Grace Poe: A name of her own?
MANILA, Philippines – She was the surprise frontrunner in the 2013 senatorial race. Even before marking her first year as a first-time legislator, Senator Mary Grace Poe already parries questions about the 2016 election.
Poe admits that the popularity of her father, the late actor and 2004 presidential bet Fernando Poe Jr (FPJ), caused her victory. Her father continues to weigh heavily on her decisions as senator. In accepting the public order committee handling police matters, Poe said she was hesitant but FPJ’s iconic portrayal of policemen and concern for cops made her take on the chairmanship.
She said, “Ang aking kapital ay ang malinis at magandang pangalan ng aking tatay.” (My capital is the clean and good reputation of my father.)
Yet the former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chief also made her own mark in the public information committee by fulfilling a campaign promise: leading the swift passage of the FOI bill.
Lawyer Nepomuceno Malaluan, lead convenor of the Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition, said being new did not hinder Poe from pushing for the bill.
“The pace at which Senator Poe shepherded the FOI bill showed that she is a fast learner both at the substantive and practical levels,” Malaluan told Rappler. “In the history of the FOI bill in the Senate, Senator Poe has faced the most number of interpellations. She has handled all of them ably and constructively.”
Poe got the ultimate baptism of fire: being interpellated by both Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Juan Ponce Enrile, the Senate’s legal eagles. Malaluan said she stood her ground but conceded in areas where she was not prepared to respond. She had no qualms about asking other colleagues to expedite interpellations.
Poe also stood out in the PDAF investigation when she systematically and incisively asked questions that revealed inconsistencies in Dennis Cunanan’s testimony. Armed with research on the TRC chief’s background, she retorted, “So even if TRC was not earning much, it could afford to sponsor a Harvard program for you?”
Besides FOI, Poe’s Free Mobile Disaster Alerts bill hurdled the Senate. Her 22 other bills include a standardized lunch program for public school students, the film tourism bill, cancer assistance for poor patients, and plain writing for public service bill. She led investigations into bombings in Mindanao and ATM fraud, and filed a resolution calling for the creation of a separate disaster agency.
Following speculation she can challenge Vice President Binay’s presidential bid in 2016 with her strong survey showing, Poe is adamant that she is not yet ready for higher office. She said FPJ’s experience of betrayal in the 2004 polls was traumatic.
Malaluan said Poe showed her capacity in accountability issues but this is not the only mark of leadership.
“The other key aspect is economic and development policy. The issue of employment and quality of work, the emerging questions on electricity price and security, the perspectives on the proper combination of state and market instruments …. These are areas where we would want to see Senator Poe’s vision and perspectives to also evolve.” – Rappler.com
See Poe's 2013 candidate profile in our election microsite.
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