DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – Presidential bet Grace Poe took a swipe at Vice President Jejomar Binay, her closest rival for the presidency, over the issue of her inexperience in government.
In a forum with college students at the University of Pangasinan in this city, Poe defended her limited experience in government. She said a person does not need to have long professional experience to be president.
“Totoo, bago lang ako sa gobyerno, pero di naman kailangan na ilang dekada na sa gobyerno para maging pangulo,” Poe said on Friday, February 12.
(It’s true that I am new in government, but one does not need to have stayed long in government to be president.)
"Kasi ang issue po ngayon ay 'yung mga kakayahan at karanasan sa pagtatrabahuhan, ‘May karanasan ka ba sa pamamahala, sa pamumuno?’ [At sasabihin], ‘Oo! Ako ho ay teacher!’ Ano naman ang relasyon ng teacher sa pamumuno? Ang karanasan at kakayahan sa pagka-teacher ay para sa teaching profession,” said Binay.
(The issue at hand is competence and experience for the position. It's not like asking, 'Do you have experience in governance, in leadership?' [And the response is] 'Yes! I was a teacher!' What is the relationship between being a teacher and leadership? One's experience and competence in teaching is for the teaching profession.)
In response, the neophyte senator said: “May nagsabi pa, ‘Ano'ng experience ni Senator Poe? Eh teacher lang 'yan.’ Di ba yung mga teachers ang nagtuturo sa atin?"
(There are those who say ‘what’s the experience of Senator Poe? She’s just a teacher.’ But aren’t teachers the one who are teaching us?)
"Hindi ba n'ya naisip na di s'ya makakarating sa kanyang pinaroroonan kung hindi sa mga teachers na kanyang pinagdaanan? Kung meron nga nakakaintindi sa ating kababyaan ay mga guro," Poe said in a separate press conference.
Poe reiterated her inexperience could be a good thing amid corruption issues in government. Binay and his family are facing plunder charges for alleged overpriced Makati City hall buildings, among others.
“Pero pag sinabi nilang kulang ang karanasan ni Senator Poe... Totoo! Kulang ako sa karanansan…sa pagnanakaw at pangungurakot, at hindi ako agnanakaw at nangungurakot,” Poe said. (But if they say Senator Poe lacks experience... It’s true! I lack experience…in stealing government funds, and I am not a thief.)
Poe replied similarly on Thursday to students in Ilocos Norte when she was asked about her limited experience.
On Friday in Dagupan, a visibly irritated and feistier Poe added: “Kaya sa inyong lahat, matapang ba si Senator Poe? Pinalaki akong matapang, pero pinalaki akong 'wag maging mayabang. Okay lang na matapang kayo, blackbelter din ako sa taekwondo, pero di ko naman pinagsisipa ang lahat ng nasa harap ko.”
(To you all, is Senator Poe brave? I was brought up to be brave but not boastful. It's ok if you are brave, I’m a blackbelter in taekwondo but I don’t kick those in front of me.)
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email email@example.com