EVEN as Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares still has to decide whether to run for president in 2016, some of us are already comparing her to Hillary Clinton who last Saturday (Sunday in Manila) launched her candidacy in the US elections.

They say America and this country could have a woman president next year. Hillary would be the first for the US but Grace would be our third, after Corazon Aquino (1986-1992) and Gloria Arroyo (2001-2010), which must tell the world something about Filipino attitude on being led by women.

Other than both being women who could be president in the same year, Hillary and Grace

have nothing much in common.

Hillary is former First Lady, senator and secretary of state. Grace still has to complete her first three years as senator and log longer experience in legislation and governance. Her skill and aplomb in steering the Mamasapano hearings wasn’t a guarantee, only a promise.

Hillary drew some political force from her husband Bill Clinton who has shown his acumen in White House years and his post-presidency, even if she also had to bear stigma and pain of scandals from his rampant womanizing.


Grace benefited from her adoptive father Fernando Poe Jr.’s filmdom popularity, affirmed in his 2004 failed bid for the presidency, which drew sympathy for her when she ran for the Senate in 2013. She topped the race, clearly not just on her own merit. It was Poe, not Llamanzares, that voters thought about when they filled their ballots.

Hillary has already decided she must try again (she lost in the 2008 Democrats’ primary to Barack Obama). Grace is still being coy even as flags waving “Go” are visible and her would-be rivals are convinced she would.

But here’s the thing: Grace, like Hillary, must have a clear vision of what she’d do as president, not just because she has better chances to win.