On Monday, I will vote Grace Poe for president of the Philippines. All things considered, I think she is the best candidate for the job. My three reasons why:
First, a Grace Poe presidency opens many possibilities for progressive reform and social change.
Of all leading presidential candidates, she is the only one that does not belong to a political clan or dynasty. She has not benefitted as much from corruption or the abuse of political power that her fellow candidates have. Her father, in fact, was a victim of the vicious kind of politics that she has vowed to reform.
As a testament to her open mindedness, she is the only candidate who earnestly and consistently engaged with the Makabayan Coalition for a joint platform of government. To show her commitment to such an endeavor, she, together with her vice presidential candidate Chiz Escudero, signed a document titled “Tugon sa mga Hinaing at Mithiin ng Bayan Para sa Pagbabago at Pag-unlad ng Mamamayan.” The said document is not a mere politician’s promise made during a stump speech. Rather, it is a clear and deliberate articulation of what to expect from her administration and lays the basis for the progressive movement’s engagement with her government. That she has taken pains to do this shows her respect for my own principles and the social movements that I am part of, and her readiness to pursue a number of political and economic reforms we advocate.
Second, I believe in Grace Poe’s integrity and competence.
In her stint as Chairperson of the MTRCB and as senator of the Republic, she has proven to be a competent, upright, courageous and independent-minded leader. She has no pretentions about knowing more than she does and is humble enough to study on the job and seek counsel from those with more experience and wisdom. She is not hobbled by any issue of immorality, corruption, misuse or abuse of power and therefore has the moral authority to be a champion of good governance.
On her receiving funds from Danding Cojuangco and other big businessmen I have this to say: THEY ALL DO. That is not an issue against her. That is an issue against all aspirants for national positions.
On her citizenship I have this to say: she IS a Filipino. She turned American for a while and would have remained an American like millions of our other kababayan if not for her sense of duty to the country. I have no doubt that she loves her country and our people just like any other balikbayan, including Jim Paredes.
Third, Grace Poe is a woman, wife and mother.
As a husband and father myself, I am a daily witness to the greatness of women who are able to work, run a household and nurture a family all at the same time. I honestly think that given the same amount of skill, wisdom and integrity, a woman will always trump a man in any position.
Will Grace Poe be able to eliminate chronic poverty, rampant criminality and corruption in government? Will she be able to create enough jobs and livelihood for our people? Will she be able to end landlordism and semi-feudal oppression? Will she liberate us from imperialist plunder and domination?
Let’s put it this way. Like all presidential candidates, Grace is not out to establish a revolutionary government. On the contrary, they are all running to lead a hopelessly corrupt and reactionary regime. We in the progressive people’s movement will work with Grace or whoever sits as president in trying to change the system. But as part and beneficiary of that very same system, they can only do so much to change it.
Grace can probably run the government better, put more priority on social programs and services, even actually fulfil her commitment in the above mentioned document she and Chiz signed. But that remains to be seen, depending on how she actually rules.
For now, I’m voting Grace Poe for president knowing that with her at the helm, the country will be in better hands.#