Sen. Grace Poe on Tuesday said her closest political ally Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero will not run as vice president if she decides to run for the same position in the 2016 elections.
”Senator Chiz told me from the start that if I will run for vice president or other position, he will not run for the same position,” she disclosed.
Poe said Escudero, her campaign manager during the 2013 senatorial race, really wanted to help “and I want to thank him.”
The senator, however, clarified that there is no invitation yet from the Liberal Party (LP) for her to be the running mate of resigned Interior Secretary Manuel ‘Mar’ Roxas 2nd.
”It’s difficult to say whether I’m open to run with Roxas when in fact there is no invitation really,” Poe said.
Before President Benigno Aquino 3rd announced his endorsement of Roxas last Friday, the President and Poe had met several times to discuss the 2016 elections.
Poe has clarified that there was no direct offer from the President regarding the ruling LP’s plan for her in 2016.
Majority of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) has reportedly been pushing the Poe-Escudero tandem in the 2016 polls.
Escudero was the spokesman for Poe’s father, Fernando Poe Jr., in the 2004 presidential elections.
Poe and Escudero are the top favorites among the possible presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively, based on the latest surveys.
The two senators, however, are yet to announce their political plans in 2016.
Meanwhile, Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd said members of the NPC remain undecided whether to support Poe or Vice President Jejomar Binay in the presidential race.
”Some of our members are for Sen. Grace Poe while others are for the Vice President,” Sotto said in an interview.
No stopping Grace
Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao, acting NPC president, said Poe will definitely run for the presidency in 2016.
“From what I have gathered and what I have been told, she has made up her mind to run for President. It’s immutable. That can’t be changed anymore, same for Senator Chiz [for Vice President]. We believe that they will not only continue good governance. They will make it flourish,” Aggabao told reporters.
“The NPC will be supporting Senator Grace Poe and Senator Francis Escudero when they do declare their bid for higher public office. We will use the entire apparatus and infrastructure of the party to advance the candidacy of Senator Poe. She has the credentials, good education, fine intellect… and she has no political baggage. If you juxtapose these with her liabilities, you will even have a political surplus. She will make a good President,” he added.
No Duterte vote
But Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also on Tuesday said he will not vote for Poe as he took a jab at issues surrounding her citizenship.
“Grace Poe is my friend and like many of you, I like her late father, the actor Fernando Poe Jr. If you will vote for her because you like her father and you like her, go ahead. But I will not vote for Grace Poe because my vote goes out to someone who is a Filipino,” he added.
And, according to Duterte — sounding with utmost certainty — Poe will “not be able to prove that she is indeed a natural-born Filipino.”
“She was a foundling and she would not be able to prove that she is a natural-born Filipino,” he said, adding, “I am not supporting a foreigner President of the Philippines.”
Being adopted by a Filipino family does not make one a Filipino.
“She became a Filipino because she was adopted by Susan [Roces] and Fernando Poe Jr.,” Duterte said. “Grace Poe is a foundling, who was her father? Her mother? A Filipino? We will never know. But if you want Grace, it’s up to you. She’s my friend, too, but I cannot give my vote for her. We may end up having an American President.”
Poe stayed in the United States for many years and finished college there.