Supporters urge Grace Poe: You are the chosen one
MANILA, Philippines – It was an event meant to celebrate the 76th birthday of the late action king Fernando "FPJ" Poe Jr, but it inevitably doubled as a platform to convince his daughter to seek the presidency in 2016.
The family and supporters of the late actor gathered at the FPJ mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery on Thursday, August 20 to mark his birthday. Outside the mausoleum were posters, videos, songs, and other campaign materials for Senator Grace Poe's purported presidential bid – reminiscent of FPJ and his legacy.
While Poe has remained coy about her political plans, the actions and words seen and heard at the event gave possible answers.
“There’s truly a people’s clamor for a people’s candidate. All we have to do is really organize ourselves and 100% we are confident that she will answer the call of the people," said Wainwright Rivera, chairman of the GP2016 movement.
Rivera said they made the campaign materials in their own capacity, while Oscar Valera of the Great Peoples Movement for Progress (GPMP) said Poe knew about the campaign materials they released.
“Our objective, of course, is to convince Senator Grace Poe to run for higher office,” said Valera.
The mass officiated by Father Larry Faraon also turned into a form of endorsement for the neophyte senator's possible bid.
In an apparent swipe at Poe’s critics, Faraon said in his homily that Poe is not adopted but is, instead, “chosen.” (READ: Susan Roces on Poe's critics: 'How dare they!')
“Kaya sabi ko sa inyo, si Senator Grace ay hindi ampon, siya ay pinili nila Susan at ni Da King. Pinili ng sambayanan at pipiliin pa sa 2016 (That’s why I’m telling you, Senator Grace was not adopted, she was chosen by Susan and by FPJ. She was chosen by the people and will still be chosen in 2016),” Faraon said.
Although it is still unclear whom he is supporting, former president now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada – FPJ’s best friend – teased the public on Poe’s political future. (READ: Why was Erap a no-show at Binay's party launch?)
Estrada had earlier refused to categorically say whom he is supporting in 2016, as Vice President Jejomar Binay, his ally in the United Nationalist Alliance, has openly declared his intention to run for president.
In his remarks at the event, Estrada said, “Siyempre ang kanyang anak na ating susunod na – susunod na (Of course, his child who is our next, our next)," then trailed off to leave a blank in his sentence, which was quickly filled in by the audience.
"Presidente!" the audience shouted, eliciting a "thank you" from Estrada.
Poe, however, denied Estrada’s presence is a show of support for her. After all, Estrada and her father were best friends.
“Ang ating pangulong mayor ay nandito unang-una dahil ang Manila Cemetery ay nasa kanyang bayan o lugar pero higit sa lahat syempre kaibigan nya si FPJ. Minsan iba kami ng pulitika, pero ang pagiging magkaibigan nandoon pa rin. Nirerespeto namin ang kanya-kanyang desisyon sa pulitika,” Poe told reporters after the event.
(Our president-Mayor is here primarily because the Manila Cemetery is in his city. But most importantly, he is here because he is a friend of FPJ. Sometimes we have different views in politics but our friendship remains. We respect each other’s decisions in politics.)
The presence of other political personalities added color to the event, among them, Manila and Biñan City councilors, Batangas Vice Governor Mark Leviste, former Parañaque representative Roilo Golez, and former Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr, who was FPJ’s lawyer.
Earlier this week, Poe released an advertisement aired on both television and radio for FPJ’s birthday.
Asked if this was a sure sign of her candidacy, Poe said the ad’s intention was to “remember and celebrate” the life of FPJ. – Rappler.com
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