Poe defends FPJ’s ‘lack of political experience’

Natashya Gutierrez

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Grace Poe, daughter of the late action star and former presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr, says she is running to honor what her father started

GRACE POE. The daughter of late action star and former presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr addresses the crowd at the Rappler Debate in Quezon City. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda

MANILA, Philippines – What political legacy is Team PNoy candidate Grace Poe trying to continue when her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr, fondly called FPJ, had no political experience?

This was the social media question asked of Poe in the second round of the Rappler Debate on Saturday, April 13.

Poe, the daughter of the late action star and former presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr, has said she is running to honor what her father started. She defended her father who is widely known to have been cheated of the presidency by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“It’s about service and helping the people,” she explained. “FPJ, as an actor, even if he was not a politician, when he died, many said he helped a lot of people. Farmers, NPA (rebel group New People’s Army) — he never chose who to help. He put children of those he didn’t know to school. He paid for medicine for people.”

“He did all this out of love and service to the people,” she added.

Poe argued for both her and her father’s decision to run for office, saying even if one is the wealthiest person on Earth, being in the government is still the best and quickest way to help the most people.

She also clarified she was not just running for her father, but also “for the future of our children including my own.”

Financial supporters

Poe, the former censors chief, was also asked by an audience member how she plans to repay people who supported her financially in the senatorial campaign.

“People call me and tell me they want new faces in the Senate, with a different character. I think it’s clear to them since the beginning [that] they shouldn’t expect anything in exchange,” she said.

She acknowledged there will be a lot of temptations and asked the people to pray for her, but vowed to keep her father’s name clean.

“I’m not saying I’m the most righteous person in the world, but I think in the past, I’ve proven as a women, a Filipino and someone who loves the country [that I’m not like that],” she said.

Political background

Until she announced her intention to seek a Senate seat in late 2012, Grace Poe was the chief of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, a post to which she was appointed by President Aquino.

Poe started her campaign as a common candidate of both the administration Team PNoy and the opposition United Nationalist Alliance.

She later found herself in a tight spot after both coalitions asked her to choose with whom to campaign.

UNA, which counts among its leaders her godfather and her late father’s best friend, former President Joseph Estrada, eventually dropped her.

(Read Rappler’s profile: Grace Poe: UNA didn’t invite me initially)

RAPPLER DEBATE. Photo by Josh Albelda/Rappler

Rappler’s first senatorial debate, held at the Quezon City Memorial Center, is the first time a senatorial debate was held in a public place to allow voters to engage the candidates.

The debate was livestreamed online through Rappler.com and broadcast live on Radyo Natin, the biggest radio network in the Philippines.Radyo Natin has 100 stations nationwide – from Claveria and Aparri, Cagayan in the north to Bongao, Tawi-tawi in the south – which broadcasts to audiences never before reached by other radio stations. Radyo Natin is found on the FM band. – Rappler.com

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.