MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe minced no words when she told administration standard-bearer Manuel "Mar" Roxas II about his people allegedly behind the attacks against her.
Roxas, as cited by Poe, denied knowledge that such attacks come from his camp but said he would not "tolerate" such acts.
“Sinabi ko rin sa kanya, 'Alam 'nyo Secretary, 'pag nag-uusap tayo, diretsahan tayo mag-usap, pero may mga tao kayo na talagang tinitira ako sa likod.' Handa naman kami sa legalidad dito, pero hangga’t sinusuyo ako, pero kabaliktaran naman ang ginagawa, ano ba naman 'yun?” Poe said.
(I also told him, 'You know what Secretary, when we talk, we are upfront with each other. But you have people that really stab me at the back.' We are prepared for the legalities, but they are wooing me, but they do the opposite, what's that?)
But Poe pointed out that it was people from Roxas' camp that questioned her competency. No less than President Benigno Aquino III himself alluded to her inexperience, saying she is still "unripe."
“Ang pagkakaalam n'ya, di galing sa kampo n'ya, pero di ba may mga sinasabi nga mapakla raw ako dahil di raw ako hinog? Galing naman 'yun sa kampo nila. Okay lang dahil ang manibalang may halong tamis at asim na kailangan din natin,” Poe said.
(He said he does not know that it came from his camp. But weren't they the ones who said I tasted acrid because I am unripe? That came from their camp. It's fine with me because unripe fruits taste both sweet and sour, which we need.)
LP political adviser and Caloocan Representative Edgar Erice followed what Aquino started and said Poe is "mapakla" or acrid, in an apparent reference to Poe's short service in government.
Poe maintained she would not back down from all the attacks hurled at her.
She is facing two disqualification cases on the basis of her alleged questionable citizenship. She was also accused of being a "drunkard, drug addict, and abusive."
The neophyte senator also addressed calls of critics calling on her to “sacrifice” and slide down to vice president.
“Ang pagtakbo lalo na sa pagkapangulo ay mas malaking sakripisyo. Nakita ko 'yan sa pagtakbo ng aking ama. Pero tatayuan natin kung sakasakali man kung sa tingin natin ay mas marami tayong kabutihan na maidudulot.”
(To run for president is a big sacrifice. I saw that when my father ran. But I will stand by my decision if ever I see I can do more good to people.)
Poe said she has a personal deadline to decide on her 2016 plans but refused to give details.
'Don’t wait for me'
While Poe said she remains thankful for the “courtesy” extended to her by the Liberal Party bet, she told Roxas she is still deciding on her political plans in 2016.
The neophyte senator said Roxas should no longer wait for her, as she might only delay his campaign. After all, Roxas has other options for a running mate, she said, again making allusions to people around Roxas who do the opposite of what their candidate says.
Roxas had expressed desire to get Poe as its vice presidential candidate, with some administration allies calling it a "dream team."
“Sabi ko nga sa kanya, marami ka namang ibang pagpipilian. Bagamat si Sec Mar ay mapasensya, may mga kasama s'ya na iba ang 'pinagkikilos. So sabi ko, naiintindihan ko na hindi sila p'wede maghintay nang matagal lalo kung mag-oorganisa sila. Hindi ko hinihikayat na maghintay sila kung ito'y labag sa kanilang plano o sa kanilang loob,” Poe told reporters on Monday, August 17.
(I told him he has other choices [for running mate] anyway. Although Sec Mar is patient, the people around him act differently. So I said I understand that they could not wait for me any longer, especially if they will already organize. I don't encourage them to wait for me if it's against their plans or will.)
Roxas, asked earlier if he has a deadline in convincing Poe, dropped a pop culture reference. (READ: Roxas, Poe meet again about 2016.)
"'Yung tandem na yan, parang si AlDub lang yan eh, #MayTamangPanahon. So mangyayari at mangyayari rin 'yan sa tamang panahon," he told reporters, referring to the popular love team on a local noontime show.
(That tandem, it's like AlDub, there's a right time for it. So it will happen at the right time.)
But Poe said it is more than that, as the decision would affect other people. Poe and Roxas are set to meet again but no date was given.
“Hindi po ito love team. Ayaw ko pong maliitin ang pag-uusap na ganito. Bagamat personal na desisyon ito, ang desiyson na ito ay makakaapekto sa mas maraming kababayan,” Poe said.
(This is not a love team. I don't want to belittle our talks. Although this is a personal decision, this decision would affect many Filipinos.) - Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email firstname.lastname@example.org