Grace Poe defends son over alleged lavish shoes

DAGUPAN CITY, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe defended her son Brian Llamanzares from social media attacks over his alleged lavish taste.

The Instagram post of Llamanzares wearing a supposed Limited Edition Nike Air Mag circulated on social media. His post has since been deleted. Critics alleged that a pair costs more than a hundred thousand pesos.

SHOES. Screenshot from Brian Llamanzares' Instagram account. This has since been deleted

SHOES. Screenshot from Brian Llamanzares' Instagram account.

This has since been deleted

Poe on Friday, February 12, said her son bought the shoes out of his own money, as he had a job before helping in her campaign. Brian was a neophyte reporter for a television network before he took a leave of absence in August.

Asked by reporters, Poe said she asked Brian about the issue when it first came out on social media.

“Basta galing sa pinaghirapan mo, pinag-ipunan mo hindi mo naman ninakaw at siguraduhin mo naman na hindi naman labis-labis at ‘yung sa kanya naman matagal din nang pinag-ipunan din ‘yun. ‘Yun lang naman ‘yung sa kanya,” she said.

(As long as you worked hard for it and you bought it using your earnings, and you did not steal, and you are sure it’s not overly excessive, it’s fine. He saved for that purchase for a long time.)

Poe admitted she was not in favor of her son’s purchase but as a mom, Poe said she just lets him enjoy what he likes.

“Ako hindi sang-ayon dun pero masaya s’ya e ‘di payagan natin (I did not agree with the purchase, but he’s happy so I just let him be),” the senator said.

Spare my family

Poe appealed to her critics to spare her family from controversy, something seen as unlikely in a hotly contested presidential race.

The pork barrel controversy years back invited public scrutiny of high-profile government personalities and their family members who posted on their social media accounts about their lavish lifestyle.

The daughter of alleged pork barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, Jeane Napoles, posted photos of her extravagant cards and designer bags. 

Poe said she is saddened that her family is being dragged into controversies.

“Syempre bilang nanay, personally sinasabi ko naman na hindi naman yata tama ‘yun, pero sasabihin ng iba kasama na nga ‘yun sa pultika pero sana huwag na kasi, unang-una, pribadong mamamayan, pangalawa hindi naman pondo ng iba. S’ya na mismo ang nag-ipon para doon at siguro balikan naman ‘yung kanyang maliit na kinikita e kaya din naman ‘yun,” she further said.

(As a mother, personally, I don’t think that it’s right to drag them to politics. Others would say it’s part of politics but I hope they won’t be included. Because first and foremost, they are private citizens. Secondly, he did not use public funds to buy the shoes. He saved for that purchase, and let’s look back at his measly salary, he was able to buy that.)

Rumors aren’t true

Llamanzares, for his part, dispelled rumors that his pair of shoes cost more than a hundred thousand pesos. He said he bought the pair online for P10,000 from his own savings.

But some sneakerheads or shoe afficionados claim this is unlikely, saying the pair is a limited edition and one needs to go through a bidding process to secure one.

“The shoes did not cost as much as the rumors claim it to be. I bought it online at P10,000 from my own savings. It did not come from government funds as I am a private citizen and not working as a public official,” Brian told Rappler in a message.

With this, he said he hopes to put an end to the issue.

“I used my own hard earned money. I hope that these rumors and lies are finally put to rest,” he added. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, 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 camille.elemia@rappler.com

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