PRESIDENTIAL candidate Sen. Grace Poe yesterday said she has to work hard and reach out directly to Cebuano voters in areas where she cannot get the support of Cebu’s political leaders.
In a press conference in the house of former Toledo City vice mayor Aurelio Espinosa, Poe and her running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero, discussed the chances of their getting more allies among local politicians.
She acknowledged that Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III is supporting Liberal Party’s Mar Roxas while gubernatorial challenger Winston Garcia of One Cebu is supporting Vice President Jejomar Binay for president.
But because Rep. Joseph Ace Durano (Cebu Province, 5th district) of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) is their campaign manager, Poe said she remains hopeful that Bakud will support her and Escudero. Bakud is led by Danao City Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano III, Ace’s father.
“Ace is very amiable and intelligent. We are grateful to Congressman Durano. But when it comes to Bakud, any statement of support must come from them,” Poe said.
In the same press conference, Poe admitted she attended the recent birthday celebration of President Benigno Aquino III in Malacañang because she was invited and they remain friends despite their political differences.
Reporters then asked Poe if she would protect Aquino from lawsuits, over such matters as the Mamasapano encounter and the Disbursement Acceleration Program, if she is elected President. She responded: “A president must not intervene in the justice system. But we must also know that the president did not commit graft and corruption.”
Poe also said that if she wins as president, her husband, an American citizen, will take care of their family and will not throw his weight around Malacañang.
Poe said she would certify as urgent the passage of an Anti-Dynasty Bill even if it will affect political clans who support her candidacy. The 1987 Constitution prohibited political dynasties, but left it to Congress to pass a law that would do so.
When she was asked why she associated with the Espinosas of Toledo City and the Duranos of Danao City, who are considered political clans, Poe said there is no anti-dynasty law yet.
She said that she met former Toledo City mayor Arlene Espinosa-Sambo when the latter visited her in the Senate a few months ago and offered the family’s support to her and Escudero.
“I readily accepted their support because Toledo City has a lot of potentials to explore, from mining to irrigation to power and many more,” Poe said.
Meanwhile, Escudero urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to do their best in preparing for the May 9, 2016 elections, rather than speculating about having to postpone some local elections if the printing of ballots is delayed.
“The Comelec has no power to change the date of election because that is unconstitutional,” Escudero said.
The latest surveys released by Pulse Asia Research and Laylo Research Strategies both showed Senator Poe in the lead among presidential candidates.
Of 1,800 registered voters surveyed last Jan. 24 to 28, about 30 percent told Pulse Asia they would vote for Poe, the social news site Rappler (www.rappler.com) reported.
In the Laylo survey, conducted from Jan. 27 to Feb. 4, about 29 percent of respondents chose Poe, which was one percentage point higher than her results in December, Rappler also pointed out.