Dead FPJ is the big winner in the Senate race | Inquirer Opinion
As I See It

Dead FPJ is the big winner in the Senate race

Although long dead, the “King of Philippine movies,” Fernando Poe Jr., is still drawing fans. This is evident in the surprising showing of his daughter, Grace Poe, a political neophyte, in the initial counting of votes for the Senate. Grace is leading all the other candidates in the partial and unofficial count so far.

There is no doubt that the King, even in death, helped Grace get those votes.


She has no experience, no qualifications for her run for the Senate except her parents, FPJ and Susan Roces. In fact, her commercials and ads unabashedly made full use (some say too opportunistically) of her parentage. She used, not her formal surname Llamanzares, but Poe, in bold capital letters. Her ads and commercials shouted that she is the daughter of the great FPJ.

Grace said repeatedly in her campaign speeches, commercials and ads that she wants to continue what her father started—whatever that is, she did not say. And nobody can remember what he started, apart from the very successful (in the box office) action movies. One TV commercial showed her and mother Susan talking about what she is going to do in the Senate and inevitably the talk went to the advocacies of her father. The commercial ended with Susan saying “Promise yan, ha,” and Grace answering, “oPOE.” Another commercial had her saying “Grace POE” and “oPOE” and “Hindi POE.” Her posters show a picture of FPJ hovering beside her like a guardian angel.


Obviously, the masses love the King for the roles he played in the movies—the poor, humble, soft-spoken champion of the oppressed and downtrodden who will erupt into deadly action when the villains get out of bounds. And that love has been transferred to his daughter who, by the way, is taking her amazing spurt with amazing grace.

Many more people now believe that FPJ won the presidential election in 2004 but was cheated by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The same movie persona as the champion of the masses also has catapulted FPJ’s “pare,” Erap Estrada (Erap is “pare” spelled backward), to high positions in the government, first as mayor of San Juan, then senator, then vice president, then president, and now mayor of Manila, making an amazing comeback after being kicked out of Malacañang and going to prison for plunder. Not only that, his popularity as a movie hero has allowed him to establish his own political dynasty. He was able to have his wife Loi and son Jinggoy, and now son JV Ejercito, elected to the Senate, and his mistress Guia Gomez elected, twice, as mayor of San Juan.

It was Erap who convinced FPJ to run for president, and endorsed the candidacy of Grace Poe for the Senate, although he is one of the three founders of the opposition coalition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), and Grace is in the Team PNoy ticket.

It is ironic and saddening that the no-nonsense drive against crime, especially drug pushing and prostitution, by reelectionist Mayor Alfredo Lim, a former police chief, National Bureau of Investigation director, and senator, has backfired against him. Also, the name “Dirty Harry” may have contributed to Lim’s loss although the original Dirty Harry (played by Clint Eastwood) was also a no-nonsense hero, a police detective who took shortcuts to put criminals away.

Nobody can deny that Lim stopped prostitution in the tourist belt and curbed drug pushing in Manila. What will happen now to his plan to build a business center in Manila’s Port Area and to make Escolta a walker’s paradise with new shops and eating places lining this famous, pedestrian-only street?

I hope the new mayor pushes these projects to fruition, even if they were conceived by his rival.


* * *

It looks like the campaign against political dynasties had no effect on the voters. Only Grace Poe, Loren Legarda and Gringo Honasan among the candidates in the top 15 of the senatorial race are not members of political dynasties.

Names played a big role in the choices of voters. Binay, Villar, Estrada, Cayetano, Aquino, Angara, Pimentel, Gordon and Magsaysay Jr. are all members of political dynasties. Jackie Enrile, son and namesake of JPE, the Senate President, is down in No. 16, far from the winning circle. JPE’s popularity was not enough to pull his son up. Maybe Jackie’s past as a tough guy pulled him down.

There are speculations in the social media that Jackie shot three persons in Cagayan. Jackie denies this; it was his bodyguard who did it, he claims. He says it’s black propaganda.

Speaking of black propaganda, did the black prop against Loren Legarda have any role in her fall from the top spot, a place she had held in all the poll surveys? Maybe.

The black prop said Loren has a property in New York that she did not declare in her earlier statements of assets, liabilities and net worth, an accusation that she vehemently denied and disproved with documents. Still, did it influence some of the voters not to vote for her so that she fell from the No. 1 spot? Or is it because Grace and FPJ just have too many fans?

Loren also claimed that the black prop was instigated by a colleague in the Team PNoy ticket who wants to be No. 1 so he can use the feat for a run for the presidency in 2016. Happily, Alan Peter Cayetano did not move up but moved down from No. 2 in the poll surveys to No. 4 in the actual count. Did the dirty trick boomerang against him? That would be poetic justice and should teach other politicians not to use black propaganda against rivals. After all, if a candidate cannot be loyal to a team mate, how can he be expected to be loyal to his constituents?

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TAGS: 2013 Elections, election highlights, Fernando Poe Jr., FPJ, Grace Poe, Philippine Senate
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