MANILA, Philippines – The mood was quiet and somber inside Senator Grace Poe’s campaign headquarters in Scout Borromeo in Quezon City. They just called a last-minute press conference. One does not need words of confirmation to know what was about to happen.
Prior to the senator's arrival, members of Poe’s team were seen talking and hugging, finding comfort in each other.
Indeed, it was a concession. Poe, just hours after polling precincts closed on Monday, May 9, conceded to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, the apparent winner in the 2016 presidential polls. Poe was the first candidate to do it.
After Poe’s press conference, the senator took the chance to thank her campaign team, who tirelessly worked for her.
“Wala namang nakakahiya sa ginawa natin, so 'yon. Matulog na kayo, di pa kayo naghihintay anong mangayayari mamayang alas-6 ng umaga, tapos na para sa atin,” Poe said.
(There's no shame in what we did. So go to sleep. No need to wait for what will happen later at 6 am. For us, it's over.)
While it was she who was at the center of defeat, Poe made sure the people who worked hard for her would not feel despondent about it.
As of 4:40 pm of Tuesday, May 10, Poe trails behind Duterte and administration standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II.
Despite this, she urged her campaign staff to hold their heads up high.
“Nobody could say that you worked to destroy anybody. You just really focused on the issues. Kung may mali (If there were mistakes), we call them on it, we call them out for it. Pero di naman natin tinutukan ‘yung personal na bagay (But we didn't focus on personal issues)," Poe said.
For Poe, the campaign is not the end of their advocacies. She encouraged her supporters to continue helping Filipinos in their own ways.
“Kung ano ipinaglaban natin sa kampanya para sa ating mga kababayan (What we fought for during our campaign for our countrymen), we can still do it in our own personal capacity, even in our official capacity if we still have positions in government,” she said.
Poe managed to turn the conversation into a light moment. “Well you’re not supposed to be here if you still have positions in government.”
Despite the unfavorable results of the elections, Poe still managed to crack jokes and laugh with her staff and members of the media.
One team member joked, "Where's the sortie tomorrow?"
To which she responded, "Ano kayo, may battle fatigue kayong lahat (Do all of you have battle fatigue)?"
Watch it here: