Senator Grace Poe inspects a Tabor assault rifle at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) headquarters after gracing the 13th anniversary of the agency on Tuesday where she was the keynote speaker. Poe said she is working on raising the reward money for informants.(MNS photo)

Senator Grace Poe inspects a Tabor assault rifle at the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) headquarters after gracing the 13th anniversary of the agency on Tuesday where she was the keynote speaker. Poe said she is working on raising the reward money for informants. (MNS photo)

Drilon scolds LP congressman for meddling in Senate affairs

MANILA, Aug 20 (Mabuhay) – Various groups and individuals pushing Senator Grace Poe to run for higher office in the 2016 elections gathered during the commemoration of Fernando Poe Jr.’s 76th birthday, many of them supporters of the late movie star and presidential candidate who want her to continue what her father started.

Posters and streamers with Poe’s name and a reference to the 2016 polls were all over the area near FPJ’s mausoleum at the Manila North Cemetery, where a crowd that organizers say reached more than 3,000 assembled.

FPJ’s family and friends have been observing his birth and death anniversary yearly since he died in 2004, but Thursday’s commemoration had a political undertone as Poe contemplates whether to seek a higher position in 2016 amid her strong performance in popularity surveys.

“Our objective of course is to convince Senator Grace Poe to run for higher office,” said Oscar Valera, head of a newly formed group called Great People’s Movement for Progress or GPMP.

“Grace has been a friend for more than a decade. I know her personally. I know kung ano ang nasa loob niya. Alam ko kung ano ang magagawa niya para sa bansa natin (I know her deep inside. I know what she can do for our country).”

Another group called GP 2016 had banners all over the place, expressing support not only for Poe but also for Senator Francis Escudero, her close friend and possible running mate.

The group had held a fun run over the weekend to gather support for Poe.

“There’s truly a people’s clamor for a people’s candidate,” said the group’s chairman Wainwright Rivera, referring to Poe. “All we have to do is really organize ourselves and 100 percent we are confident that she will answer the call of the people.”

Actor Rez Cortez, who campaigned for FPJ in the 2004 presidential elections, said Poe can expect the support of groups and individuals who backed her father.

Cortez said he is organizing a group that will be called “Adopt Grace Poe Movement,” a reference to Poe’s status as a foundling, which critics have used to question her Filipino citizenship and qualification to hold public office.

Poe was found abandoned as a baby at a church in Iloilo in 1968, and was adopted by FPJ and his wife, actress Susan Roces.

“Iikot kami sa buong Pilipinas at kakalap kami ng mga taong mag-a-adopt kay Grace Poe at tatanggap kay Grace Poe bilang kapatid, bilang ate, bilang pinuno ng ating bansa, bilang presidente ng Pilipinas (We will go around the Philippines and seek people who would adopt Grace Poe and accept her as a sibling, as an older sister, as our country’s leader, as president of the Philippines),” Cortez said.

Even the mass for FPJ had shades of the 2016 elections and Poe’s possible candidacy.

In his homily, Fr. Larry Faraon mentioned the issue of Poe’s being adopted.

“Si Senator Grace ay hindi ampon. Siya ay pinili (Senator Grace was not adopted. She was chosen),” Faraon said. “Pilinili nina Susan at Da King. Pinili ng sambayanan at pipiliin pa sa 2016 (She was chosen by Susan and Da King. She was chosen by the nation and will be chosen in 2016).”

As well as fans and supporters, FPJ’s close friends including his bosom buddy Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada attended Thursday’s event.

Estrada has yet to name the candidate he will support in 2016, and he appears to be torn. While a friend of Poe’s family, he is also close to Vice President Jejomar Binay, the opposition’s presidential candidate in 2016 who was his running mate in 2010.

In a short message after the Mass, Estrada greeted Poe as “FPJ’s daughter, our next…” But he stopped after that as the people shouted, “Presidente!”

Estrada left immediately after the program and did not grant media interviews.

Speaking to reporters after the event, Senator Poe admitted that Thursday’s commemoration for FPJ was different from previous years’.

“Hindi ko naman ipinagkakaila na mas may mga interes dahil nga sa darating na 2016, subalit ang araw na ito ay para kay FPJ at patuloy na pag-alala sa kanya (I do not deny that there’s more interest in this because of 2016, but this day is for FPJ and his memory),” said Poe.

Poe thanked the people expressing support for her, saying they would matter as she continues to ponder what she often calls a life-changing decision.

“Ang approval ng tao at ang kanilang kumpyansa at tiwala ang higit na importante sa akin (People’s approval and confidence are important to me),” she said. “Ako’y mapagkumbabang nagpapasalamat sa kanilang lahat (I humbly thank them all).”

FPJ ran for president in 2004 but lost in an election marred by allegations of widespread cheating.

Poe said she draws inspiration from her father, as she discerns whether or not launch her own presidential candidacy.

“Tumakbo siyang pangulo. Alam ko ‘yon (He ran for president. I know that),” she said.

“Pinag-aaralan ko pang mabuti kasi sa tingin ko naman, ang importante sa lahat ay mabigyan ko ng pagpugay ang kanyang alaala at huwag kong siran ang kapital na ‘yan (I am still studying it carefully because I think what’s most important is that I honor his memory and not destory that capital).”

Trillanes: Magdalo Group to support Grace Poe in 2016

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said Wednesday that the Magdalo Group will support the presidential bid of Senator Grace Poe if ever she decides to run for the post in 2016.

“If Sen. Grace Poe runs for president, our Magdalo Group would support her,” Trillanes said.

Trillanes is the ex-officio chairman of the group.

The group originated from a set of military officers, including the senator and his classmates in Philippine Military Academy Class ‘95, who took over the Oakwood Hotel in 2003 to air their grievances against corruption in government.

“We have conducted extensive consultations among our chapter leaders the past few weeks and she is the preferred candidate for the 2016 presidential elections,” he added.

On Tuesday, Trillanes told reporters that the Magdalo Group has already chosen its candidate for 2016 but he refused to name it.

“Sa amin yung Magdalo group meron na, nakapag-decide na kung sino ang susuportahan,” he said, clarifying that the political party to which he belongs to, the Nacionalista Party, has yet to decide who to support in next year’s polls.

He said the Magdalo Group has already talked with Poe. (MNS)