Inquirer columnists torn on Poe’s qualifications, ambition
With the looming announcement of her presidential bid on Wednesday, Senator Grace Poe will take the first step in fulfilling the frustrated dream of her father, late actor and National Artist Fernando Poe Jr. more than a decade ago.
It has been an uphill journey for Poe to reach this point as she faces attacks on all fronts over her qualifications to seek the presidency and her supposed lack of experience in public service.
She is currently facing two separate charges at the Commission on Elections and the Senate Electoral Tribunal, both of which allege that she is not qualified as a senator, or even president, because she is a foundling.
Poe also earned the ire of netizens of her comment on the four-day demonstration of the Iglesia ni Cristo last August, saying that members of the religious sect has the right to defend their faith.
Columnists of the Philippine Daily Inquirer have offered their two-cents and analyses on Poe’s possible presidential run and the possible hurdles which she may face on her road to Malacañang.
Bursting the survey bubble
In his column last July, which was then the time that President Benigno Aquino III was still deciding who will be the administration’s presidential bet, Armando Doronila dismissed Poe as a “a creature of early poll surveys.”
Doronila said that Poe should offer something more solid other than her popularity ratings.
“Poe has to offer something more solid than the puffery of a bubble to present a credible bid for the presidency and to be considered a serious contender. There is very little to show she has anything more solid for her qualifications to be President than survey ratings,” the columnist said.
He also said that despite three years in the Senate, Poe has failed to address her “glaring deficit in administrative experience.”
“She cannot offer the electorate hot air all the time to make up for the shortfall,” Doronila added.
In his column last August, Randy David credited Poe’s “meteoric” rise in the Philippine political stratosphere with her independence and her tenacity to call out the administration’s faults. However, David said that Poe needs to establish a political party in order to affect change and not rely solely on her independence.
“If Grace intends to make a difference in the nation’s political life, she has to assume a position of influence in an existing party, or build her own. One can rise in politics as an independent, but one cannot hope to shape politics in any significant way without a party,” David said.
John Nery also offered an analysis on Poe’s “path to victory” last August, saying that while there is a possibility for her to become the country’s 16th president, her independent status will become a hurdle in the 2016 elections.
“But without government machinery, or an entrenched national network, she will be forced to rely mainly on her popularity,” he said.
Nery said that Poe’s 2016 presidential bid will prove to be her first and last chance to become president because “in the Philippines, one either wins the presidency on the first try or not at all.”
Some Inquirer columnists also slammed Poe regarding her opinion about the INC protests, saying that she was pandering to the supposed whims of the religious sect in exchange of votes.
In his column titled “And we thought she was intelligent,” Ramon Tulfo said: “What did Poe mean when she said INC members were ‘defending their faith’ and ‘(protecting) their rights’? It’s as if De Lima was persecuting INC members like what the Romans did to the early Christians. No, Ms. Poe (aka Mrs. Llamanzares), there is nothing of that sort or even close to it. Many people thought you were intelligent, Madame Senator.”
Ramon Farolan stated that Poe’s statement on the INC protests showed that the senator has “decided that votes were more important than the general welfare of the community.”
“Perhaps the kindest thing that can be said on her behalf is that she is, after all, a human being. How could she possibly place in jeopardy a sure million-plus votes as against the uncertain support of a fickle public at large? Have no doubts! The lady is running for the presidency in May 2016,” Farolan said.
Cleared for presidential run
Meanwhile, columns were also written regarding Poe’s status as a foundling and whether she satisfies the requirements needed for her to pursue higher office.
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban said that Poe is a natural-born citizen and that she satisfies the 10-year residency requirement should she run for president. Panganiban’s claims were also supported by by Oscar Franklin Tan in his article titled “Is Grace Poe a Martian?”
READ: Is Grace Poe a Martian?
Rina Jimenez-David, meanwhile, credited Poe for tipping the issue of her status as a foundling to her favor. She said that critics should not use her status as a foundling against her.
READ: Of orphans and prejudice
“But to use the ampon issue against her is to run the risk of creating even more sympathy for her. It is pointless to focus on an issue about which the senator had no doing. Better to scrutinize her for her legislative performance and the possible platform on which her possible campaign could stand,” Jimenez-David said. Aries Joseph Hegina/IDL