Grace Poe’s unintended slur-A A +A
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
THE rains forced the Liberal Party (LP) to move their Senate slate’s campaign rally from an open field in front of the new Talisay city hall to a covered court in Tabunok the other night. The President was in town. The show had to go on, rain or shine.
Only six of the Team Pinoy Senate bets showed up. Four sent representatives. Two were nowhere to be found. Well, the campaign season has only started. I’m sure they’ll find time to come to Cebu and court our 2.5 million voters.
But if comparisons have to be made between the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and the LP visits, we cannot but notice that the former appears to be more cohesive, compared to Team Pinoy. In the UNA rally at the Plaza Independencia, all the nine “exclusive candidates” of the party were in attendance while two of the three common candidates sent proxies.
Maybe, the weather had something to do with it. The UNA rally was held in perfect weather; the threat of a storm hovered over the LP activity. Sen. Francis Escudero allegedly did not make it to Cebu the other day because his flight was cancelled on account of “Crising.” It must be pointed out, though, that Escudero also did not attend the UNA rally. Neither did he send a representative.
The only common candidate who shared the stage with Aquino in the Talisay campaign sortie was Grace Poe Llamanzares. I’m afraid, however, that her drive to win the hearts of the Cebuanos may have started on a sour note with her claim that her late father, actor Fernando Poe Jr., was cheated in Cebu.
In fairness to her, Poe was quick to point out that she did not believe that the Cebuanos did the cheating. But if what she’s saying is that it happened right in our own backyard, before our very eyes and that we did nothing, the implication would still be unfavorable to us. Allowing cheating to happen is just as evil as committing the cheating itself.
We remember what happened in 2004 when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who ascended to Malacañang a little less than four years earlier by virtue of people power, sought her own mandate to the presidency. She beat Poe in a very tight race but not in Cebu where she was a runaway winner, beating her rival by more than 800,000 votes.
Poe’s camp immediately complained that massive cheating marred the elections in Cebu and in Maguindanao where Arroyo also scored hugely. Being mentioned in the same breath as Ampatuan’s kingdom was insulting enough and Erap Estrada made it worse by parading four or five hooded men in a press conference, identifying them as witnesses to the election fraud here. Then they disappeared, never to be heard again.
There seems to be no doubt that they cheated for Arroyo and her candidates in Maguindanao. But in Cebu? We have one of the most closely-guarded elections in the country, with volunteers from the political parties, election watchdogs and even members of media stationed in polling places by the time the polling places open. No cheating, especially of the magnitude that they want the nation to believe, could have taken place without anyone taking notice and, more importantly, complaining.
I voted in a southern town in 2004 and dropped by, on my way to the city, many schools where they were counting the votes. In all these places, Arroyo was routing Poe, 9 to 1. This trend was reported on radio that same evening. It was in the papers the following day.
Grace Poe may have been fed wrong information and on that basis concluded that her father was cheated here. I’m sure she has many friends in Cebu now. She should ask them and then apologize to the Cebuanos for her unintended slur.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 21, 2013.