SENATE President Franklin Drilon on Monday claimed that the Ilonggo roots of Sen. Grace Poe would not help in getting the support she needs for her presidential bid.
Besides, Drilon said, Iloilo province will carry candidates of the administration.
He made the statements a day before Poe, her running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, and the senatorial bets running under their coalition, Partido Galing at Puso, visit the province, the known birthplace of Poe.
Speaking during the weekly Pandesal forum at Kamuning Bakery, Drilon also claimed that Iloilo, with a total of 1,347,514 registered voters, will carry Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd and his running mate Leni Robredo.
“I don’t think that it would have any impact on the votes in Iloilo. The administration has shown support for Western Visayas for the past five years,” he said, when asked if he thinks Poe’s roots will help her get votes from the province.
Poe was found abandoned by a local churchgoer in the holy water font of the Jaro Metropolitan Cathedral when she was an infant.
She was later conferred the sacrament of confirmation by then-Jaro Archbishop Jaime Sin, who would later become one of the country’s democracy icons and the most famous archbishop of Manila.
It was Sin who convinced the family that found Poe, to allow the child to be adopted by movie stars Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) and Susan Roces, who had no children of their own.
Several individuals who also claimed to be her relatives have come forward and offer their DNA samples to somehow help the senator identify her parents.
But the samples all turned out negative.
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago who is also from Iloilo, should also not expect getting support from her province mates, because, according to Drilon, Iloilo will be solidly behind the LP candidates.
Poe’s spokesman, Valenzuela City (Metro Manila) Mayor Rex Gatchalian, expressed confidence that the platform of governance of the senator will help in drawing more people to support her.
“We respect his [Drilon] opinion but we do not agree with it. Sen. Poe will continue to engage voters throughout the country to explain her platform of governance revolving around gobyernong may puso [government with a heart],” Gatchalian said.
He noted that Poe’s camp still believes that justices of the Supreme Court (SC) are impartial and will decide on the disqualification cases against Poe based on merits.
Gatchalian was reacting to The Manila Times article (February 15 issue) about Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno reportedly banking on Poe’s victory in the May 2016 elections in order for her to secure her judicial post.
A source of this paper from the Supreme Court(SC) said Sereno might lose her post if any of the other presidential candidates–Roxas, Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of the PDP-Laban–wins the elections.
The source added that SC Justice Antonio Carpio’s dream of becoming Chief Justice has better chances with Roxas or even Duterte as President.
“That is speculative. We believe all the good justices of the Supreme Court are wise and impartial, they will decide based on the merits,” Gatchalian told The Manila Times.
The tribunal is still conducting oral arguments on Poe’s disqualification cases and is expected to come up with a decision in March.
Escudero believes that the 15-member tribunal will not go beyond its 2004 decision that declared Poe’s father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., whose citizenship was also questioned when he ran for President at the time.