In A Sassy Lawyer’s Journal today you will find an interesting entry examining what ifs concerning the behavior of some of Poe’s political supporters.
The entry is an informed speculation, and one which expresses some doubts I’ve held all along.
I wouldn’t put it past Ricardo Manapat to use his office to dig up potentially harmful documents concerning FPJ. But I was and remain skeptical about the manner in which he was interrogated in the senate and the witnesses that supposedly showed Manapat up as a forger.
Manapat’s influence, if it can be called that, and his notoriety, have been built on his abilities as a researcher who finds embarassing and incriminating documents in the unlikeliest places. The main point against should have been the absolute impropriety of his having used his position to do research for political purposes. Recall how Estrada used the BIR to look into the accounts of his opponents; this would be the same thing in a different agency of the government.
From the very start, when the possibility of FPJ running for the presidency emerged, the citizenship question was already up in the air -and I heard it first from pro-Erap people, not people supportive of the administration. To my mind this means that even those for Poe in certain circles knew that they would have to tackle a potentially difficult legal question.
It helped the cause of the opposition, however, that the administration or its allies seemed more than eager to do anything and everything to disqualify Poe.
I’ll put it this way: either Manapat was lying, or the witnesses against him were lying is the common view. But what if both sides were lying? What irks me is that this is a possibility no one wanted to consider, but it is just as likely as Manapat being an out and out forger, or his accusers being of heroic stature (which they are not).
Manapat devoted time and energy and probably used his proximity to documents and authority to engage in partisan research; he may have handled whatever documents he found unethically and in violation of some regulations.
His accusers, on the other hand, were clearly well coached and faciltated the congressional equivalent of a kangaroo court. I say, a plague on both their houses.
Manapat’s zeal did incalculable harm to the archives; his accusers were fit for a Stalinist show trial. The result is a muddling of the issue to the benefit of the opposition.
Personally, I beleive the law must be interpreted with generosity. The interpretation of some lawyers goes against the principle that it is not the fault of a child if he is born illegitimate, and that the child in cases where he is not at fault should not be made to suffer, in this case, suffer from being deprived of citizenship.