Vice President Jejomar Binay walks among his supporters at the Makati City hall on Monday. People gathered at the city hall grounds to show their support for the older Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, who was earlier served another suspension by the Ombudsman. (MNS photo)

Vice President Jejomar Binay walks among his supporters at the Makati City hall on Monday. People gathered at the city hall grounds to show their support for the older Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, who was earlier served another suspension by the Ombudsman. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – Vice President Jejomar Binay is raising the citizenship issue once more.

In his speech as guest of honor in the commemoration of the 200th birth anniversary of hero and martyr Apolinario “Hermano Puli” dela Cruz in Quezon province, Binay praised the hero’s loyalty to his nationality while taking swipe at those who, according to him, are encouraging someone who has renounced his Filipino nationality to lead the country.

“Mahal daw nila ang mga Pilipino. Kaya ngayon pa lang, isinusulong na nilang mamuno sa bansa ang minsang itinakwil ang pagiging Pilipino. Tama ba ito?” Binay said in front of attendees consisting of local officials, teachers, and students in Tayabas town.

Binay added that Filipinos should contemplate whether they deserve the sacrifices made by heroes like “Hermano Puli,” especially those who have pledged allegiance to another country.

“Kapuna-puna … unang-una na ang mga Pilipinong ipinanganak na Pilipino nguni’t itinakwil ang pagka-Pilipino at naging mamamayan ng ibang bansa. Mga nagsisumpa pa na kakalabanin ang kanilang inang-bayan kung kailangan dahil sa kanilang panunumpa sa ibang bansa,” he said.

Later in a chance interview with reporters, Binay was asked whether he was alluding to Senator Grace Poe who has been hounded by issues concerning her citizenship and residency. Poe has overtaken BInay in popularity surveys on preferred prospective 2016 presidential candidates.

Binay did not give a categorical answer, and instead asked the reporters if they have read the Oath of Allegiance to the United States Flag. “Bahala na kayo mag-isip doon basta’t…nabasa niyo na ba ‘yung Oath of Allegiance ng isang naturalized citizen?”

It was the second time that Binay had raised the citizenship issue without directly mentioning who he is referring to.

A day after quitting President Benigno Aquino III’s Cabinet, Binay delivered a speech explaining his move, and ended it by introducing himself as “ang inyong Pangalawang Pangulo, si Jojo Binay, na laging nagsasabi at taas-noong ipinagmamalaki ang pagiging tunay na Pilipino sa puso at gawa.”

The apparent swipe at Poe did not sit well with Sen. Francis Escudero, an ally of Poe.

“I’m just surprised that after calling Sen. Grace a friend, he comes up with this. It’s a cheap shot,” Escudero said.

On Sunday, Poe said she is ready to answer questions on her citizenship and residency.

She denied allegations that she continues to use her US passport.  In May, she said she renounced her American citizenship in 2010 before she was appointed chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

She acquired her citizenship when she stayed in the US to finish her studies. (MNS)