Manila Bulletin

Lib­eral Party lead­ers chide Sen. Poe for copy­ing Aquino’s pro­grams

- By BEN R. ROSARIO and CHARISSA M. LUCI Politics · Elections · Liberal Party of the Philippines · Grace Poe · Nigeria · Quezon City · Fernando Poe, Jr. · Caloocan · National People's Congress · Jejomar C. Binay · Vicente Sotto III · Laos · Bayan Muna · Zamboanga del Norte · Manila · Joseph Estrada · Namibia · Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. · Nationalist People's Coalition · Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. · Niel Tupas, Jr. · Danilo Fernandez

Like spurned, sour­grap­ing suit­ors, Lib­eral Party (LP) law­mak­ers chided Sen­a­tor Grace Poe for stat­ing “moth- er­hood state­ments” in de­tail­ing her plat­form of gov­ern­ment and for of­fer- ing the “Daang Matuwid” pol­icy but leav­ing its cap­tain, Pres­i­dent Aquino, out of the loop.

Overnight, Aquino al­lies turned Poe’s crit­ics.

“Copy-paste. It is the same pro­grams of the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Eastern Sa­mar Rep. Ben Evar­done, said of Poe’ s lengthy speech at the UP Ba­hay ng Alumni in Que­zon City Wed­nes­day.

In her 24-minute ad­dress in the same place where her adop­tive fa­ther, King of Philip­pine Movies Fer­nando Poe Jr. de­clared his in­ten­tion to seek the pres­i­dency 11 years ago, Sen. Poe vowed to make her gov­er­nance in­clu­sive and trans­par­ent. No one will be left be­hind as the coun­try marches to­wards progress, she said.

Rolling out her 20-point

agenda, Poe vowed to im­prove the state of ed­u­ca­tion, agri­cul­ture and pri­or­i­tize in­fra­struc­ture. Although Poe ac­knowl­edged the gains of “Daang Matuwid”, she said “no one man or group holds a mo­nop­oly on “Daang Matuwid”.

Poe also aims to lower tax rates, give work­ers fair wages and find a way to lower power costs.

Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, LP vice chair­man on po­lit­i­cal af­fairs and Cavite Rep. El­pidio Barzaga Jr. also agreed that noth­ing is so new with the plat­form pre­sented by Poe.

“It’s all moth­er­hood state­ments, most of them have been done and be­ing done by Pres­i­dent Aquino. The real meat is in the de­tails. It’s a good po­etry but how about the prose? Paano Poe?,” Erice said.

“Will she agree to a de­bate with Mar and Vice Pres­i­dent Bi­nay on pol­icy is­sues she had pre­sented?,” he added.

For his part, Barzaga said, “I am look­ing ahead for her to lay down the con­crete steps how her com­mit­ment would be re­al­ized. Moth­er­hood state­ments are tire­some re­frain to the ears of the vot­ers.”

Equal chance De­spite the pres­ence of top Na­tion­al­ist Peo­ple’s Coali­tion (NPC) ex­ec­u­tives when she de­clared for the pres­i­dency, there is still no as­sur­ance that Poe will get the endorsemen­t of the party – the big­gest po­lit­i­cal party in the coun­try.

Que­zon Rep. Mark En­verga, NPC spokesper­son for its House con­tin­gent, dis­closed that 2016 pres­i­den­tial hope­fuls Vice Pres­i­dent Je­jo­mar Bi­nay and out­go­ing In­te­rior Sec­re­tary Mar Roxas have an equal chance as Poe in win­ning the NPC endorsemen­t.

En­verga said the NPC has re­cently named a 15-man ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (EX­E­COM) to de­lib­er­ate on which can­di­date the party will sup­port in 2016.

Aside from En­verga, also present at the UP gath­er­ing were Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Ag­gabao, NPC pres­i­dent; for­mer Is­abela Gov. Faustino Dy Jr., chair­man; Reps. Mark Llan­dro Men­doza of Batan­gas, sec­re­tary gen­eral; Rex Gatchalian, spokesman and Sen­a­tor Vi­cente “Tito” Sotto III.

