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boholano-thumb“I am Grace Poe. A Filipino. A daughter, wife and mother. And with God’s grace, I offer myself for the country’s highest calling as your President.” This is how Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares ended her speech at the U.P. Bahay ng Alumni in Diliman, Quezon City on September 16 as she launched her campaign for President of the Philippines in the national elections in May 2016. She delivered her speech passionately in Filipino. And provided an English version in the Internet.

Her father’s political heir. She opened her speech with this political reminder.  “When I first asked for your help [as a senatorial candidate in 2012] I said that I wanted to continue that my father FPJ had started. His decision to seek the presidency [in 2004] was anchored on a simple principle. 11 years ago, in this very same hall, he declared that he wanted to help the poor, fight oppression, and forge a prosperous and just society.”

She recalled that her great actor father, Fernando Poe, Jr. often told her: “Gracia, poverty is not a destiny….  But to get out of poverty, one’s own hard work is often not enough. Everyone needs a helping hand. Shouldn’t this be the measure of a responsive government and society – how it uplifts everyone and leaves no one behind?”

Madalas n’yang sabihin sa akin: Gracia, Ang kahirapan ay hindi iginuhit sa palad dahil nasa kamay ng tao ang pag-unlad. Pero sa kanyang pag-ahon, hindi sapat ang kanyang sariling kayod, kailangang may kamay na humihila sa kanya. Di ba’t yan naman ang sukatan ng magandang pamahalaan at lipunan – Lahat ay aangat, walang maiiwan!


So, Grace Poe promised: “Lahat ay aangat. Walang iiwanan!” A responsive government and society uplifts everyone and leaves no one behind.

“Our country is rich–in natural resources, our people’s knowledge and skill, and our heroism. Xxx How can one not be amazed by the daily triumph over struggles of our countrymen?

“We should push for true reforms that will achieve inclusive growth, global competitiveness and transparent government. Any progress we achieve as a country should be progress for each one of us, without exception. Any preferential bias should be for the poor and vulnerable.

So she enumerated what she would do in (1) education; (2) agriculture; (3) infrastructure; (4) “Tuwid na daan,” curb corruption, pass the Freedom of Information bill; (5) lower high taxes; (6) fair wages and benefits; (7) lower cost of electricity, and improve power generation; (8) take care of our OFWs; (9) eliminate drugs and crime; (10) peace and progress in the country—equal opportunities to the Moros  who inspired many of my father’s films;  (11) respect human rights; (12) everywhere improve health and have hospitals;  (13) protect our West Philippine Sea;  (14) improve traffic and save time and human energy;  (15) have more roads and trains all over and remove colorum vehicles; (16) improve access to the internet for all; (17) give more government help to the arts, culture, and sports; (18) have a separate Emergency Management Department to face the reality of climate change; (19)  provide sufficient infrastructure for tourism; and  (20) provide standard lunch program in all public schools.

“No Filipino and no region should be left behind. We will rise and progress together as one nation.

“When my father ran for the presidency, he was ridiculed; his inexperience was scoffed at and his citizenship questioned. Yet he bravely faced the challenge and the opportunity to help change the lives of his fellow Filipinos for the better.


“His integrity, courage and goodness have become both my guide and inspiration. My mother also gave me sound advice. She said, “My child, amidst the loud noise of politics, never ever lose yourself.”


“My life is an open book. Who would’ve thought that a foundling would ever become senator? I thank you for giving me that opportunity.

“Don’t ever forget that Filipinos are a very able race. We are loving, creative and resourceful.

We can achieve whatever we want for this nation if we work hard, be vigilant, and make sure we have an honest person to guide us through our journey.


“We should stick together, because one person cannot bring about this change. Anyone who promises he alone can do it is already lying.

“The story of our future lies in all our hands. I hope you will join me in crafting a bright and meaningful future for our motherland, the Philippines.”


Vindicating her father’s honor and capitalizing on his reputation as “Da King” of Philippine cinema. Fernando Poe, Jr. ran for president in 2004 against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the Vice-President who succeeded President Joseph Estrada when he was forced out of office by “People Power Two” in 2001. Although FPJ was first leading the surveys he later lost popular support when he showed his inability to become president in the campaign, for he had not held any public office and was irritable. He finally lost to President GMA.

But Grace Poe Llamanzares topped the senatorial elections in 2013 her first election to public office as a Liberal Party candidate. She proved an amiable and capable candidate. And she proved  a worthy senator when she chaired the Senate investigation of the tragic encounter at Mamasapano, Maguindanao in January 2015. And she has led the surveys of potential candidates for president in 2016. In fact, President B.S. Aquino III and Secretary Mar Roxas were anxiously courting Grace Poe to be the Liberal Party candidate for Vice-President.

Having been an American citizen, Grace Poe’s citizenship qualification is being questioned. The Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 18, reported “Netizens on Poe: More jeers than cheers for now.”  

Senator Francisco “Chiz” Escudero is Senator Grace Poe’s running mate. As well known political partners, Chiz announced their joint candidacy on September 17 at the Club Filipino. Parroting Senator Grace Poe, Senator Escudero said: “I am Chiz Escudero, a Filipino, a son, a husband father, and a Bicolano public servant. With the grace of God and the Blessed Mother, I humbly offer myself to the mission of serving you as your Vice-President, as the Vice-President of our country.”

“Partido Pilipinas.” Senator Chiz said that their political party is “Partido Pilipinas.” He said that this was not a political party to be accredited by the Commission on Elections. “It is an ideology and principle they call “Partido Pilipinas.”  He said: “Our party is the Philippines and the members of our party are the Filipino people.” This reflects the attitude of most political party members in the country who run on political slogans, not on serious political platforms.

Leaders from various political parties and entertainment personalities are lining up in support of the Poe-Escudero ticket.

Search for other candidates for Vice-President and for senators. Meanwhile, presidential candidates Mar Roxas of the Liberal Party and Jejomar Binay of the political opposition are still looking for their candidates for Vice-President, senators, and other positions. So are Poe-Escudero. (By by Jose “Pepe” Abueva)

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