Poe holds her own in debates


BAGUIO CITY, PH — Independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe sniped at political rival and administration standard bearer Mar Roxas, alluding to him as the “driver of a stalled vehicle.”

In her latest remarks against Roxas, Poe defended herself from Roxas’ attacks during the recent presidential debate organized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and its media partners for the 2016 polls held at Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City.

Roxas likened the presidential race to a search for a family driver where parents would not allow their loved ones in the hands of a driver who is inexperienced, hotheaded and a crook.

“To whom would you entrust the safety of your children? To a person who has a robbery case? To a hothead who would figure in an accident? Or to someone who is just learning to drive? “ asked Roxas during the debate.

“Or entrust them to somebody you have known for a long time and who has been serving you for a long time and there was never a time when he put you at a disadvantage or abused you and he has a good recommendation from his former employer,” Roxas extended his metaphor.

Although he did not mention names, Roxas was obviously referring to Poe who is a neophyte in government service, Duterte and Santiago who are both known for their temper, and Binay who is facing a string of large-scale corruption allegations.

During the political rally at the Melvin Jones Grandstand in Burnham Park here, Poe countered Roxas’ jab at her when he also told her that the presidency is not like undergoing an on-the-job training (OJT).

“They told me that I am just on an OJT, and they asked, ‘will you allow a neophyte to drive your car?’ And this is my answer to them. There are many Filipinos who have no car. And this is also my answer—I would rather choose a new driver who is good than one who has been driving for years without parking his car,” Poe said.

Facing her critics head-on, Poe said she was not only qualified to be president but she would do things more efficiently than self-proclaimed experienced politicians.

She also took potshots at Binay who has repeatedly questioned her ability to lead the country, her being new in politics.

“They said I am just new, do not know anything and have no experience. My answer to them—you’re right, I have no experience and no corruption,” stressed Poe, referring to Binay.

She called on the public to believe her and her partymates at PGP that if a President will designate competent people in the government and jail the violators, “we will not reach this point.”

“We just need swift actions,” said Poe, noting that the lives of the people would be alleviated if those in the government were honest people who can be trusted and are concerned.

During a multi-sectoral consultation at the Mt. Province General Comprehensive High School in Bontoc, the Poe-Escudero vowed to build dynamic food terminals, provide more post-harvest facilities, scrap irrigation fees, and ensure that education is free for the poor from pre-school to college.

This strategic move targetted the Cordillera Administrative Region and its high incidence of poverty wwith a local economy dependent on farming. Sixty percent of poor Filipinos are in the agricultural sector.

Poe stood out in the debate, according to political observers and analysts.

For political analyst Ramon Casiple, Poe was the night’s “revelation” after she came prepared with facts and proposals. He also commended the senator for being “presidential and calm.” Political analyst and De La Salle University Professor Richard Heydarian added that Poe was “forceful, assertive, and displayed familiarity with issues.”

For Rappler editors, Poe took rounds 2 and 3 of the debate, which focused on poverty and development and other national issues.

But while the general sentiment on her performance was positive, Poe said there is still much to improve on for the next two presidential debates. (SWCA)