.
(Of course what else would I push for, if not the benefit of our country? If our allies are needed and they help, then thank you. But we also have our own foreign policy. As president, I would not allow others to dictate on it, only our countrymen's interests.) – Rappler.com
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