LAGUNA, Philippines – Independent presidential bet Grace Poe is unfazed by the seemingly strong support for both the administration and opposition in the vote-rich province.
The presidential polls frontrunner said the residents’ reception of her on Tuesday, March 15, is a sign that the memory of her late father Fernando Poe Jr lives on.
After all, for her, political parties are not the only voters in the country.
“It’s okay kasi ‘yung mga partido hindi lang naman sila ang bumoboto. Ang bumoboto naman ay ang tao at sa tingin ko naman, sa pagtanggap ng ating mga kababayan dito, naalala pa rin nila ang aking ama at maluwag ang pagtanggap sa akin kaya ako ay nagpapasalamat,” Poe said, when asked to react to party alliances in the province.
(It's okay because the parties are not just the ones who will vote. The people are the ones who vote and I think, with the reception of our countrymen here, they still remember my father and I am thankful for their warm welcome.)
The United Nationalist Alliance is banking on former governor ER Ejercito to deliver the votes for Vice President Jejomar Binay in the province.
The Liberal Party, meanwhile, forged an alliance with the local Nacionalista Party and endorsed the gubernatorial bid of Ramil Hernandez against Ejercito, who was earlier disqualified by the Commission on Elections for campaign overspending. (READ: In Laguna, it's NP-LP vs UNA)
In 2010, Binay defeated then LP vice presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II in Laguna.
But in 2013, it was Poe who topped the senatorial race in the province with 629,571 votes.
Memory of FPJ
Campaigning without her runningmate Francis Escudero, Poe visited Biñan public market and held mini rallies in the cities of San Pedro and Santa Rosa.
As in her other sorties, Poe made sure to remind voters that she is the Action King's daughter.
FPJ overwhelming won here with 477,630 votes against then president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's 195,340 votes in 2004.
Laguna, 4th most vote-rich province, has a total of 1,675,366 registered voters for the May polls.
“Alam ko naman bakit marami sa inyo naririto ngayon...Unang-una sa tingin ko hanggang ngayon naalala pa ninyo at minamahal ninyo si FPJ. Napakaraming pelikula ni FPJ na talagang di natin makakalimutan katulad ng 'Asedillo' na dito ginawa sa Laguna at sa mga iba pang lugar sa Laguna,” Poe said in a speech.
(I know why many of you are here. First, I think until now you still remember and love FPJ. There are many unforgettable FPJ movies, like Asedillo, which were shot in Laguna and other places in Laguna.)
Poe relived some of FPJ’s movie lines in sorties in San Pedro and Santa Rosa, receiving cheers from the audience.
She also vowed to continue the “dreams” of her father for the Filipino people.
“Alam 'nyo naman bakit ko ito ginagawa. Nag-umpisa tayo noong 2013 dahil gusto ko ipagpatuloy ang pangarap ni FPJ para sa inyo,” she said.
(You know why I am doing this. We started in 2013 because we wanted to continue the dreams of FPJ for all of you.)
Aside from her father’s name, Poe said she is banking on the support of local allies from the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
“Well maraming mga NPC dito. Pero siguro hintayin na lang natin na mag-umpisa ang (kampanya para sa) local elections,” she said.
(Well, there are many NPC members here. But it's best to wait for the start of the campaign period for local elections.)
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 email@example.com