Heated race starts

10

ELECTION fever gripped the country on Tuesday as the campaign period for candidates seeking national posts started, with each presidential aspirant promising change, a cleaner government and better life for the poor.

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The three-month election campaign got underway with four presidential bets standing a genuine chance of succeeding President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

Since emerging from dictatorship three decades ago, the Philippines has seen its political scene dominated by elite families, celebrities, the corrupt and the violent, who have contributed to almost constant chaos.

Those factors are once again dominant themes in this year’s contest for the presidency, as well as the thousands of national and local posts up for grabs in the May 9 elections.

MANILA LAUNCH Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero at their proclamation rally in Plaza Miranda, Manila. PHOTO BY DJ DIOSINA

MANILA LAUNCH Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero at their proclamation rally in Plaza Miranda, Manila. PHOTO BY DJ DIOSINA

Sen. Grace Poe, the presidential front-runner, an inexperienced politician riding a wave of popularity among the tens of millions of poor Filipinos, promised a government with a heart.

Poe, 47, only launched her political three years ago when she entered the Senate, but has enjoyed huge success by basking in the name of her father–the late action star Fernando Poe Jr.–while portraying herself as a reliable, honest advocate of the poor.

She is facing several disqualification cases before the Supreme Court because some groups and personalities believe that she is not a natural-born Filipino, a requirement for presidential aspirants.

In her speech at her kick-off rally, Poe, a foundling, said like ordinary Filipinos, she also underwent struggles and oppression.

“Despite all these, I stand before you today as a Filipino, a woman who knows how to fight bullies and oppressors, a leader with a heart that loves our country and people. It is from the people that I draw strength so I may serve them truly and effectively,” she told the 6,000 spectators who attended her rally at Plaza Miranda in Manila’s Quiapo district.

The senator vowed that her Gobyernong may Puso (government with a heart) will strengthen the economy to create jobs for all, provide sufficient classrooms, teachers and books to schools from kinder to college and ensure the safety of Filipinos anywhere and anytime.

“My fellow Filipinos, who daily endure the city traffic, the long lines to the MRT [Metro Rail Transit], and unreliable public transportation, your Gobyernong may Puso will provide real solutions to our infrastructure problems, instead of laying blame,” she said.

“I will never betray your trust. I will never turn my back on what my parents taught me. I am Grace Poe, and in our Gobyernong may Puso, you are my family,” the senator added.

Poe was joined by her running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, and members of her senatorial slate except for Edu Manzano, former senator Juan Miguel Zubiri and Sen. Ralph Recto.

Before proceeding to the rally that started at 5:30 p.m. she, accompanied by her husband Teodoro Daniel Llamanzares and son Bryan, dropped by Quiapo Church (the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) to pray.

“The story of my life started inside a church. It is fitting that I should launch the next chapter in front of a church,” Poe said.

She was abandoned inside a church in Jaro, Iloilo province in central Philippines and was adopted by actors Fernando Poe Jr. and Susan Roces.

Poe’s campaign manager Cebu Rep. Ace Durano said inclusive growth and transparency are the “major themes of the campaign.”

He added that the core of Poe’s slogan “Galing at Puso” is inclusive growth.

“Because we saw that the economy improved, but we still saw that poverty incidence, those of us who are in poverty, did not change. So, the government with a heart will focus on programs not only to sustain the economic growth but also to spread the economic benefits,” Durano said.

He added that one of Poe’s first actions, if elected, will be to push for passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

“[A]nd even before the bill is passed, Senator Grace has said that she will issue an Executive Order that will implement already the substance of FOI,” Durano said.

WITH REINA TOLENTINO AND AFP

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10 Comments

  1. Why is she still in the running? Im sorry to say that It’s clear from the constitution that she cannot be a president. Why is the constitution being manipulated??

    And…

    Why would you vote an ex-american citizen? her heart is not pure Filipino anymore and will always have america’s interest.

  2. Yes, it is indeed misleading. Maybe a deliberate article to condition the mind of the voters. In the slide photos on the headline, Duerte’s camp is not shown. Why?

  3. Is there a heated race? The winner is Grace Poe by a long shot. Mar Roxas was a good contender but his boss Pinoy vetoed the SSS increase. By that veto, all seniors will not vote for Mar and all liberal party candidates. That is the main reason Poe ratings went up by 10 percentage points. These are the seniors changing their votes from Mar to Poe.

  4. MDS – BBM team deserve to be leader of our nation. As MDS reiterated in her speech, she will put all corrupt government official in Jail.. May nasabi ba sila Poe, Binay na ganito.. Wala .. so sila rin ang magprotekta sa Aquino adminstration para hindi makulong sila roxas, binay at abnoy.. Malinaw na ipakukulong lahat ni Merriam Defensor Santiago ang mga corrupt officials ni abnoy from Roxas, to binay and abnoy. Ito ang gusto naming marinig… Ito ang unang mahalaga ang ipakulong ang mga abusadong corrupt government officials, para hind pamarisan at matigil na ang pagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan…GO GO MERRIAM DEFENSOR SANTIAGO AND BONG BONG MARCOS JR. SILA LANG ANG MALINIS ANG PANGALAN NA WALANG CORRUPT ..

  5. Binay gave the most concrete, doable, and down-to-earth promises to the masses. Makati is a rich city and the dwellers got a slice of these riches. The Phillipines is rich, but other than the Makati residents, the rest of the populace only got the crumbs from their local governments, and from their senators and congressmen. All are robbers, but could we have at least one Robinhood in the pack?

  6. Walden Mendoza on

    I want to choose the candidate that i know who’s willing to help with heart and will take a hard time to solve all the struggles in our country. For me that was Sen Grace Poe.

  7. this country needs Grace Poe because she’s the only one who’s serious about passing the FOI bill. The rest has done nothing all these years to help it be passed but Grace Poe did.

  8. What kind of a headline is this? It is very misleading. The article is all about the kick-off of Poe’s rally. What about the other candidates? Maybe the headline should read:
    “Poe-Escudero’s Kick-off Rally at Plaza Miranda”?

  9. Binay will promise all the impossible things for he knows that if he will not win the presidential elections, he will go to jail because of his corrupt wealth in the billions of dollars hidden in Canada. How can you eliminate the income tax when it is here where the whole Binay family got their wealth? The Binay family made billions of pesos/dollars and cheated their income tax returns. The whole family at the end of six months will be jailed by either Santiago or Roxas. Binay chose his kickoff speech before slum dwellers in Welfareville Compound in Mandaluyong because this is the group that he gave a can of sardines, a liter of rice, a soup, P500 and a Jollibee dinner in return for their votes. Binay thought that they are the bobotantes who sell their votes for what they received during this occasion. Let us continue to pray to save the Philippines from the corrupt Binay family.

    Watch out readers: This will soon be deleted by the columnist or MT because they don’t want anything negative about the corrupt Binay family.