It’s still anybody’s game, says Grace Poe
It’s anybody’s game.
It’s a tight race for presidential candidates if the nationwide surveys are to be the gauge, Sen. Grace Poe said on Wednesday.
Poe, who used to top voter popularity polls, said that even when she was called the front-runner, she considered her situation “precarious.”
“You can never say that you are ahead of anyone. And in this particular case, when I don’t think in recent history we’ve had this much numbers that are so close together, I think nobody has the luxury of being assured what the results will be,” Poe said in a gathering with bloggers and digital media.
But she said she would respect and obey the decision of the electorate.
“What I’m telling myself is this. I am going back to the very reason why I’m running in the first place. Win or lose, it’s a privilege to be considered as one of those who can probably help this country, and whatever the decision of the majority will be, I will always respect,” she said.
Rodrigo Duterte, the tough-talking, iron-fisted mayor of Davao City, has since seized the top spot in surveys from Poe, who now ranks second. In the third spot is Vice President Jejomar Binay followed by administration candidate Mar Roxas. Trailing them is Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
In the latest Pulse Asia-ABS-CBN survey, Duterte had a 30 percent rating, followed by Poe with 25 percent. Binay got 20 percent, Roxas 19 percent and Santiago 2 percent.
According to Poe, she had always been wary of surveys and never considered herself the front-runner despite what the polls said.
“The survey is just one factor. What can determine you being front-runner is No. 1, do you have the resources? No. 2, do you have the political machinery? No. 3, do you also have the stamina?” she said.
She said she had to balance these factors as there were times she felt one was not at par with the other.
“At this point, I will do my best to lay out what my platform is,” said Poe.
The Senator said the country’s biggest problem is poverty, and it needs leaders with the integrity, energy and capability to implement programs quickly and judiciously.
Her focus: creating jobs so that people could truly feel that the country’s economy is growing.
She said she wants to address the factors that hinder more businesses from coming into the country, such as corruption and relatively high corporate income taxes.
She also vowed to pursue more infrastructure projects, such as building more roads and bridges to connect provinces and make it easier for farmers to transport their goods and have access to jobs.
But these have to be done in tandem with proper urban and rural planning in order to minimize right of way issues and adverse effects on the environment, she added.
Poe, who has also been discussing peace and order plans, said these issues were also the concern in some of the areas she visited.
The presidential candidate’s team is all set for the last three weeks of the campaign as they make a final push to carry the senator to the top of the race.
Discussions with pol leaders
“Focus, drive and resources all check. Fruits of our efforts should be realized in the next two weeks,” said Poe’s campaign manager Joseph “Ace” Durano.
Durano said Poe’s discussions with political leaders were positive and she expected them to declare their stand in the last week of this month.
Although he did not identify the parties and individuals they were talking with, Poe has reportedly touched based with local officials from the Liberal Party, Nacionalista Party and National Unity Party.
So far, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the Partido ng Masang Pilipino of Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and the House party-list coalition led by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez have declared their support for Poe.
Rex Gatchalian, Poe’s spokesperson, said more public support would rally behind Poe who, despite a dip in the surveys, remained a favorite to win the elections.
“All the necessary resources and tools are already in place to take the campaign to first place when we cross the finish line,” said Gatchalian.
Gatchalian said Poe would continue to focus on her platform of inclusive growth anchored on caring and prioritizing the needs of the poor and unemployed, farmers and students, the elderly and women.
“We believe that her message of reducing poverty and unemployment coupled with the logistical resources set in place will bring her candidacy to the top spot,” said Gatchalian.
He does not see any need to change Poe’s message in the face of Davao City Mayor Duterte’s surge to the top of the surveys with a simple anticrime promise.