By Hannah Torregoza
Before former president and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was installed as the new House Speaker, Sen. Grace Poe said her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) somehow sent her a “sign.”
Poe revealed this to the media when she was asked how her mother reacted to Arroyo’s ascension as House’s top leader.
“Huwag na lang tayong pumunta diyan, ibang bagay iyon, napakapersonal,” Poe told reporters before joining the Senate majority for a caucus.
“Basta, hindi ko nga maintindihan, basta nagparamdam ang tatay ko sa akin,” she said.
The action star ran against Arroyo during the May 2004 presidential elections but lost. He filed a protest with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) but died eight months later. His wife, Susan Roces, pursued the protest but the PET dismissed the case in March 2005.
Is there no other viable candidate?
Poe, nevertheless, said she is wondering why House members chose Arroyo to lead the House of Representatives despite the trail of corruption scandals that continue to hound her.
“Kung mayroon kang gusto sigurong ma-accomplish, wala namang nagsasabing hindi siya competent o hindi siya matalino, ubod nga ng talino, (If you want to accomplish something, no one is saying she’s not competent or that she is not intelligent. In fact she is too intelligent),”
“’Di ba masyado ngang matalino na minsan hindi natin—‘yun bang mga ginagawa nila ay para sa kabutihan natin o para lang sa sarili nilang interes? Yun ‘yung sa akin (She’s too smart that sometimes—we find them not doing something for the good of others but only for their personal interest? That’s how I feel),” she said.
Poe said that despite the hardship her father and their whole family faced during the 2004 elections, she still found herself sympathizing with Arroyo when the latter was ill.
“Alam mo noong eleksyon, tinanong ako, ako ba ay sang-ayon na siya ay magpagamot? Bilang isang tao na may simpatiya, bilang isang Kristiyano, oo naman ‘di ba dahil mukha naman talagang may sakit. Tapos bigla na lang ngayon makikita mo ay parang mas (malakas pa siya)—e talagang niloko lang tayong lahat ‘no (During the elections, I was asked if I agree that she should seek medical attention. As a person who sympathizes, and as a Christian, of course I agree because she really looked sick. Then now we see her like this—we are being fooled),” she lamented.
“So parang tuloy nawawala ang simpatiya mo kasi ako naman gusto ko namang maging patas, kung talagang nangangailangan bakit hindi, pero ngayon, gano’ng klase, sabi nga naka-isa ka na, naka-dalawa ka, ngayon pangatlo na, baka dapat nang kalusin, (So I’m losing sympathy , as they said, she did it once, then twice, now she did it for the third time, I think it’s time this should stop),” Poe stressed.
Poe said the fact that the new House leader who took over was another questionable character, saddened her.
“Alam mo ang nakakalungkot kasi ang pinalitan niya hindi naman din tayo sang-ayon do’n ‘di ba, pero wala na bang ibang pagpipilian? ‘Yon na lang nang ‘yon?” Poe pointed out.
With this, Poe said the people should brace for what may happen in the future especially if the Duterte administration insists on railroading Charter change and the shift to the federal form of government.
“Sa ating mga kababayan, maghanda lang kayo kasi kapag ang mga namuno sa Kongreso ay i-railroad itong Cha-cha at gawing parliamentary form, maaaring magising na lang kayo, either patas ang kapangyarihan sa Pangulong ibinoto ninyo o siya na ang magte-takeover bilang Prime Minister (To our fellowmen, just be prepared because if the House leader tries to railroad Charter change and we go to parliamentary form, we might just wake up one day she takes over as Prime Minister and being powerful as the President you voted for),” Poe warned.
“Kasi ‘di ba, ang Prime Minister naman talaga ang nagpapatakbo ng gobyerno sapagkat lahat ng kapangyarihan ay nandoon sa Kongreso do’n sa parliamentary form, (because under a parliamentary form, it is the prime minister who is tasked to run the government because all the authority would now devolve to Congress),” she pointed out.
Happening all over again
Poe lamented that everything seems to be happening all over again citing the ‘Hello, Garci’ scandal, and other anomalies that happened in the past that eventually took a toll on the country.
“Tandaan na lang natin na noong mga panahong ‘yon, ilang mga anomalya ang mga nangyari? Anong klaseng korupsiyon ang mayroon tayo? Ang halaga ng pera natin, P56 to a dollar noon, ang gasolina halos umaabot ng P50 plus per litro rin ang pinakamababa (Let’s just remember that during those days, how many anomalies happened before? What kind of corruption did we have before? The exchange rate was at P56 to a dollar before and gasoline prices soared to almost P50 per litter at the minimum?)” she pointed out.
“Bumabalik ba tayo do’n? Hinalal ang ating Pangulo dahil gusto ng tao ng pagbabago. Ako rin naman gusto ko ng pagbabago pero pagbabago na makakabuti sa atin. Hindi naman ‘yung pagbabagong hihilahin pa tayo sa mas desperadong sitwasyon (Are we going back to that time? Our President was elected because people clamored for change. I also wanted change but change that would be for our good. Not the kind of change that would further drag us down in desperate situation),” she emphasized.
Frame of support
In a separate interview, Poe narrated that a director friend texted her saying they found a framed ‘statement of support’ of all artists who backed her father when he ran for president in 2004.
She said the person gave it to her on the eve Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA).
It was before, during and after the SONA that the House power struggle between Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ensued. Arroyo eventually formally assumed as the new Speaker after getting 184 votes from House members.
“Sabi ko anong sign ito na parang…. I know my dad would not have wanted it for himself. Just be vigilant, hindi pa tapos, balik na naman tayo (it’s not yet over, we’re back to this),” she said.