Makabayan formally endorses Grace Poe, Chiz Escudero

MANILA, Philippines – The Makabayan coalition on Thursday, November 5, formally endorsed the candidacies of presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe and her running mate, Senator Francis Escudero.

While Makabayan executive vice president Teddy Casiño said the bloc only decided on Wednesday, it was an expected move, as Poe and Escudero had endorsed the coalition’s senatorial bet, Bayan Muna party list Representative Neri Colmenares, in September.

The leftist bloc was all praises for the tandem, saying they have long worked with the two senators.

“Kapuri-puri ang aktitud ni Grace at Chiz ng pagiging bukas sa mga puwersang progresibo. Habang maraming mga puntos sa aming plataforma ang nagsasalubong, alam namin na may mga puntos ng pagkakaiba sa kanila. Ipagpapatuloy ng Makabayan ang pakikipagtalastasan sa kanila para paunlarin pa ang mga punto ng pagkakaisa at pagtutulungan para sa ikabubuti ng masa at ng bansa,” Makabayan president Satur Ocampo said in an event held in Quezon City Thursday.

(Grace and Chiz’s openness towards the progressives is admirable. While there are many similar points in our platform, we acknowledge there are also differences. Makabayan will continue to dialogue with the two so we can build on our unity and cooperation for the benefit of the masses and the country.)

In a symbolic move, Poe and Escudero also signed an alliance with the coalition, with a 9-point agenda to “address the needs and goals of the country.”

The Makabayan bloc is composed of the following party-list groups: Sulong Katribu, Migrante, ACT Teachers, Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Kabataan, and Piston.

In defense of Poe’s citizenship, capabilities

The bloc, widely known to be pushing for nationalistic ideals, defended the neophyte senator amid citizenship allegations against her.

While Makabayan continuously hit President Benigno Aquino III and administration standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II for being supposed strong US allies, it said Poe, a former US citizen, is a true Filipino because of her pro-poor platform.

Makabayan stands by the presidential polls front runner, even as critics say Poe lacks the experience to lead the nation.

“Higit sa usaping legal, ang plataporma ni Poe sa maraming usapin ng mahihirap at ng bansa ay mas Pilipino kumpara sa programa at record ni Pangulong Aquino at Mar Roxas na sagad sa pagpapakatuta sa US,” said Liza Maza, vice president of the coalition.

(More than the legal aspect, Poe’s platform on poverty and the masses is more Filipino than the program and record of President Aquino and Mar Roxas, who are the ultimate lapdogs of the US.)

Poe is facing at least 4 disqualification cases before the Commission on Elections, all on her presidential bid in 2016.

In just 3 years in office, the bloc said Poe had pushed for the passage of the controversial Freedom of Information bill and the Senate investigation on the botched Mamasapano operation.

Poe, for her part, said the coalition has been with her since 2005, during their fight for the supposed victory of her late father Fernando Poe Jr in the 2004 presidential elections.

“Walang duda na ang tatlong taong panunungkulan ni Grace Poe bilang mambabatas ay mas namumukod kung ikumpara sa walang binatbat na record ni Aquino bilang kongresista at senador," Maza said.

(No doubt that the 3 years Grace Poe served as a legislator is more distinct than the record of Aquino as congressman and senator.) – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

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 camille.elemia@rappler.com

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