trustestatelogoa.jpg (8498 bytes)


Lectures &

News $ Views

Law &



Trust Products
& Practice

About the Guru


Email Feedback

Guest Register









FPJ is natural-born Filipino

(Article published in the Jan 19,2004  issue of TODAY, Business Section)  

What’s the matter with you, Atty. Victorino X. Fornier,?  Why do you seek to prevent the panday from becoming president of our blissful republic on the basis of something he had nothing to do about?  Could he have done anything about it any more than you could have for being the brother of Andresito?

 Question his competence, character, or, charisma, if you wish, but certainly not the circumstance of his birth. Everyone knows he cried when he was born.  He cried in protest, “cut, cut”, because the nurses were taking too long with his umbilical cord. 

 But I think I know what drives you, Vic.  Your middle initial betrays it.  Your ideas come from your idol Congressman Ex Javier.  Only he can concoct such a preposterous excuse for disqualifying FPJ for the race for the Philippine presidency, just as only he should be blamed for the bankers’ woes under Comprehensive Tax Reform Law.  Just ask Topper Coronel and Mike Andaya.

True, Section 2 of Article VII of the present Constitution states that “no person may be elected president unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines…” That rule has long been with us, we have had that since 1935, we have been following it blindly and religiously (with our special brand of being religious).  It is an antique and that is the reason why it could only come from the Congressman from Antique.

In my view, “natural-born citizen” should be given as much concern as legislators give to the constitutional provisions on the responsibilities of a citizen, as drivers conform to the speed limits on our highways, and as busses pay attention to the yellow lanes on EDSA drawn by Bayani Fernando.

Lawyers tell us that a natural born citizen is one who is Filipino at birth.  Hence, the issue is not whether FPJ is a citizen, but whether he was a citizen when he was born. They say that only to show that the FPJ spokesmen are out to confuse the issue.

But what is wrong with that?  This is the season of election, and election is confusion.  More so this season.  We have a president running for president who only months ago she said she would rather run the country.  We have a vice presidential candidate running in the opposition ticket of a party that is opposing itself.  We have an administration roll of candidates which includes opposition figures.  We even have Raul Goco working against Raul Roco.  If you want to take sides, you see Raul.

At any rate, what is the true meaning of “natural-born”?  Take the word “born”.  It is cognate of “borne”.  In 1935, the only way one could be “born” was to be first be “borne” in a mother’s womb.  But that was scientific millenniums ago.  Nowadays, we are not too far away from seeing one from a female egg fertilized by a male sperm in a test tube and nurtured in a laboratory for the period it takes to develop intrauterine. Would that person be “born” is he was not “borne” in a human womb?

Besides, why require citizenship only at the time of birth?  If being citizen from the beginning is so essential, then the fertilized egg must be a citizen.  And since the point of reference will then be the time when one was still an egg, then the correct legal terminology is not “natural-born”, but “natural-hatched”.

And who is to say now what is “natural”?  Once upon a time, every came into this world through the opening provided by nature.  That is natural.  But, nowadays, whenever an obsterician wants to travel to Europe or see a child studying in the States, he or she is under great temptation, for reasons of time or money or both, to recommend a caesarian operation to deliver the baby.  Is that natural?  Natural for the obsterician, maybe; but going through a corridor cut by man and by-passing the hallway where the story began may not be.

The only way to get us out of this legal mess caused by Fornier and Javier is to go to the root of the problem, and go deep, like the native kamote.  We should go to the massa, the grass roots, and pose the question, “was FPJ, who is undoubtedly a Filipino, born”?

The unanimous answer, I bet my writer’s fee, will be “natural!  That’s it.  FPJ is a natural-born Filipino.  We can then all go on with the show, this cinema called “Philippine democracy”, a government of kamotes, by kamotes, and for kamotes.