No one thought she had a ghost of a chance. All surveys prior to the just recently concluded elections nowhere showed senatorial candidate Grace Poe Llamanzares shining through—until she decided to drop the name Llamanzares and put the stress on Poe (her late father’s surname, cinema’s “action king,” Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ). “Grace Poe, anak po ni FPJ,” became her campaign’s mantra and it struck gold instantly in the hearts of the voters.
To be sure, she was not the first to realize the importance of name recall in any electoral exercise. Another senatorial aspirant, Joseph Victor Ejercito, saw the folly of trying to go it alone and run on his own steam. So he hijacked his father’s screen name, Estrada, just in time, and look where he is now!
But Poe’s phenomenal topping of the race was really something else. While JV Ejercito Estrada managed to get himself entrenched within the so-called Magic 12, Poe made everyone’s jaw drop by being consistently No. 1 all over the country—putting to shame such political veterans and consistent electoral topnotchers as Loren Legarda, Chiz Escudero, Alan Peter Cayetano, et al.
How on earth did that happen? We venture the view that it was the people’s way of saying sorry to FPJ who would have won the 2004 presidential election had not “Hello, Garci?” supervened. He was robbed in broad daylight. He haunted the entire nation for allowing such a travesty to happen. Yes, indeed, it seems the specter of FPJ, the better president we never had, remained with us all along and finally found peace in his daughter’s extraordinary triumph! May his soul rest in peace now.
—STEPHEN L. MONSANTO,
Monsanto Law Office,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City