Poe stresses importance of 'independent' Senate in Bulacan sortie

BULACAN, Philippines – With only days to go until election day, reelectionist Senator Grace Poe on Thursday, May 9, stressed the importance of voting for candidates who would ensure the composition of an "independent" Senate.

Poe, who has consistently topped pre-election surveys on Senate bets, made the statement in a campaign sortie in this province, where she explained to voters why the Senate should not be dominated by administration candidates.

"Importante ang pagiging independent dahil ayaw 'nyo ng isang Senado na sunud-sunuran lang. Gusto natin ng isang Senado na magdi-dipensa ng mga pangangailangan natin, hindi lamang dahil sa isang pulitika," Poe told Bulacan voters.

(It’s important to be an independent because we don’t want a puppet Senate. We want a Senate that will defend our needs, [and not just be based] on politics.)

Poe had been endorsed by progressive group Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan), along with other Otso Diretso and Labor Win candidates, with the aim of having an independent Senate. (READ: [OPINION] Will the next Senate be independent?)

During her Bulacan visit, Poe was joined by Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Joel Villanueva, a Bulakenyo, whom she said "took pity" on her. 

"Ngayon lang to nangyari pero sinasamahan nila ako dahil naaawa sila sa 'kin. Naawa sila dahil wala akong partido. Hindi ako kasama ng administrasyon, hindi rin ako kasama ng oposisyon. Adopted lang ako nitong mga ito," Poe said.

(It’s the first time that this happened but they came with me because they took pity on me. They took pity on me because I don’t have a party. I’m not part of the administration, I’m also not part of the opposition. They just adpted me.)

In Plaridel, she was received by Mayor Jocell Vistan-Casaje. Poe's sortie was also attended by Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Plaridel mayoral bet and Casaje's mother Tessie, and local leaders part of the "Team Vistan" slate.

'Make her number 1'

On Tuesday, Gatchalian asked voters in plaridel to help Poe top the Senate race.

"Sa darating na halalan sa Mayo 13, ang number 1 na gagawin po natin, ang number 1 dito sa Plaridel at sa lalawigan ng Bulacan ay walang iba kundi si Senator Grace Poe," said Gatchalian, who got the third most number votes in Bulacan.

(In the upcoming May 13 elections, the first thing that we will do is to make Senator Grace Poe number 1 in Plaridel and in the province of Bulacan.)

Villanueva, who got the second most number of votes in the province during the 2016 Senate race, vouched for Poe as a "competent and smart" legislator.

"Gusto ko pong ipagdiin na may pagkakataon tayong ihalal 'yun pong hindi lang 'yung magaling na magaling, hindi lamang matalino at matapang, kung hindi napakabait na kandidato," Villanueva told his provincemates.

(I want to emphasize that we have an opportunity to elect not only a competent leader, not only one who's smart and brave one, but also a very kind candidate.)

Poe was a consistent solo front runner in pre-election surveys until April, when a Pulse Asia Research, Incorporated survey showed her  sharing top spot with fellow reelectionist Senator Cynthia Villar.

Poe topped the Senate race in her first bid for elective office in 2013 with a record-breaking 20.15 million votes.

She ran for president in 2016 but placed 3rd overall in the race won by Rodrigo Duterte. In Bulacan, Poe came in second in the 2016 presidential elections.

Bulacan is the 6th most vote-rich province in the country with a total of 1.86 million voters for 2019.

Bulacan voters comprise about a third of the 6.83 million registered voters in Central Luzon. (READ: Vote-rich regions, provinces in the 2019 Philippine elections– Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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