Sen. Grace Poe is expected to announce on Wednesday a run for the presidency, and analysts say she could ride her father’s popularity to a stunning win despite little political experience.
Poe, 46, has been a senator for just over two years and faces legal challenges over her nationality. But her status as the daughter of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. makes her a serious wild-card chance, they said.
Her spokesman released a statement on Tuesday stating Poe would the next day “make an important announcement in connection with her plans for the [May] 2016 national elections.”
The advisory said Poe is expected make her announcement at 6 p.m. at the University of the Philippines Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman, Quezon City.
The office of Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero also sent a media advisory that he too will make an announcement at Club Filipino in San Juan City (Metro Manila) on Thursday morning.
“Senator Chiz Escudero will make an announcement on September 17, 2015, 10:00 a.m., at the Kalayaan Hall of Club Filipino,” the statement read.
Escudero is widely believed to be Poe’s running mate in next year’s elections.
Poe’s aides refused to say if it would be the long-awaited confirmation of a presidential run but the national media and political analysts said she definitely would.
“Grace Poe is clearly serious in gunning for the presidency. She has formed a campaign team comprised of her father’s former supporters,” Louie Checa Montemar, political science professor at Manila’s De La Salle University, said.
But analyst Ramon Casiple said she could defeat the two major candidates in next year’s elections–Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd.
“She has the critical mass required for a serious run for the presidency as well as the possibility of winning it,” Casiple added.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd, who is required by the Constitution to stand down after a single six-year term, has named Roxas as his preferred candidate.
Poe is an independent politician but is expected to secure the support of a major party that is currently part of Aquino’s ruling coalition.
Belmonte: I was invited
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., the vice chairman of the Liberal Party who is reportedly backing the senator, disclosed also on Tuesday that he was invited to attend Poe’s D-Day.
“I am invited. That’s my district. Still, dito muna tayo [sa Kongreso]. May session tayo [But
I would be here in Congress first because we have a session],” Belmonte, who represents Quezon City’s Fourth District where the UP campus is located, told reporters.
“But I don’t believe it is a proclamation. It is just her addressing the people, and I was invited out of courtesy because the venue is in my district,” he said.
But in an interview Monday night, according to Belmonte, “I might actually go.”
He clarified that lawmakers are free to go to Poe’s UP event but that they should attend the plenary session first.
“They don’t need to secure permission to go there, but we should stick with doing our duty first,” Belmonte pointed out.
But the Speaker, a seasoned politician, is not putting Poe in the front seat at this point despite the favorable surveys.
“This is just the beginning. A lot of things can happen in eight months. We’ll know if the candidates are carrying a load of explanation or a record of what they have accomplished.
If I were the candidate, I will treat all my opponents as formidable. That’s the best stance,” Belmonte said. “You can’t be complacent.”