SENATOR Grace Poe will get the support of Bicolanos if she decides to run for president next year, Rep. Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol party-list said on Thursday.
“I have found that many Bicolanos are drawn to her because Senator Poe is an independent senator. She is not associated with the kind of traditional politics that have marred our elections for decades such as mudslinging and name-calling, instead of the presentation of platforms,” Batocabe, a native of Albay province, explained.
He said the disqualification cases lodged against Poe at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Senate Electoral Tribunal will not deter his province-mates from throwing their support behind Poe.
Lawyer Lito David asked the Comelec to disqualify Poe because she is not a natural-born Filipino, having been adopted as a founding by Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.
Batocabe, a member of the majority coalition bloc in the House of Representatives, earlier said not all of the 250 lawmakers allied with President Benigno Aquino 3rd in the House are supportive of Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd, the standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
Region 5 or the Bicol region is considered a gold mine for votes. Based on Comelec records, the Bicol region has three million registered voters, and 2.48 million cast their votes during the mid-term elections in 2013. Poe topped the senatorial race, garnering 20 million votes.
“Senator Poe—a political outsider like her late father and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.—was a fresh alternative to the same old names and faces dominating the political landscape. She wasn’t reluctant in throwing shades either to the administration or the opposition, despite her ties to both parties,” Batocabe said.
“That independence has helped her establish a reputation as someone who can be trusted to advance the interests of common people, not political parties. She has the same traits that endeared her father to the masses,” he added.
On Thursday, the senator declined a meeting with Rep. Edgar Erice, an LP stalwart, who wanted to assure her that the ruling party is not behind the disqualification cases filed against her.
“I can personally assure you that I am not part of those who question your being a Filipino, as being maliciously peddled in the social media. Last year I was the first one who spoused the idea of a Mar-Poe tandem as the perfect team and up to now it is my belief,” Erice told Poe in a text message.
But Erice’s next message may not have sat well with Poe.
“I am sorry but it is my opinion that you are not yet ready for the Presidency but I will respect whatever will be your opinion and decisions. After all, we are accountable for whatever we say or do as public officials. We can agree or disagree on issues but I will always respect you,” he said. He showed the messages to House reporters.
Erice said Poe only said “Thank you for your heartwarming text, Sir.”
Erice said former Negros Oriental Rep. Jing Paras asked him to move for the disqualification of Poe three days before David filed a disqualification case against the senator in the SET.
“He (Paras) said we should work together in disqualifying Senator Poe. He is with VP [Jejomar] Binay. I rejected it politely,” the lawmaker said.