‘Tao Po!’ Grace stuns rivals, vaults to the top

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By Llanesca T. Panti Reporter

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IF there was one big surprise from Monday’s elections, it was the way Team PNoy Senate bet Grace Poe-Llamanzares leaped to the top of the Senate race.

Even Llamanzares did not see it coming, since Sen. Loren Legarda had consistently topped pre-election surveys.

The former chief of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board believes that her ‘Tao Po!’ campaign ad helped her gain votes.

In her campaign advertisements, Poe is seen knocking on the door of a house, saying “Tao Po! Si Grace po!” before citing her platform of providing the basic needs of the poor. The ad ends with her saying “Sige po, aalis na po ako.”

The ad not only hammers her surname in the voter’s mind, but shows that the daughter of Action King Fernando Poe Jr. is respectful.

In the last three weeks of the campaign, Llamanzares appeared in a campaign ad with her mother, Susan Roces, asking her about her platform and how she intends to implement it. Llamanzares still used the words po and opo.

“The po and opo political advertisement drove the message home because its shows deep respect for parents and elders, the traits Filipinos are known for,” Llamanzares said over a radio interview in dzRH.

As of press time, Llamanzares had garnered 14.5 million votes, more than a million votes ahead of perennial survey leader and veteran lawmaker Legarda, who had 13.3 million votes.

But while Llamanzares is a political neophyte, her campaign was run by grizzled veterans: Sen. Francis Escudero and Sen. Serge Osmena 3rd.

“I never even dreamed of this. What I wanted was to enter the Top 12 in memory of my father. That’s what I prayed for,” Llamanzares added.

Llamanzares’ late father lost to President Gloria Arroyo in 2004, but Mrs. Arroyo admitted in 2005 that she had a phone conversation with election official Virgilio Garcillano during the canvassing of the 2004 polls. Mrs. Arroyo denied she rigged the results.
Poe died in December 2004 due to aneurysm.

“This is FPJ’s victory for all those who doubted his victory back then. FPJ’s win is also the fulfillment of his dream to be able to help the poorest of our countrymen,” Poe said.

Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd of the Department of Interior and Local Government said that while Llamanzares’ domination of the Senate race looked improbable, Llamanzares clearly has what it takes to be a topnotcher: A good name, responsibility and honesty.

In fact, Llamanzares eclipsed the votes that her father got in the 2004 polls (11 million).
“Grace carried herself very responsibly, respectfully, very wisely.

She participated in debates, she made her stand on issues known. She did not mince her words. When she didn’t know answers, she admitted it. But when she knows it, she speaks about it,” Roxas, the president-on-leave of the ruling Liberal Party, pointed out in a separate interview at the Team PNoy headquarters in Makati.

“In 2004, FPJ got roughly around 11 million votes. So that’s her first capital. If you voted for FPJ, there’s no reason for you not to vote for Grace. She built on this 11 million votes on her own,” Roxas added.

“My advice to her is to stay humble. Just do your work. Don’t demand for any committee. At the end of the day, it is the quality of your work that will have weight,” Roxas said.

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