INDEPENDENT presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe has called on Filipino voters to choose a leader who will not only make them secure but will also respect their rights.
In her speech during the grand campaign finale of her party Partido Galing at Puso held in front of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene at Plaza Miranda in Manila’s Quiapo district on Saturday, Poe said the insensitivity of the Aquino administration and its disinterest in listen to cries of the people seemed to have forced the electorate to accept anyone who who claims to bring solution to their problems in a very short time at any cost.
But Poe warned the people against such candidate who could threaten democracy and deny millions of citizens their rights and freedom.
“Nakakatakot isipin na may posibilidad na kung saka-sakali man merong magbabanta sa ating kalayaan na ‘pag tayo ay may masabing mali o ‘pag tiningnan lang tayo nang mali o meron tayong ikinilos na hindi ginusto ay pwede tayong ipaligpit [It is worrying to think of the possible threat on our freedom where we can be eliminated just by saying, expressing or doing things they don’t like],” she said.
The senator noted that those who are usually victimized by such leadership are the poor people who do not have resources or “connections” that can defend them.
Poe did not name the presidential candidate she was describing, but it was obvious that the senator was referring to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who has been promising the people that he will kill criminals, without due process, and that he will establish a revolutionary government if government institutions would refuse to follow what he wants.
The independent presidential candidate admitted that there are a lot of things that needs to be fixed and if she is given a chance to be President, she will immediately attend to the problems but she will come up with humane ways in solving the ills of the nation.
“I may not look tough nor I show off like some of my rivals, but I have enough courage to protect you,” Poe told the cheering crowd.
Poe said her “Gobyernong may Puso” (Government with a Heart) will fight anyone who will thwart the will of the people or threaten to take away the Filipinos’ hard-won democratic rights.
The senator admitted there were times when her political opponents had made life so hard for her that she wondered how she could go on.
“But seeing the poor struggle to rise above poverty, hearing the dreams parents have for their children, feeling the frustrations of the working Filipino, I know that the fight is worth it,” she said.
According to the senator, it is the people who gave her the strength to push through and finish the campaign and not give in to any political maneuverings.
“Mga kababayan, mahal na mahal ko kayo dahil sa kabila ng pintas, sa kabila ng paninira, sa kabila na nakita nyong ako’y hindi perpekto, kahit na ako’y isang pulot, hindi nyo ako hinusgahan. Ang binigay nyo sakin ay pagtitiwala [My countrymen, I love you very much because despite the insults, attacks and my imperfections, even if I am a foundling, you did not judge me and you gave me your trust],” an emotional Poe said.
She disclosed an invitation by the ruling Liberal Party (LP) to forge an alliance with its standard-bearer, Manuel Roxas 2nd, in order to beat what it considers a looming dictatorship.
While she believes there is a need for unity, Poe said she will never abandon her promise of a more caring government for all Filipin os and will never agree to support a political party that tried to stop her from seeking the presidency.
The senator recalled that it was the administration that lodged legal obstacles to her presidential bid every step of the way in an attempt to disqualify her from the race.
“Mga kababayan, hindi ako nagyayabang. Narito ako, pinepresenta ang aking sarili, ang aking plano, para kayo ang mamili at hindi lamang sila na mga may kaya at may makinarya [My countrymen, I’m not being arrogant, I’m here presenting myself and my plans for you to have an option aside from those who have the machinery and resources],” she said.
Poe’s running mate Sen. Francis Escudero, in his speech during the even, told voters to choose the President that they want and not to leave the decision to the elite who think that they can influence the outcome of the May 9 elections.
Escudero said, for him, Poe is the only hope for Filipinos because he believes that a leader like his fellow senator can really inspire the people and bring out best in everyone.
“I want a President that inspires us. I want a President that brings out the best in every Filipino,” he added.
Escudero said a Poe presidency will declare poverty as “Public Enemy No. 1” and make poverty eradication a top priority.
“Under her presidency, Senator Garce vowed to eliminate hunger, not the hungry, put an end to poverty, not the poor people,” he added.
Escudero said he could never be more proud of their supporters and the entire Partido Galing at Puso team for carrying out a decent, hate-free and issue-based political campaign, despite a well-orchestrated game plan to attack Poe.
“There’s nothing for us to be ashamed of because we have run a good and decent campaign, while our rivals did nothing [other than]attacking Sen. Grace” he added.