It is now official. Senator Grace Poe who appeared in minor roles as child actress in his father’s two movies, “Durugin si Totoy Bato” and Dugo ng Bayan” finally declared yesterday, September 16, at the Bahay ng Alumni at the University of the Philippines Diliman her intention to run for the presidency. It is in the same venue where Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ, the undisputed King of Philippine Movies, also declared his political plans in 2003.
As I have told you before, majority of the people of Occidental Mindoro gave big numbers to FPJ gaining 78,688 votes over his latter-days nemesis in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who only reaped 34,267 votes compared to Susan Roces’ husband. The question if our votes for FPJ could also be “inherited” by Grace Poe remains a question. Our local Liberal Party members (Read: the Tropang Marangal) should work overtime to let the results of the 2016 elections in the province be “full of Mar” instead of “full of Grace” or whoever.
Governor Mario Gene J. Mendiola himself that is a living proof that empathy - sympathy vote is a big factor in Occidental Mindoro elections when fresh from University of California, he won as congressman in our province’s lone district in 1987 after his politician father, the late Assemblyman Pedro T. Mendiola who served from 1978-1986 and was gunned down while he was delivering his speech at the plaza of San Vicente, Sablayan in April, 1986,- just few months away from election season. Not unlike Senator Grace, he promised then to continue what his father had started.
While Senator Grace Poe’s father died with a "broken-heart" because of the alleged election anomalies which victimized our screen idol-turned-politician and ultimately his victory was snatched from him, Governor Gene’s father died with his brave heart intact.
Deep empathy and sympathy runs unfathomable in the Filipino heart and this is what Grace Poe is capitalizing on. She anchored everything in the memory of her father to get elected. But Senator Poe admitted that her biggest capital is the name of her father. In fact, before her announcement yesterday at UP, there was a showing of emotionally-charged clips of Da King’s movies before she went upstage.
And let us not forget that BS Aquino III himself is a product of empathy-sympathy vote when he announced his candidacy after his mother died of cancer. Let us see if Grace would also get the big numbers that Occidental Mindoro voters gave to his father more than a decade ago.
The realm of empathy-sympathy in politics is indeed so mysterious, at least to me…