Grace Poe: I’m not hurt by Aquino’s attacks

Camille Elemia
Grace Poe: I’m not hurt by Aquino’s attacks
The presidential bet also defends her stand on the need for surface-to-air missiles, which the President criticized in front of local leaders

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Presidential bet Grace Poe on Thursday, March 31, said she is not hurt by the accusations hurled at her by no less than her friend, President Benigno Aquino III.

As the election draws near, Aquino has become more direct in attacking the neophyte senator and her capability to lead the nation.

Despite this, Poe said she still respects the President – the person who opened the doors of government service to her.

“Hindi ako nasasaktan. Yes, I continue to respect him. Kung gusto man nila pumili ng issue na titirahin tayo, siguro kasama ‘yan ng kanilang stratehiya,” Poe said in a chance interview in Angeles City. (I am not hurt. If they want to choose an issue to attack me with, maybe that’s part of their strategy.)

Aquino met with Poe several times to convince her to run for vice president under the Liberal Party. They, however, failed to reach an agreement.

The President endorsed Manuel Roxas II as administration standard-bearer.

“Kaya nga siguro ‘yun ang kanyang piniling kandidato, meron kaming mga di pagkakapareho ng solusyon para sa problema ng ating kababayan,” she added.

(Maybe that’s why he chose that candidate because we have differences in the solutions to the problems of our fellowmen.)

Inexperienced Poe

All of Aquino’s criticism of Poe fall under one umbrella – the neophyte senator’s supposed inexperience.

In his speech on Wednesday night in Caloocan, Aquino scored Poe for her military strategy, saying her proposals need further study. The President also criticized Roxas’ other rivals.

During the 2nd presidential debate in Cebu, Poe hit the administration for setting aside the surface-to-air missile program of the military in favor of purchasing protection gear and firearms.

“Alam po ‘nyo, gusto ko lang idiin: Kalokohan makikipagsabayan sa tinatawag na arms race dito sa dambuhalang bansang ‘to,” Aquino said. (You know, I just want to emphasize: It’s foolish to try to catch up with the arms race with this giant country.)

“Madali pong sabihin: Dapat mayroon tayo niyan. At sa totoo lang, kaya natin bumili. Pero malayong-malayo pa tayo sa, alam ba natin kung ano ang bibilhin natin, at sa lahat ng mga kasagutan sa tanong. Pero pag nagsalita po ‘tong kandidatong ‘to, akala mo naman e napag-aralan na ang lahat ng aspeto tungkol sa usaping ‘to,” he added.

(It’s easy to say: We should have that. In reality, we can buy that, but we are still far from it. Do we know what are we buying and all the other answers to questions? But when this candidadte talks, it’s as if all aspects of this matter have already been studied.)

But Poe, in defense, said the idea of missiles originally came from the military’s “wish list” and the Aquino administration.

She asserted other countries could not easily threaten Singapore because they know the tiny nation is well prepared.

The senator then likened the need for missiles to a police having guns mainly for protection purposes.

“Sabi nga, ‘di ba, pader man ang ating kabangga, meron namang wrecking ball, ‘di ba, may sinasabi…. Pero katulad niyan, ang mga pulis natin ay may baril; hindi naman para barilin lang kung sino pero para may proteksyon din tayo. Alam mo, ‘yung proposal naman na ‘yan na missile galing din naman ‘yan sa kanila. Sila naman ang nag-disapproved din niyan,” she said.

(They say, we may be against walls but there’s a wrecking ball…But look at this, our police have guns not just to shoot anyone but also to protect us. You know, that missile proposal also came from them. They were also the ones who disapproved it.)

She added there’s nothing wrong with the matter, as it could make Filipinos feel safe and secure in their own land.

“Sinasabi ko lang naman ‘yan ay nasa listahan ng AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) ‘yang missiles na yan, di lang natuloy. Sayang naman dahil meron naman tayong deterrent measures rin. Eh ‘yung mismong administrasyon na ‘to bumibili rin naman ng 12 fighter jets na hindi naman natin bobombahin ‘yung maski na anong basnsa. Pero nasa atin na rin palagay ang ating loob na meron tayo kung saka sakali lamang,” she said.

(All I’m saying is the missiles is in the AFP list, it just didn’t push through. It’s lost chance because we also have deterrent measures. This administration also buys 12 fighter jets but it does not mean we are going to bomb just any country. But it’s up to us so that we can feel secure that we have such equipment if ever.) –

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a former multimedia reporter for Rappler. She covered media and disinformation, the Senate, the Office of the President, and politics.