MANILA, Philippines – Hours after the meeting with administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, the Nationalist People’s Coalition met with senators Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Tuesday evening, August 11.
The meeting, which NPC officials say was to "get to know" Poe, was attended by at least 30 NPC members from all over Luzon. This was nearly twice the number of members who attended the meeting with Roxas in the morning.
Poe said party members were “supportive” of her, even as she repeatedly said she has yet to decide on whether to run for higher office in 2016. After all, she said, she knew many NPC members because the party supported her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr, in his presidential bid in 2004.
“Yes, I think a lot of them were very encouraging and supportive,” Poe told reporters.
The neophyte senator acknowledged the importance of the party’s support of her possible presidential candidacy in 2016.
“Sila ay kokonsulta sa kanilang liderato. Malaking bagay ang suportang ganito sapagka't ang NPC ay nationwide, at sabi ko nga marami sa kanila kasama ni FPJ noon so kakilala ko na rin. Importante din 'yung kanilang mga posisyon. Marami sa kanila, gobernador, congressmen, senador na makakasama natin kung saka sakali,” Poe said.
(The party is still in consultation with their leadership. Their support is important because NPC is [a] nationwide [party]. And as I said, many of them I've known already since the time of FPJ. Their positions are also important if I run in 2016, as many of them are governors, congressmen, and senators.)
Escudero, a former NPC member who bolted the party in 2009, said NPC’s support would help Poe’s candidacy.
“Siyempre factor palagi iyon. Wala naman siyang pera, partido, o makinarya, kaya malaking bagay ito kung saka-sakaling magpapasya siyang tumakbo,” Escudero said.
(Of course, that's always a factor. She [Poe] has no money, party, or machinery that's why this is a big thing if she decides to run.)
NPC president Giorgidi Aggabao earlier said he is certain Poe would run for president and that NPC would support her and Escudero in 2016.
While the event was mainly for “socials", Poe admitted asking local officials on what they need in their respective provinces and areas.
She said it is important to get it straight from them as they are at the grassroots level.
“Pinag-usapan namin, ano ba kakulangan na dapat magawa lalo ngayong pinag-aaralan 'yung budget at susunod na 6 na taon? Ano ba ang kulang sa airport, irigasyon, kulang sa post-harvest facilities? Kasi, alam mo, lalung-lalo [kapag] nagtitipon ang local government [officials], importanteng malaman saan tayo nagkukulang,” Poe said.
(We talked about the deficiencies that we need to address, especially now that we're studying the budget and the next 6 years. What are lacking in terms of airports, irrigation, and post-harvest facilities? Because, you know, when local government officials meet, it is very important to know where we are lacking.)
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