fifty shades of grace

nothing sexist, of course, even if grace poe is undoubtedly the sexiest politician around here these days (loren, miriam, pia, cynthia, and nancy must be so inggit).   she is so politically desirable either as running mate of mar, jojo, bongbong or erap, OR, kung anti-binay social media bandwagon ang masusunod, as presidential candidate herself, and naturally matindi masugid masipag ang panliligaw ang panunuyo ang panunukso sa senadora over the last thirteen months since she first said no.

just a year ago, in march 2014 to be exact, the newbie senator, who topped the 2013 senatorial race as independent-kuno, was asked if she had plans of running for higher office in 2016.

The senator said in an interview with ANC that she knows her limitation and feels “awkward and embarrassed” whenever people urge her to seek the Presidency or vice presidency in 2016.

“You also have to know your limitations. At this point, I really don’t have the machinery, the experience is not also there and more importantly, what my father has gone through,” she told ANC.

… Poe refused to bank on her popularity last election, saying the same thing happened to her father, who eventually lost because of unsustained campaign, besides being allegedly cheated.

“He was such a front runner also at that time, (people telling him) ‘you can do it’, ‘you can do it’, but when he looked back towards the middle of the campaign, he lost the support,” she recalled.

She said, although she was not the candidate at that time, it was a painful learning experience for her.

yes, experience is essential, learn the ropes first, figure out for yourself what ails the system and how to change it to favor the majority, for a change.  then in 2022 you and the country won’t be at the mercy of “advisers” with dubious and/or inappropriate agendas.

even as the demonization of binay proceeded in the senate and in mainstream and social media, and her survey numbers started going up, closing in on binay’s for president, when asked last december 2014 re 2016, senator poe  had not changed her mind…

“That increased number is truly heartwarming to be honest but, as of this time, it does not shake off the real reasons I have said before that deter me from even seriously considering to run in 2016,” Poe said in a text message Tuesday night.

“There are still so much to do in the Senate that needs my full attention and efforts,” she added.

… even if “as of this time” made me nervous.  parang biglang ayaw magsalita nang tapos.  and true enough, just four months later, in april 2015 she had changed her tune, her tone, her mind?  Poe rejects VP run, said an unnamed source to manila times.  Is Grace Poe running for president? asked manila bulletin, also citing an unnamed source said to be an LP stalwart.

“She doesn’t want to run for vice president. If she will run in 2016, it would be for president. She could be a lock for vice president, but in the long run, she is thinking, how would that work out for her? If she wins as vice president, she will occupy that post until 2022. By that time, she can’t be so sure that she will still enjoy the same high level of popularity and trust of the people, and she knows it,” the source, who has confirmed that some political parties are convincing Poe to be in their team as the vice presidential bet, said.

in other words:

Asked what had convinced the source about the neophyte legislator’s presidential ambition, the LP member said that it simply boils down to timing – and the timing could not be more ripe now for Poe.

“Yung init ng isang candidate is not there forever. Kaya kung hindi niya kukunin ngayon… Baka 2022 hindi na siya ganun ka-init (A candidate won’t be “hot” forever. If she won’t go for it now… she may not be as hot a candidate in 2022),” explained the source.

grace poe has not denied any of the above.  instead we’ve heard of a meeting with the prez na siyempre wala namang nangyari — surely they wanted a mar-grace, not a grace-mar tandem — and then there’s that unequivocal public statement that she will NOT be running with binay in 2016.  in fact she’s engaged in an argument sort of with vp binay who took a snipe at her lack of experience, to which she sniped back, honesty matters more.

what can i say.  the glow is gone.  she was impressive in the senate’s mamasapano hearings, so calm and collected for a newbie, and we cheered when she dared lay the ultimate responsibility at the feet of the president.  no guts, no glory.  but really, still a newbie.  she folded too soon on the matter of national security and executive privilege, she seemed surprised that no one dared speak freely about the elephant-in-the-room america.  someone more experienced, historically grounded, and attuned to the public pulse would have tested the limits, allowed questions and sought answers re the nature and extent of american engagement, even put it to a vote in case of objections.  it would have been immensely educational for nation, which ever way it went.

she has lost her glow, may inis sa mukha, may init ng ulo, when i saw her last night in a newscast, responding to binay’s call for experienced leaders.  but the honesty line doesn’t wash because, really, a president has to be more than just honest and open.  a president needs to have a certain grasp of national and international affairs and a sense of govenment policies that need changing if one truly wishes to make a difference.

times like this i remember how in erap’s time, when we were so disappointed that he couldn’t wouldn’t stop the VFA — done deal na raw since FVR’s time — his defense secretary orly mercado added that there are some things one does not see until one is president, as in, the view is different from the driver’s seat.  he did not elaborate, of course, but it tells us that we don’t need or want another newbie who thinks s/he can wing it by the grace of god.

of course i could be mistaken.  maybe i’m underestimating her.  maybe she has a vision, a dream for nation that is more than a string of motherhood statements.  maybe she has a plan, a platform of government, designed to finally bridge the yawning gap between rich and poor.  but if not, then better to sit it out in 2016 than be like FPJ who had nothing much to say when he was campaigning in 2004, puro papogi lang, thinking that  his supra-human demigod moviestar image would be enough to win him the election.

as for that piece of trapo wisdom that it’s now or never for grace poe and the presidency — by 2022 someone else might have captured the public imagination — that’s a lot of hogwash.  even, possibly, a dirty trick — rushing her into something she’s not ready for, the more quickly to neutralize her once binay is out of the way.

fact is, grace poe will always be interesting because of her top-of-the-line showbiz ties, complete with urban legend re the identities of her biological parents.  but that’s another story.  right, kuya?


Chasing Grace
Binay, BBL and big brother
The FPJ Bomb in a Populist Lamp


  1. Nice analysis. Sen. Poe has a bit of venom and slither to her method, I think. I believe she has to re-establish trust among a lot of people who see the same “fluid and fickle” behavior you cite. I think she bends to forces other than her own principles and determination to do a good job for the people. Her priorities seem to be: (1) Grace Poe, (2) other power brokers, and (3) the people. In that order. The Philippines does not need another trapo President. It needs a principled driver.

  2. Batang Genyo-Ala-eh

    I am not a student on human behaviour and i cannot predict her line of thought if she will succumb to political pressure to run for presidency right away. But i am sure, she will be shoo-in as vp and considering her intellectual maturity, it would be prudent for her to follow her self-intuition and decide more likely to run as vp independently or not. Her tactful handling of the mamapasano avoiding the booby-trap the US involvement for national security was a political risk in the right direction.