PAMPANGA, Philippines – Will you welcome an endorsement by former President Gloria Arroyo?
It was a straightforward question asked of presidential candidate Grace Poe on Thursday, March 31, in the jailed president’s home province of Pampanga. But the neophyte senator did not give a categorical answer.
Poe said she would rather not discuss political endorsements, as the best person to ask is the politician involved – in this case, Arroyo, who allegedly cheated her father Fernando Poe Jr in the 2004 presidential election.
She then reiterated she would be fair in dealing with both her allies and opponents.
“Ayokong pangunahan ang pagsabi kung sino ang mag-i-e-endorso, sino susuporta. Baka mamaya magpalit ng isip, mapahiya pa kami pare-pareho. Eh ito naman ay dapat boluntaryong ibinibigay. Salamat kung sino man, pero para sa akin ang aking plataporma: kaibigan ka man o kaaway, kailangan patas ang pagtrato sa iyo sa batas at sa ating bansa,” Poe said in a chance interview in Angeles City.
(I do not want to get ahead and say who is endorsing and who is supporting me. They might change their minds, and we all get embarassed for it. This should be voluntarily given. Thank you to whomever, but for me, my platform is this: whether you’re a friend or an enemy, the law should treat your fairly.)
A reporter again asked Poe the question, but she just reiterated what she said:
“Ganito na lang: sa kahit na sino, tanungin ‘nyo na lang ‘yung tao muna kasi mahirap namang magkomento na wala namang pahayag maski na sino. Basta ang masasabi ko lang – at ito siguro ang concern ng ating mga kababayan: kaibigan man o kaaway, patas ang pagtrato sa mata ng batas sapagkat iyan ang nagiging problema, kapag ikaw ay kaalyado, may tulong ka; kung ikaw ay kaaway, baka may kaso ka pa.”
(Let us put it this way: to anyone, just ask the person first because it’s hard for me to comment without anyone saying anything. All I can say is, and I think this is the concern of our fellowmen: whether you’re a friend or enemy, the law should treat your fairly because that’s where the problem starts: if you’re an ally, you get help; if you’re an enemy, you face cases in court.)
In 2005, Poe returned to the country from the United States and was a key personality in anti-Arroyo protests, especially after the “Hello, Garci” controversy, wherein Arroyo was supposedly heard ordering an elections commission to make sure she had a 1-million lead over FPJ. (READ: TIMELINE: Grace Poe’s citizenship, residency)
During Poe’s provincial visit on March 1, she told Kapampangans that FPJ did not raise her to be “vengeful.”
The former president is now facing plunder charges and has been detained for almost 5 years. Despite their history, Poe earlier said she would not meddle in the cases involving Arroyo. (READ: Grace Poe: I’ll let courts, doctors decide on Gloria Arroyo)
Arroyo is believed to be backing the candidacy of Vice President Jejomar Binay, Poe’s closest rival. However, her key ally and childhood friend in Pampanga, Governor Lilia Pineda, has endorsed Manuel Roxas II, Arroyo’s former trade and industry secretary. (READ: Arroyo to allies: Help Binay win)
Despite local politicians endorsing her rivals, Poe remained confident she would get good results here. She is banking on leaders at the municipal and barangay levels to push her candidacy.
“Okay naman. Sa atin namang pag-iikot mainit pa rin ang pagtanggap ng ating mga kababayan. Sa mga lumabas na pag-aaral sa preference ng mga botante dito eh okay naman po tayo,” she asserted.
(It’s okay. In our rounds here, we are still warmly welcomed by the people. In preference surveys here, we fare well.)
It was the second time she visited the province since the official campaign began. Pampanga is the 11th most vote-rich province in the country with more than 1.2 million voters. – Rappler.com