Grace Poe open to 2016 run, but haunted by betrayal of FPJ

Fritzie Rodriguez
Grace Poe open to 2016 run, but haunted by betrayal of FPJ
(Updated) The senator finds herself in her father's footsteps. She's being eyed to beat a frontrunner candidate in the same way that FPJ was eyed to beat then President Gloria Arroyo

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe used to respond to her rising survey numbers with a dismissive smile and her soft laughter. Not this time.

In the wake of the release of a November Pulse Asia survey showing a surge in her poll numbers, Poe said she is scared but she’s not closing her doors to seeking higher office in 2016

Sa totoo lang, mas lalo ako nababahala. Ang trabahong ‘yan ay hindi biro. Hindi ‘yan para sa hindi handa. Hindi ko masasabi, pero marami kasi talagang hindi naman pinaplano ‘yan,” Poe said on Wednesday, December 10. 

(The truth is, it scares me even more. The responsibility is not a joke. That job is not for those who are not prepared. I cannot really say, but things like this are not planned.)


Poe added: “Ngayon lamang ay nag-iisip akong mabuti. Hindi para sabihin na oo kung hindi para siguraduhin na kung saka-sakali ay handa ako sa anumang bagay, kahit na manatili dito sa Senado na sa tingin ko ay karangalan na para sa akin.” 

(I’m already thinking hard about it. It is not to say yes, but to be ready for anything eventually, including the option of staying in the Senate, where it is already an honor to be in.)

She said she doesn’t think she’s ready for the big responsibility and she’s afraid of the experience of her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr, who ran in the 2004 presidential elections but was in the end betrayed by the same people who egged him on to run. 

What would persuade her to run? Ayokong sabihin ang tipping point baka kasi gawin nila,” she said, laughing. (I do not want to divulge my tipping point. They might do it.)

Betrayal of FPJ

The latest Pulse Asia survey on preferences in the presidential race shows Poe jumping from 10% in September to 18% in November 2014. This puts put her numbers closest to frontrunner Vice President Jejomar Binay, who suffered a decline from 31% to 26%.

Poe has been eyed by some sectors to become the administration’s candidate in 2016. Talk was further fueled after she was invited to the Liberal Party (LP) Christmas party

“Marami doon tumulong sa akin doon noong kampanya, mga galing sa probinsiya na hindi ko pa nakakausap mula noong eleksyon. S’yempre pagkakataon nang magpasalamat, pero wala talagang binanggit tungkol sa 2016. Ang pinag-usapan namin ni Presidente ay ang pelikula ng tatay ko. ‘Yung isa doon, Walang Matigas na Tinapay sa Mainit na Kape,” she said.

(Many of those who were invited to the party helped me during the campaign. They came from the provinces and I had not talked to them since the elections. Of course it was my chance to thank them, but there really was no mention of 2016. The President and I only talked about my father’s movies, one of them being Walang Matigas na Tinapay sa Mainit na Kape.)

Based on the “Hello, Garci” poll controversy in 2005, FPJ was believed to have been cheated by Arroyo to win the 2004 presidential elections. A wiretapped conversation shows Arroyo calling a poll commissioner to asssure her lead against Poe. Poe finds herself in her father’s footsteps. She’s being eyed to beat a frontrunner candidate in the same way that FPJ was eyed to beat then President Gloria Arroyo, who benefited from the ouster of his friend President Joseph Estrada. 

In 2005, Newsbreak also reported break-ins at the Batasan Pambansa to switch election returns (ERs) with fake ones to Arroyo’s victory.

It was meant to cover up the massive – and messy – cheating done during the actual canvassing of votes. The ERs were the subject of an election protest filed by FPJ, who died in December 2004.

Siguro kakaiba lang kasi ay ang pinagdaanan ng tatay ko. ‘Yun ang unang-una. Sariwa pa sa isip ko ‘yun. Hindi naging madali. Maraming kaibigan sa umpisa, pero pagdating na sa pangangailangn, nawawala. Masakit ‘yun,” she said.

(My dad went through something different. That’s the foremost reason [I’m having second thoughts]. It’s still fresh in my mind. It wasn’t easy. There were friends at the start, but when you really needed them, they were nowhere to be found. That was painful.)

She added: “Unang-una, hindi naman talaga niya pinangarap. May mga nagtulak sa kaniya. Sa bandang huli, sila pa mismo ang sumaksak sa kaniya sa likod. Pangalawa, wala naman akong makinarya. Katulad ng tatay ko, wala akong partido. Pangatlo, sy’empre katulad ng tatay ko, hindi naman ako ganoon katagal sa gobyerno. Ang tatay ko nga wala pang experience. Lahat ‘yan makukumpara natin,” she said.

(First, he didn’t aspire for it. He was just egged on by some people. In the end, they were the ones who stabbed him in the back. Second, I don’t have a machinery. Like my dad, I don’t have a political party. Third, like my dad, I haven’t been in government for long. My dad came in totally without any experience. You can compare us on all these things.) 

UNA warns Poe vs LP

Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance warned Poe against the LP, however.

UNA president Toby Tiangco reminded Poe that the Vice President was the true ally of FPJ. 

“We are truly happy for Grace, because we are the true allies and supporters of her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr. The Vice President was still Makati mayor when he was put in charge of the overall campaign management for FPJ’s 2004 presidential campaign,” Tiangco said in a statement on Wednesday, December 10.

Tiangco is counting on Poe to instead run for vice president, citing her statements that she may not be ready for the presidency. 

He also reminded Poe that LP was allied with Arroyo during the 2004 elections, and were therefore part of the conspiracy to cheat Poe. 

“These are the same people na nanlait kay FPJ noon. These are the same people na ayaw pabuksan ang mga Election Returns noong canvassing sa Congress. If Grace believes that her father was cheated and that caused his death, I don’t know how Grace feels when she sees these faces,” he added.

(These are the same people who berated FPJ then. These are the same people who prevented the opening of election returns [to prove the cheating] during canvassing in Congress.)

It’s like 2013 senatorial elections once again when the Liberal Party and Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) fought over FPJ’s daughter. Poe started out as a common candidate of LP and UNA but Binay’s camp eventually dropped her in its senatorial slate when she would not commit attend UNA sorties. She still finished first. –

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