If there is anything in Sen. Grace Poe that can resonate with me in a personal or emotional way, it is her family name and origins. Although her father, the late movie king Fernando Poe Jr., was born in Manila, his native roots were traced to the village of Kawayan Kiling in San Carlos City, Pangasinan, where his similarly iconic father, Fernando Poe Sr., and other ancestors were born. It was also there where I was born.
If I feel a certain kinship with the Poes, it is because we share a common origin. It is also because they had brought honor to our hometown by their larger-than-life achievements in their acting career.
I have nothing personal against Senator Poe but I find a few abomidable things against her, paticularly in her public posturing as a potential presidential candidate. Despite her avowals of integrity and noble intentions to make a difference in the lives of the country’s poor, she turns me off with her offensive air of aloofness, intellectual arrogance and, above all, her overweening presidential ambition.
Poe was a political non-entity when she first entered politics in the 2013 national elections. When she topped the senatorial race in that poll, the germ of a presidential dream grew in her mind.
Her rise to No. I in the surveys on voters preference for president in the 2016 elections, bypassing erstwhile leader Vice President Jejomar Binay, further buoyed up her self -confidence and resolve to seek the presidency.
The senator should realize that if there is a groundswell of support from the people, it is because her legions of fans and admirers see her as godsend for avenging the loss of her father in the 2004 elections against those who cheated him of the presidency which he had really won.
The political instincts of Senator Poe tell her that the forthcoming 2016 national elections is her best chance to run for president and win. In her calculating mind, she feels that if she waits for the 2022 elections, her political charm could have lost its gloss. Besides, younger politicians with similar presidential aspiration could have surpassed her in popularity to offer a strong challenge to her presidential goal.
Poe saw her presidential ambition in clearer shape when Sen. Chiz Escudero started cozying up to her and offering his support if she runs for president. Actually, Escudero has his own vice presidential objective and he was hitching his wagon to a star to ensure his victory in the coming poll.
Poe could not have found a worthier running mate than Escudero, who has been scoring high in the vice presidential surveys, and could have told him that they run together as a team. Thus was born the much-touted Poe-Escudero tandem which, many people believe, was forged on a tacit understanding that neither one should leave the other (walang iwanan) whatever happens.
Poe started to become enigmatic, probably by design, proclaiming that she has not yet decided on running for president but this is betrayed by her body language showing sha has all but done everything to promote her top political interest. How can one miss her real intent when she said she feels comfortable with Escudero as her running mate. If Escudero is her running mate, who could be Chiz’s senior partner if not Poe herself?
How can she explain her going around the country with Escudero on the pretext of feeling the pulse of the people but which many people see as an early poll campaining? And what is her interest in accepting invitations to meet with members of tha Nationalist People’s Coalition if not to win their support for her presidential candidacy?
Poe began making decisions unfettered by personal, family and political relationships. She forestalled attempts of President Aquino, who gave her political stardom when he got her into the LP senatorial ticket in the 2013 elections at which she topped the senatorial race, to convince her to be the running mate of his anointed presidential candidate Mar Roxas by simply telling him she was still weighing her options in the 2016 elections. She has kept him and the public on tenterhooks over her answer to the President’s offer.
In her last meeting with Roxas at which she was formally invited to become the interior secretary’s running mate, Poe said there are many candidates to choose from and that there is no need to wait for her decision. Roxas was flabbergasted when Poe told him that she was being stabbed in the back by people in the Liberal Party, probably referring to the filing of complaints questioning her citizenship and residency qualifications as a presidential candidate.
True, there are other candidates for the vice presidential slot under Roxas, like Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo and Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto, but the administration coaliton still wants Poe to run under the Roxas ticket.
The LP has strong strategic reasons for keeping Poe within the party, saying that a presidential run by the senator could divide administration votes between her and Roxas and effectively yielding the presidency to opposition candidate Binay of the United Nationalists Alliance (UNA).
Ineveitably, Poe’s pursuit of the presidency will lead to the disintegration of the LP-administration coalition. In fact, the NPC under business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuanco, which is allied to the administration party, has been eyeing Poe as its presidential candidate.
Some members of the Nacionalista Party, also part of the administration coalition, have also indicated their support for Poe. The split of the administration coalition will put at risk Roxas’chances of winning the presidency.
The price of excessive ambition can be karmic. Poe should realize that she still has to reckon with some serious questions about her citizenship and residency qualifications as a presidential candidate. The legal issues against her could still spoil her presidential dream.