MANILA, Philippines – Amid continuous attacks on her citizenship and residency, presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe took the time to meet the nephew of Edgardo Militar, the person who supposedly found her in Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo in 1968.
Poe, who was in Iloilo to conduct a Senate investigation on the alleged break-in of an armed group at a radio station, took the chance to revisit the Cathedral, where she lit a candle and said a prayer – a symbolic move for some, as she continues to face the risk of being barred from seeking higher office in 2016.
On Thursday, December 10, Poe met Jun Militar, the son of Rosario “Sayong” Miltar. Sayong is the sister-in-law of Edgardo. While it was Edgardo who supposedly first found Poe, it was Sayong who took care of the abandoned infant before giving the child to Tessie Ledesma. (READ: In Iloilo, Grace Poe finds new clues to real parents)
In a press statement sent by Poe’s camp, Jun supposedly expressed sadness and anger over attacks on Poe’s foundling status.
“Nakita naman natin ang kagandahang-loob ng pamilya na ‘yan, sapagkat sila nga ang kumupkop sa akin ng mga ilang buwan. At hindi nila ako sinumbatan o hiningan ng maski na anong kapalit,” Poe said at a press conference in Iloilo.
(We saw the kindness of the family, as they took care of me for several months but they never asked me for anything in return.)
Earlier, two of Edgardo’s children volunteered to undergo DNA tests to help Poe prove she is a natural-born Filipino. While the 2 tests turned out negative, Poe is still close to the family.
While her relatives remain unknown, Poe said she is not giving up. She, however, reiterated that finding her family members is only "secondary" as she is "confident" her legal arguments would pull her through all the disqualification cases.
With this, Poe said she is willing to undergo another DNA test, as a woman from the province of Guimaras, a possible relative, approached her on Thursday.
“Ang trato ko na rin sa kanila at ang trato nila sakin ay pamilya. Kaya hindi ko man nalalaman ang aking mga kadugong kamag-anak sa ngayon, patuloy pa rin ang aking paghahanap. Gayunman, hindi naman ako nangungulila,” Poe said.
(I treat them and they treat me like family. That's why even if I don't know my blood relatives yet, I am still looking for them. Even then, I am not feeling the loss.) – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org