I AM astounded by people who actually believe that Grace Poe is the next President that this country needs.
I mean unless, of course, you actually believe the current President when he says that his governance has meant great improvements in our lives as Filipinos. Unless you believe the President when he says that his government has changed the economy, fixed unemployment, improved education. Unless you believe the President when he says that his matuwid na daan has been the answer to all our problems as a nation, that it has solved poverty and hunger and injustice. That truly, kung walang corrupt, walang mahirap.
If you believe the way this President has been making us believe that he has done so well, then yes, it makes sense that you love Poe and believe her worthy of being the next President.
The more important question then is why you believe PNoy at all. Pray tell, how can one continue to be blind to the real state of the nation?
Poe is using the rhetoric that is so painfully familiar at this point: it is the words that we’ve heard PNoy use countless times to describe himself and his brand of governance. Only the blind, deaf, and dumb would believe that rhetoric.
But Poe is one to employ it still, something that I’m surprised her mentor/best friend/kuya/ running mate Chiz Escudero has yet to change. Because Escudero would know – believer of surveys as he is – that there is a majority for whom PNoy’s words have meant a more difficult life, more poverty, more hunger, more need.
Grace and the BBL
Ah, but Chiz is letting her be, it seems. As this bit from the Koronadal, South Cotabato speech of Poe reveals, as transcribed by stuartsantiago.com from a youtube video now a dead link.
“Ikinagagalak ko po na isa sa nagawa namin, kasama ni Senator Chiz, na dumaan at dumadaan na po ang BBL sa senado, gaya nga po ng sinabi ni Senator Chiz, ang mga probisyon dito ay kailangan nating pangalagaan. Maganda nga po ang national roads niyo dito pero nasabi din sa akin ni Senator Chiz na marami pang kailangang gawin sa mga provincial roads.”
Ano raw?!? So the Bangsamoro Basic Law is about … better provincial roads?
At the press conference, a transcript of which is posted on Poe’s Official Website, it gets even more confusing – or actually, it’s quite revealing – that she knows too little to even take a very clear stand about the BBL.
First, she mentions the BBL after being asked about what Senate’s priorities would be once it opens its next session: “Marami ang pwedeng maging prayoridad halimbawa na lang siyempre ang budget para sa susunod na taon si Sen. Chiz ang magsasabi ng kabuuan niyan pero ang BBL nandiyan rin po, nandiyan din po ang pag-uusap sa BBL. Ako naman po may isinusulong din katulad ng yung para sa anti-carnapping na kailangan nang maipasa at pabigatin ang batas ukol diyan.”
So the budget, BBL, and … carnapping? How’s that for priorities. Fourth on her list is the Freedom of Information Law. Fourth! It might explain why it has yet to be passed, yes?
Grace On the opt-in provision
Asked point-blank by a supporter about her stand on the BBL, Poe then revealed that in fact she does not know enough to take a stand. For starters, she speaks of a “we” who disagrees with certain provisions; it is unclear whether that refers to her and Escudero, or her and the other members of the Senate. She continues (all sections in bold mine):
“Nabanggit nga ni Senator Chiz kanina, huwag tayong mamimilit ng mga ayaw sumama at isa pa, napakahalaga kasi na yung plebesito na mangyayari diyan, kung magkakaroon ng ganun ay pag-aaralang mabuti. Unang una, malinis ba talaga yung halalan na yan kung magkakaroon ng plebesito para diyan. Pangalawa, yung mga kasapi ba, yung mga miyembro ba ng komunidad na yun naiintindihan nila yung mga issues? Dapat talaga merong mga proper… parang mga lecture, parang mga kunyari public information para diyan.”
Speaking about the opt-in provision approved by Congress, Poe raises issues such as whether or not the plebiscite elections for the opt-in will be clean and credible, and whether or not people are well informed about the issues that surround inclusion into the Bangsamoro. But all of that can be fixed, yes? There are ways of making a plebiscite credible, ways of informing communities about issues.
But there are many things wrong with the opt-in provision, least of which is whether or not its contingent plebiscite will be credible. Hilario Davide Jr., convenor of the Peace Council created by Malacañang itself, said in April: “The core Bangsamoro territories should not be allowed to increase indefinitely by the periodic votes of 10 percent of registered voters in the outer territories <…> The establishment of a plebiscite that fixes the territory is a congressional prerogative that cannot be delegated. A perpetual opt-in provision makes the Bangsamoro territory indefinite and keeps the organic act in constant flux.” (GMANetwork.com, 25 May)
Grace: Flip-flopping already?
She continues: “Kaya hindi ako sigurado dun sa opt-in. Merong isa nagsasabi kung meron mang ganyan ay siguraduhin talaga na ayusin natin ang proseso para masiguro na walang dayaan at pangalawa, dapat meron ding opt-out. May mga sinasabing ganun. Hindi ko sinasabing yun ang sa akin, pero isa yan sa dapat pag-aralan na merong trial period like five or ten years tapos merong opt-out din depende sa sitwasyon.”
So … is she, or isn’t she for the opt-in provision in the BBL? If all these words are any indication, she seems to be for it, given a credible plebiscite and information dissemination, given an opt-out option and trial period. But no, she says, “Hindi ko sinasabing yun ang sa akin.”
Eh ano nga ba ang sa kanya?
Well, we still don’t know that. And as with many things in relation to this candidate, we know nothing about where she stands, and what work she can and is willing to do. It’s not even a matter of experience at this point. It’s a matter of studying before going out into the world and facing difficult complex questions about the nation.
But then again, as stuartsantiago.com says, baka hindi pa tapos ang tutorial with teacher Chiz.