“Electoral mayhem”

Frontrunner Grace Poe barred from Philippines’ presidential race

Philippine Senator Grace Poe in Manila on December 2, 2015. read (JAY DIRECTO/AFP/Getty Images)

Election officials in the Philippines have blocked Grace Poe from running in the 2016 presidential race over questions surrounding her citizenship. A seven-member Commission on Elections ruled that Poe, who is currently tied for the lead in polls, failed to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen — a required status for all presidential candidates. Poe, now 47, was abandoned as an infant on the steps of Iloilo City, and later adopted by the popular Filipino actor Fernando Poe Jr. The nationality of her birth parents cannot be confirmed.

Poe renounced her citizenship in 2001 after moving to the United States with her husband, but later returned to the Philippines and claimed dual Philippine-U.S. citizenship. Last month, the Senate Electoral Tribunal affirmed Poe’s citizenship, but the case is on appeal at the Supreme Court. The move to block Poe from the race may also be subjected to a Supreme Court ruling. “I’m a true Filipino who has lived in our country for more than 10 years,” Poe said in a statement. “I trust that the Supreme Court will favor the truth and the people’s right to choose their leaders.”

Poe’s disqualification threatens to throw the country’s presidential elections into chaos. “A scenario in which people end up voting for Poe just to see her irreversibly disqualified is bound to create more commotion, if not electoral mayhem,” Richard Javad Heydarian, an assistant political science professor at De La Salle University in Manila, told Bloomberg. “Given her popularity, there’s bound to be a backlash.”

Read the full story at Bloomberg.

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