Grace Poe, Escudero may run in 2016
MANILA, Philippines–After playing coy when asked about her political plans for 2016, Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday suddenly dropped hints of running for higher office, possibly with colleague and good friend Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
It was not certain, however, who between the two would run for president.
Asked if she would run against Escudero during a television news program on Wednesday, Poe said: “You know, I always say we’re better off as allies than as rivals. But of course, I’ll defer to whatever his decision will be. He helped me a lot to win, as Senator Serge (Osmeña) and all other senators who won.”
“So definitely, this is something we need to talk about. Maybe he might say, ‘I’m more senior than you.’ So that would be also a consideration. Anyway I don’t really know. As he said, he has no plans. So let’s see,” she added.
Hours later, however, Poe, who garnered 20.3 million votes to top the senatorial elections in 2012, sought to downplay her statement on the TV show, declaring that she had no plans to run for president even if the circumstances were favorable for her run.
Escudero did not return the Inquirer’s calls requesting for comment.
In a Pulse Asia survey of the top picks for president released in late April, Poe was second with 15 percent behind Vice President Jejomar Binay’s 40 percent.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago garnered 10 percent; Escudero, 9 percent; Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II, 6 percent; Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., 5 percent; and Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, 4 percent.
Liberal Party officials have expressed preference for Roxas as their standard-bearer, but Malacañang said President Aquino would announce his choice in due time.
In the TV interview, Poe denied reports that Binay had made overtures to make her his running mate in 2016.
“No [he has not talked to me] because as I said, I have no plans,” she said. “We don’t talk on the phone. But then, when we see each other socially, it’s like ‘Hi. Hello.’”
In a text message to the Inquirer later, Poe said: “[There are] no plans still. As I have said in the past, we don’t know what fate has in store for us. If you ask me, running for higher office is quite daunting. I am not ready.”
Poe said she should have been more explicit on the TV show that she and Escudero had not talked about running together in the presidential elections.
“Chiz is a friend and if either of us had plans, we would talk about it. But we have neither talked, nor do we have any plan,” she said.
Besides, she added: “I never said I would run. Or that I am considering it. It is just that I said we don’t know what fate has in store for us.”
In a statement she released, the woman senator said: “I would like to clarify an online report about my plans to run for 2016. While I may have been less than categorical on the matter, the fact remains that I have not made any plans to run for higher office.”
Poe, who steered the passage of the freedom of information bill in the Senate, has been floated as a possible contender, if not a challenger to Binay in the 2016 presidential elections.
A different race
In an interview in April, Poe said she wasn’t ready yet, admitting that the presidential elections were a different matter altogether.
“This is one-on-one. It’s different,” she said of the race to Malacañang. “In the senatorial elections, there are 12 slots.”
Besides, the last senatorial elections were tough enough in terms of logistics and funds, she said.
Poe was chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board when President Aquino convinced her to run for senator.
And then of course, she had yet to shake off memories of the tragic fate of her father, action king Fernando Poe Jr., who lost to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the fraud-marred presidential election in 2004.
The elder Poe died from a stroke seven months after his electoral loss.
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