PAMPANGA, Philippines – Presidential aspirant Grace Poe on Tuesday, March 1, courted voters in Pampanga, the home province and bailiwick of her late father’s political nemesis, former President Gloria Arroyo.
It was Poe’s 3rd time to visit Pampanga, the 11th most vote-rich province, with more than 1.2 million voters.
Poe did rounds in Apalit and in the cities of San Fernando and Angeles. Together with running mate Francis Escudero and several senatorial bets, she held consultations with locals and students.
As in past sorties and campaign rallies, Tuesday's rally would not be complete without Poe mentioning her father, the late action star Fernando Poe Jr – even in the bailiwick of Arroyo, who allegedly cheated her father in the 2004 presidential polls.
Poe told voters that her father taught her not to be “vengeful.”
“Wala kaming kulay, dilaw man, pula, o asul sapagkat lahat ng Pilipino, saan mang panig ng Pilipinas, gaano man kalayo, kalaban man namin sa pulitika, lahat 'yan na nangangailangan ay aming tutulungan. Hindi ako tinuruan ng aking tatay na maging benggatibo,” Poe said in her speech during the rally.
(We don’t have any color, be it yellow, red, or blue because all Filipinos, from whatever part of the Philippines, no matter how far or whether you're a political rival, we will help all those in need. My father did not raise me to be vengeful.)
The neophyte senator earlier said she would let doctors and courts decide on the case of Arroyo, who remains in jail for plunder cases.
In 2005, Poe returned to the country from the United States and was a key personality in anti-Arroyo protests, especially after the "Hello, Garci" controversy, wherein Arroyo was allegedly heard ordering an elections commissioner to fabricate votes in her favor. (READ: TIMELINE: Grace Poe citizenship, residency)
Poe also cried foul over persecution against her. She hit her critics, including the Commission on Elections, for disqualifying her over citizenship and residency issues. (READ: All memos in: SC to decide on Grace Poe case soon)
“Tinuro sa akin ng tatay ko…pangarap niya talaga na ang bawat Pilipino ay magkaroon ng patas na pagtanggol sa gobyerno at oportunidad. Mga kababayan, ako nga mismo, senador na na nakaupo, kung gipitin pa nila sa Comelec ay ganoon na lamang, ano pa kaya ang mga ordinaryo nating mga mamamayan? Hindi na p'wede 'yan sa ating bagong sistema ng gobyerno," she said.
(My father taught me...he really dreamt for every Filipino to have access to equal justice and opportunity. Fellowmen, I, a sitting senator, is being oppressed by the Comelec just like that. How much more ordinary Filipinos? That will not be allowed in our new system.)
Despite all these, Poe maintained she does not lose sleep over issues against her.
"So sa inyong lahat, salamat. Alam naman ninyo, 'yung mga iba kung ano-ano ang mga isyu. Basta masasabi ko sa inyo, kahit may problema tayo, basta nakakatulog tayo nang mahimbing sa gabi, wala tayong idinadaing na takot sapagkat wala naman tayong nilamangan na tao," Poe said.
(To all of you, thank you. You know, others will make a lot of issues. But this I can say to you, even if we have problems, as long as we can still sleep soundly at night, we don’t fear anyone because we did not step on anyone.)
Promises to Kapampangans
In wooing Kapampangans, Poe promised to address their concerns under her administration. She vowed to improve Clark International Airport as an alternative to the heavily congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.
"Alam ko ang hinihiling ninyo ay magkaroon ng sapat na kita at trabaho kahit dito sa Pampanga. Marami po tayong plano para dito. Unang-una, 'yung Clark, kailangan natin – 'yung Clark Airport – i-utilize nang 100% para mas maraming pumunta ditong bumibiyaheng mga turista, mas maraming mamumuhunan dito, at mas maraming trabaho para sa inyo," Poe said.
(I know you are all wishing for enough work and income here in Pampanga. We have many plans for you. First of all, the Clark Airport, we will utilize it 100% so many people and tourists will come here, many investors will come in, and more work will be created for you.)
"Marami sa inyo ang namomoblema dahil 'pag umulan inaabot ng ilang linggo ang baha sa inyong barangay. Kausap namin ang local government at kailangan natin magpatayo ng mga flood control wall at water catchment facilities para hindi na bahain ang inyong mga barangay,” she promised.
(Many of you are troubled because, during the rainy season, your houses are submerged in floodwaters for many weeks. We talked to the local government and we need to build flood control wall and water catchment facilities so your baranggays will no longer be flooded.)