QUEZON, Philippines – A day after the historic ruling of the Supreme Court, presidential bet Grace Poe took her campaign to the province of Quezon on Wednesday, March 9.
It was the same province where her late father Fernando Poe Jr overwhelming won in 2004 against then President Gloria Arroyo. FPJ, however, lost overall to Arroyo in the elections widely believed to have been rigged.
Poe did the rounds in Quezon – from Lucban, Lopez, Tayabas, to Lucena City. In each visit, she made sure to mention the late action hero.
In fact, for her, it might have been FPJ’s will for her to immediately visit the province a day after the High Court allowed her to run for president.
“Kaya mga kababayan, parang sa tingin ko, 'yung tatay ko, kung nasaan man siya, plinano niya rin na kung sakaling ako nga ay magwagi sa Korte Suprema, ano ang unang-unang pinuntahan kong bayan at probinsiya pagkatapos no'n? Walang iba kung hindi ang probinsiya na malapit sa kanyang puso: ang Quezon,” Poe said in a speech in Lopez town.
(Fellowmen, in my opinion, my father, wherever he is now, he planned that if ever I do win in the Supreme Court, what is the first province I will visit? No other than the province close to his heart: Quezon.)
Before FPJ died in 2004, Poe said he was still packing donations for affected victims of the typhoon and landslides in the province.
“Minahal ni FPJ ang Quezon. Bago siya namayapa, nung nagkaroon ng matinding bagyo dito at landslide, ang kanyang inatupag ay ang pag-pack ng mga relief goods na walang nakalagay 'from FPJ' na ipinadala dito,” she said.
(FPJ loved Quezon. Before he died, when the province was hit by strong typhoon and landslide, he packed relief goods without any "from FPJ" marks.)
In wooing voters in the province, Poe mentioned her platform focusing on agriculture. After all, Quezon highly depends on its agricultural sector, especially coconut farming, for livelihood.
Poe hit Liberal Party member and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala for “neglecting” the province where he hails from. She then vowed to increase the Department of Agriculture’s budget and provide free irrigation for farmers.
“Ang agrikultura ay isang sector kung saan naniniwala kaming napabayaan kahit na ang inyong Secretary ay galing dito, sapagkat kailangan organisado ang pagpapalago nito,” Poe said in a press conference in Lucena City.
(Agriculture is one sector, which we believe was neglected even if your secretary comes from here. We need an organized development. We will increase the budget; if we can, we will make irrigation free.)
NPC Quezon solid for Poe?
Just like her father in 2004, Poe could win in Quezon, according to Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) spokesman and outgoing Quezon Representative Mark Enverga.
Poe is also backed by congressional candidate Trina Enverga, 4th District Representative Helen Tan, and local NPC mayors.
In 2004, FPJ won in the province with 336,488 votes over Arroyo’s 170,853.
Grace Poe herself topped the senatorial race in Quezon with 491,715 votes.
Enverga maintained the NPC is solid behind Poe. He said the memory of FPJ would boost Poe’s bid in the province.
“Para sa kandidatura ni President Grace Poe at Vice President Chiz Escudero, buo ang suporta ng NPC dito sa Quezon,” Enverga said in a chance interview.
(For the candidacies of President Grace Poe and Vice President Chiz Escudero, the NPC has a solid support for them here in Quezon.)
“Given the very strong clamor of the people during the time of the father of Senator Grace Poe, landslide dito si FPJ. The atmosphere is the same so I can say that,” he added.
In 2010, the vice presidential race between two of Poe’s opponent now – Mar Roxas and Jejomar Binay – was a very close fight.
In the end, Binay won with 334,582 votes against Roxas’ 300,293 votes.
As NPC supports Poe, the Alcalas support Roxas, while the Suarezes are all for Binay. Gubernatorial candidate and former Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez earlier said Arroyo asked her allies to support Binay in 2016.
Asked about divided support of political families in Quezon, Enverga was positive that Poe and Escudero would emerge as victors in the end.
“Well, I guess we do have similar candidates all over the province, but senators Grace and Chiz have their own respective popularity in this area. I think Senator Poe will be the victor and Senator Chiz,” he said. – Rappler.com