Plaza Miranda ‘symbolic’ choice for Poe to start, end campaign
She started her campaign in this historic Plaza Miranda in Quiapo, Manila on February 9.
Three months later, Senator Grace Poe and her allies in Partido Galing at Puso (PGP) will return this Saturday to Plaza Miranda, just beside the Quiapo Church, to conclude their campaign.
Poe, who is running for president, said her choice of the venue, to start and end her campaign, was “symbolic.”
“Doon nag-umpisa e. Kahit ‘nung (tumakbo ako as) senator, doon, tapos palagi akong nasa Quiapo Church. Marami ngang nagsasabi ‘naku, baka hindi tayo magkasya lahat doon,’ pero simboliko ‘yon e para sa akin,” she said in an interview in Pandi, Bulacan on Friday.
(I started my campaign there. Even when I ran for senator, I started my campaign there. And I am always at Quiapo Church. Many have been telling me, we might not be able to fit in our supporters there, but it’s a symbolic place for me.)
“Hindi lang ito parang pagtitipon ng ‘miting de avance.’ Ito ay para sa atin din mensahe na ang ginagawa natin para sa tao at naaayon sa gusto rin ng Diyos,” she said.
(It’s not a mere “miting de avance.” It’s also to put our message across that what we are doing is not just for the people but also in accordance with the will of God.)
Poe also explained, in her speech during the kick off rally last February 9, why she chose to launch her campaign in front of the Quiapo Church.
“Nagsimula ang kwento ng aking buhay sa isang simbahan. Kaya minarapat ko rin na sa tapat ng simbahan ilunsad ang susunod na kabanata ng buhay ko,” she said.
(The story of my life started in a church. So I chose to start another chapter of my life in a church.)
The senator was found abandoned at a church in Jaro, Iloilo when she was a baby.
She was later adopted by movie stars Susan Roces and the late Fernando Poe Jr.
“Sabi nga ng aking Ina: Ano man ang gagawin mo anak sa iyong buhay, lagi mong haluan ng dasal ang iyong pawis (As my mom had told me: Always add prayers to your efforts),” Poe said in her speech then.
“Kaya dito sa makakasaysayang lugar na ito – sa harap ng bayan, sa mata ng Diyos at Poong Nazareno– iaalay o ang panatang ito: Ako po si Grace Poe, ina, anak, Pilipino, buong puso at tapang na ipagtatanggol ang programa ng gobyernong may puso na ating itatayo, ang plano ko para sa pamilyang Pilipino, at ang mithiin ko para sa ating bansa at sa ating mga anak.”
(That’s why in this historic place—in front of the people and in front of Jesus the Nazarene, I offer this vow: I am Grace Poe, mother, daughter, Filipino, and I will wholeheartedly and bravely defend the government with a heart that I will build, the plans I have for Filipino families, and the dreams I have for our country and our children.)
“At doon sa mga taong pilit dinudungisan ang aking pagkatao, handa ko rin ipagtanggol ang aking pagka-Pilipino, ngayon at dito,” she added.
(And to those slandering my personhood, I am ready to defend my identity as Filipino here and now.)
But her journey to the presidency was not a walk in the park as she was slapped left and right with disqualification cases to stop her disqualification bid.
A petition seeking to unseat her in the Senate for being a foundling was filed at the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET).
The case, however, was junked by the SET and was later upheld by the Supreme Court.
Several disqualification cases were also filed at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to stop her presidential bid over her citizenship and residency.
The Comelec ruled in favor of the cases and decided to cancel Poe’s certificate of candidacy for president.
But the SC reversed the Comelec’s decision and allowed Poe to the join the presidential race.
After surviving the disqualification cases, Poe faced more challenges as her detractors and rivals continued to question her and her family’s loyalty to the Philippines after she renounced her Filipino citizenship and swore allegiance to the United States when she decided to live and work there with her family.
She returned to the Philippines after her father died in 2004 but she only renounced her US citizenship she was appointed as chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board in 2010.
As the campaign season heated up, her detractors had also accused her of allegedly owning mansions in the United States and using an alleged faked Social Security Number while she was in the US.
Poe strongly denied all accusations against her.
She promised to fight until the end despite alleged attempts for her to withdraw in favor of administration bet, former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
“Noon pa man ako’y inimbitahan na maging bise nila, pero dahil hindi ako naniniwala sa estilo ng liderato, hindi naman ako, hindi ako bumigay,” Poe said in an interview Friday night, referring to the administration’s earlier offer for her to become Roxas’ running mate.
(I already rejected their offer for me to be their vice president because I did not believe in their style of leadership.)
“Ngayon pa kaya, na ako’y nag-iikot, na nakita ko ang kahirapan ng ating bansa, na marami nang talagang napapabayaan, ngayon pa ba ako susuko (Do they expect me to give in now that I have already toured the country and saw how many people remain poor and marginalized)?” she added. IDL
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.