MANILA, Philippines – In an apparent swipe at critics, presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday, February 9, said her "dramatic" life echoes the plight of other Filipinos.
As she launched her campaign, Poe used the very criticism her opponents had been harping on.
Poe said her dramatic life – as a foundling and as a Filipino who became an American citizen and then reacquired her citizenship – enables her to share the sentiment of those who underwent pain, hardships, and judgment from other people.
“May nagsabi pa nga na sobrang madrama daw ang buhay ko. Marahil nga ay madrama ang buhay ko dahil, tulad ng karamihan sa ating mga kababayan, may pinagdaanan akong hirap at pait; at inapi at minaliit ngunit bumangon at lumaban sa kabila ng mga unos at bagyo ng buhay at tadhana,” Poe said in her speech at their proclamation rally at Plaza Miranda in Manila.
(There are even those who say that may life is just too full of drama. Maybe my life is replete with drama because, like the majority of Filipinos, there are difficulties that I have to struggle with, I have been oppressed and belittled, but I rise to fight again after each battle, after the passing of each storm of my life and fate.)
Administration standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II alluded to Poe in his recent political advertisement. In that ad, Roxas took a swipe at presidential candidates “who are full of drama.”
“Drama nga siguro ang tawag nila dito subalit realidad at tunay na buhay ko ito... katotohanan ito na araw araw pinagdadaanan ng marami sa ating mga kababayan,” Poe said.
(They may well call it drama, but this is my real life. It is the reality that many Filipinos live with every day.)
Poe, a foundling, was adopted by movie royalties Susan Roces and the late action hero Fernando Poe Jr. In 2013, she topped the senatorial elections with over 20 million votes.
"Gamit ang mga prinsipyo at katangiang ito, ako po ay tumatakbong pangulo ng bansa upang tumayo at ipaglaban lahat kayo na madrama ang buhay, na may hugot at pinagdadaanan," Poe said, with reference to another term used by Roxas in his recent ad.
(Armed with these qualities and values, I am running for the presidency of our country, so that I may stand and fight with all of you whose lives are full of drama, whose daily pain and struggles are drawn from long experience.)
Now as she treads the path to the presidency, Poe is facing the risk of disqualification over citizenship and residency issues. Her natural-born status is being questioned on two grounds – that she is a foundling and that she swore allegiance to the United States in 2001. (READ: TIMELINE: Grace Poe's citizenship, residency)
Poe said she made it past through all the hardships she experienced – a form of hope as she continues to face the risk of being barred from running in the 2016 elections.
“Sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, Ako ay nakatayo sa harap ninyo ngayon bilang isang Pilipino, isang babae na marunong lumaban at makipag laban lalo na sa mga mapang-abuso, isang lider na may puso at taglay na pagmamahal para sa ating bansa at mga kababayan na siiyang nagbibigay sakin ng lakas upang kayo ay pagsilbihan ng malinis at wasto,” Poe said.
(Despite all these, I stand before you today as a Filipino, a woman who knows how to fight bullies and oppressors, a leader with a heart that loves our country and people. It is from the people that I draw strength so I may serve them truly and effectively.)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org