Understanding Sen. Grace Poe better


Senator Grace Poe

Senator Grace Poe

I had been writing about Sen. Grace Poe, expressing my own feeling and opinion ever since people started clamoring for her to run for president.

Showing signs of being a new breed of politician – young, unassuming, intelligent, honest and always talking about what is good for the country and its people – whether inside the hall of the Senate or engaging in speeches outside, I wrote favorably about her hoping that somehow my impression of her would be etch in the mind of those reading my blogs, and in a little way help influence their decision in case Poe answers the clamor of the people.

To my dismay, however, I noticed that as months passed by and as one poll survey after another has been showing that she is the most preferred candidate for president in 2016 despite her being new and inexperienced, she has somehow evolved, amazingly in so short a time, into one that we all disgracefully describe as a traditional politician (trapo).

The way Poe talks and act now as she goes around are manifestations of a politician who is only after her political interest and advantage by dealing with individuals or organizations in an opportunistic and manipulative ways.

Perhaps what hastened Poe’s transformation to becoming a ‘trapo’ is her close association with fellow Sen. Chiz Escudero, who has become her mentor and a close confidante, and even a possible running mate if she decides to run for president.

There is no doubt that Poe has the potential to lead the country, and I have said this before, but she must be humble enough to admit and acknowledge her inadequacies at the moment, and that it would be to her great advantage if she runs instead as Mar Roxas’ vice president in 2016.

In the same manner that I lack the eloquence to be able to convince people that Poe is not ripe yet for the presidency and, thus, it would be better for her to be an understudy of Roxas to be more competent and effective once the presidential baton is passed on to her 6 years after 2016, I am reprinting here an article superbly written by one, Efren Padilla, and published in Rappler.com, so that the Filipino people who haven’t read this yet will get to know more about Poe and not commit the mistake of electing her the president of this country in 2016.

For those who have read the article below already, I ask for your indulgence.

On Grace and patience

‘The political campaign period is a like a seesaw. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down’

When I think of Senator Grace Poe’s chance of winning the coveted top post of the land, I am reminded of the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who once said: “Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop character.”

Although I have been unforgivingly critical of her defense of the INC’s mob-rule scheme at the Department of Justice compound, I still wish her success in her life’s pursuit.

I think she has a chance of being a good presidential material in the future if she is willing to learn by herself about something of political importance. That is, if there is one virtue that she must nurture as she considers running for a higher post, she might take to heart Heraclitus’ admonition of patience.

Why patience? Well, for two important lessons. First, she must be humble enough to honestly accept her limited experience and lack of preparation.

She might learn a thing or two from her friend in Bicol, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo. Leni is an exemplary public servant and a non-tradpol senatorial material with impeccable intelligence and wit. Just like her, she also aspires for a higher position but is circumspect enough to admit her lack of experience and preparation as a contender for VP. I hope Leni runs for senator and wins.

If ever Grace slides down as VP, just imagine the on-the-job-training she will obtain, and most of all, the goodwill of a dominant party and a vast campaign moolah she’ll inherit when her time comes.

Second, as a neophyte, she cannot politically mature relying on the undue influence of another Bicolano friend – a cunning tradpol who is known to have dumped and betrayed his friend in the last national election. Needless to say that, that friend lost and broke his heart.

Grace has to mature by herself and on her own terms. I know no one can dictate her on whom to befriend and trust as a political partner.

But her unqualified adulation and uncompromising reliance to a partnership with that “man from Bicol” troubles me and should set off alarm bells. I think in the INC crisis, she listened too much to his overbearing legalese and tradpol strategizing that she bungled their conniving response to it.

I truly believe that if she relied more on the gracious and just characters of her adoptive parents that she may have learned both in reel and real life, she could have expressed herself with the ease of integrity and respect for the rule of law rather than dig herself out of the quagmire of the rule of the mob that she disingenuously continue to spin in public, just like Binay.

And to think as a kid, I used to get excited watching her father Fernando Poe, Jr. in movies defend the just cause of the “little scared guys” or beat up the “big bad guys” like Joseph Estrada, Paquito Diaz, or Max Alvarado with his signature rapid-like Pacquiao punch.

Sad to say, she seems to be learning more from the reputations of the tradpols than her noted adoptive parents. Kung buhay pa si Da King baka papagalitan pa s’ya for the INC screw-up. (If her father was still alive, he might’ve scolded her for the INC screw-up)

If Grace prefers the influence of the former, she is in danger to setting her self up for a dubious political legacy. And talking about a dubious legacy, there is a lesson to be learned from the troubled presidency of George Bush Jr. in tandem with Vice President Dick Cheney.

The good-natured and melancholic Dubya who takes a lot of ribbing for his mediocre grades at Yale University is the exact opposite of the shrewd and conniving Dick who usually has the last words of counsel to him on policies.

Setting up the White House for a stiff-necked neocon agenda together with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, he has been characterized as the most powerful and influential Vice President in American history to the extent that pundits called him Darth Vader. And he unapologetically embraced that image.

Unfortunately, in their last days in office, their relationship soured. Dubya simply ignored Dick and basically abandoned his counsel. But the damage had been done. It’s a sad state to behold.

I understand that at the moment, Grace and Chiz are leading in the surveys as undeclared contenders for president and vice president respectively. The temptation to be swayed by this consideration is quite irresistible. However, the political campaign period is a like a seesaw. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down. Still, it is a long way until that day and survey results will change once the dust settles for the would-be presidents.

In the end there is no substitute for what is truly graceful, gracious, and patient – even in politics. Quo Vadis Grace? – Rappler.com

(Efren Padilla is a full-time professor at California State University, East Bay. His areas of specialization are urban sociology, urban planning, and social demography. During his quarter breaks, he provides pro bono planning consultancy to selected LGUs in the Philippines.)

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