He re­vealed that there is an equal EX­E­COM rep­re­sen­ta­tion among party sup­port­ers of Bi­nay, Roxas and Poe.

En­verga said the EX­E­COM is ex­pected to reach a con­sen­sus on the pres­i­den­tial is­sue within three weeks.

“But be­fore do­ing that, the com­mit­tee must first agree that the party must stand united be­hind who­ever will win the endorsemen­t,” he ex­plained.

In­ter­est­ing race

But, Speaker Feli­ciano Bel­monte Jr., vice chair­man of the Lib­eral Party and House In­de­pen­dent Bloc leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Ro­mualdez, pres­i­dent of Lakas-CMD party wel­comed Poe’s de­ci­sion to join the pres­i­den­tial race.

“She will make the race more in­ter­est­ing,” Bel­monte said, cit­ing that Poe’s an­nounce­ment did not come as a sur­prise.

Ro­mualdez, who is re­port­edly in­cluded in Poe’s sen­a­to­rial team said, de­scribed Poe’s move as “a very ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment as she brings a bright di­men­sion to the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions.”

Non-LP con­gress­men wel­comed Poe’s move to join the pres­i­den­tial derby, say­ing that this has fur­ther strength­ened Philip­pine democ­racy.

“This is a welcome de­vel­op­ment in mak­ing our democ­racy even health­ier, ro­bust and vi­brant,” said Abakada Partylist Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz.

Se­nior Deputy Mi­nor­ity Leader Nery Colmenares (Bayan Muna Party-list) said he and his group are in­clined to back Poe.

“She prom­ises a new hope for the na­tion. We had co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tions with her on some is­sues in the past and based on our talks she is com­mit­ted to carry cer­tain pro-poor and pro-peo­ple agenda,” the op­po­si­tion law­maker stated.

For­mer Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos al­ready had a change of heart. He de­cided to ditch his sup­port for Bi­nay in fa­vor of Poe and Es­cud­ero.

“I can’t turn my back on Grace. Her fam­ily is very close to us, es­pe­cially the fa­ther – FPJ (Fer­nando Poe Jr.), her mother Su­san, and Grace her­self,” Jalosjos told re­porters.

“I will be a traitor if I turn my back on her,” he said. “I can never turn my back on showbiz, my life is showbiz. The one feed­ing my fam­ily comes from showbiz, Eat Bu­laga!,” he also said.

It was Jalosjos’ com­pany, Pro­duc­tion Spe­cial­ists, Inc., that started the pop­u­lar noon­time va­ri­ety show Eat Bu­laga! in the late ’70s.

More than prom­ises But Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada who is like a sec­ond fa­ther to the lady sen­a­tor said “her plat­form is good. But let’s see how she will achieve that. She should tell us how she will do those things. It’s easy to say what she wants to do. But how she will do that?”.

YACAP partylist Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez, a staunch Roxas sup­porter also re­minded Poe that “the Pres­i­dency is more com­plex than po­lit­i­cal plat­form put to­gether by public re­la­tions con­sul­tants. It is un­fair to make the more than 100 mil­lion Filipinos be­lieve that solv­ing the coun­try’s chal­lenges is as sim­ple as putting to­gether 20 bullet points of prom­ises.”

Iloilo Rep. Niel Tu­pas Jr. said Poe’s pres­i­den­tial bid will “im­pact neg­a­tively” on Bi­nay.

“She might get votes from the op­po­si­tion but Sec. Mar will ben­e­fit from a three-cor­nered pres­i­den­tial con­test as it would make plat­form of con­ti­nu­ity of the ad­min­is­tra­tion can­di­date even clearer to the peo­ple,” Tu­pas ex­plained.

“Sen­a­tor Grace is ob­vi­ously a fan of Tuwid na Daan since she has quoted it in her speech and she said noth­ing new but ba­si­cally a re­peat of what she has learned from Tuwid na Daan, but she lost her chance to be with the orig­i­na­tors of this noble anti-cor­rup­tion con­cept,” La­guna Rep. Dan Fer­nan­dez said. (With re­ports from Han­nah L. Tor­re­goza and Cha­rina Clarisse L. Echaluce)

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