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Aquino open to Grace as LP bet

/ 07:55 AM December 17, 2014

Everything is coming up roses for Sen. Grace Poe.

Speaking to Filipino reporters in South Korea, President Aquino intimated that he is open to having her as Liberal Party standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential election. A day earlier, former president Joseph Estrada said that if the presidential race narrows down to Vice President Jejomar Binay and Poe, he would support the daughter of his best friend, the late movie star Fernando Poe Jr. Grace now ranks second in a Pulse Asia survey, just behind Binay whose popularity and trust ratings are plummeting as a result of the corruption charges against him.

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At the interview in Korea, a reporter asked P-Noy: “Clarify ko lang, sir, so hindi si Secretary Mar [Roxas] ang [standard-bearer ng LP]?”

P-Noy: “Not yet at this time. It will be a discussion amongst all the members of the coalition.”

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Reporter: “Si Senator Grace daw ho ang baka pwede?”

P-Noy: “Kandidato namin si Grace noong 2013. Ako ang unang-unang hindi nagdidikta, so hahabulin ko talaga ang consensus ng lahat ng kasamahan.”

Grace topped the senatorial race that year. And voters prefer her for the presidential race in 2016, according to the Pulse Asia survey. She zoomed up to the runner-up position in the latest survey, while Binay’s ranking is in a free fall. Interior Secretary Roxas is lagging behind.

The Pulse Asia survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent. If you apply this plus or minus 3 percent to Grace and Binay, they are on even terms. If you apply that margin of error to the others in the list, they wouldn’t be far behind either. So that even if Binay ranks first, he is really just even with the others. Grace is expected to zoom higher in the next survey.

And there seems to be a bandwagon effect already. A few days ago, full-page ads on FPJ’s 10th death anniversary appeared in the newspapers. Who paid for these ads is not publicly known. Some political observers think this may be the first shot in a campaign for Grace.

When a candidate seems to have an advantage, supporters flock to him/her. Expect more politicians to express support for Grace.

The biggest expression of support is that of Erap. It is also the biggest blow to the VP. Binay would not be vice president now had not Erap carried him as running mate in the last presidential election. Erap placed second to P-Noy, beating ex-senator Manny Villar, the biggest campaign spender, and the Arroyo administration candidate, Gibo Teodoro. It proved that Erap is still the darling of the masses. His image as the champion of the poor was honed by his movies, where he always played the role of a humble man continually oppressed by the rich until he has had enough, turns around, and fights back for himself and for the millions of other poor people as oppressed as he.

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It was also the role played by FPJ in his own movies, which is why the two of them were the biggest box-office draws during their time. The two were very close friends. They are compadres; it was FPJ who coined the nickname “Erap,” which is “Pare” spelled backward. Together, they successfully led the fight against the Big Four criminal syndicate that was then preying on show biz personalities.

When Erap ran for president, FPJ stopped making movies to be able to campaign for him. When it was FPJ’s turn to run for president, Erap could not help him because he was already detained on plunder charges. “And yet, it was I who convinced him to run,” Erap said.

FPJ lost (or was cheated?) to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and died of a stroke while pursuing his election protest against her.

This is the reason Erap is supporting Grace. “It is the only way I can repay FPJ,” he said.

* * *

Now Binay is blaming the media for his plunging ratings. He said “some broadcasters,” whom he did not name, received money from his detractors to hit him.

“All your explanations have been blocked,” he told reporters in Pampanga, speaking of himself. “You cannot penetrate. You cannot neutralize these negative reports.”

Well, whose fault is it? He does not want to give his side in the corruption allegations against him. He does not want to answer reporters’ questions. He dismisses them with the retort “I will answer that at the right place at the right time.” (The right time is now.)

He does not want to defend himself before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee investigating the corruption charges against him. Instead, he flees to the provinces and delivers speeches during which he dismisses the allegations as “all lies,” “a smear campaign,” and “only politics.” But not a word to explain the web of corruption woven around him.

So what can the media broadcast or print when he does not want to say anything besides his mantra of “all lies” and “a political smear campaign”?

To avoid facing the media, he has hired four spokespersons, but they all say the same thing: “lies, lies, lies!”

If he is afraid of facing the senators, why does he not face the press and answer the questions?

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, Fernando Poe Jr., Grace Poe, President Aquino, Vice President Binay
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