First off, let’s get a few things straight. Grace Llamanzares isn’t corrupt? Sure, I’ll buy that – as long as you don’t try to sell the idea that she isn’t rich, because boy is she wealthy. No “hirap at hinagpis” there. Didn’t stick back then, won’t stick now.
Grace Llamanzares is allying with trapos? Partly an issue. Here I make a distinction: compromise for the sake of getting things done is a fact of politics, and there’s nothing wrong with it per se. “I scratch your back, you scratch my back.” The difference is in what the “you scratch my back” entails. And given who’s doing the back-scratching, well, I’ll leave it up to your imagination.
Those two out of the way:
Grace Llamanzares. Not “Grace Poe.” I don’t buy the whole “anak ni FPJ” schtick. And quite frankly, neither should anyone else. Fernando Poe Jr. was an avowed Marcos loyalist who, while maybe being a nice guy in general, neither started anything nor accomplished anything in the realm of public service. So to insist that Grace Llamanzares will “continue what her father started” is simply populist (Poepulist?) and pandering. Stop selling the brand, start selling the product.
Speaking of product: what is Grace Llamanzares, really? She had a forgettable stint as MTRCB Chair, after which she rode on Liberal Party machinery to ride to the top of the Senate polls in 2013. She’s had a lackluster half-term as Senator. One of her few claims to fame is how Sen. Enrile managed to arm-twist her into reopening the Mamasapano probe – which resulted in no new findings and was a complete and utter waste of time and taxpayer pesos. What makes her think she’s qualified to become President?
I’ll tell you what: surveys. Grace Llamanzares ran for President because the surveys at the time indicated she could win.
(Aside: People like to make a direct comparison with PNoy. Let me settle that right now: there is no comparison. PNoy spent 9 years as a House representative and used that time to study and understand government finance. Remember when people poked fun at PNoy for “fiscalizing?” That’s what it was, and now he’s used that experience to bring our economy to a point where we can realistically begin to truly address poverty within the next decade. Grace Llamanzares has NO such experience. What. So. Ever.)
It came as a surprise to absolutely no one when Grace Llamanzares rejected Roxas’ offer to run as his co-tandem for the 2016 elections. Why would she? The new survey had just come out, and lo and behold, Grace Llamanzares rated higher than Roxas! Hell, she rated higher than VP Binay! So Grace Llamanzares, and only Grace Llamanzares alone, could beat VP Binay, right?
Except now her campaign is floundering in the face of the marketing enigma that is Digong Duterte (more on this in a future post). Now it is painfully clear that the Poe brand is exactly what it is – a brand – and that Grace Llamanzares isn’t the product it was hyped to be. Now her campaign is reduced to, “Binay or Roxas can’t beat Duterte in the polls! Pick me! PICK ME!”
Pick her? What on earth for?
Whenever she talks, she speaks nonsense. Multiple war rooms in Malacanang? Check. Regional Malacanang offices? Check. 4Ps without conditions – which defeats the whole point of the 4Ps? Check. Non-existent provincial hospital in Maguindanao – even when there actually *is* one? Check and mate.
The few times she talks some sense, she wants to implement things that already exist or are already under implementation. “Department of Emergency?” NDRRMC. An agency to tackle economic issues? NEDA. Zero-billing in hospitals? Already done in government hospitals. A third bridge, mass transit in Cebu? Already in the pipeline. Mass transit in Metro Manila? Already in the pipeline under the Metro Manila DREAM Plan. CCTVs for crime fighting? DILG’s Safe KAm. Greater police visibility? DILG’s Oplan Lambat Sibat. Greater grassroots participation in governance? Bottom-Up Budgeting.
Her inexperience clearly shows, but that’s not even the bad part. I personally know many of the people involved in Grace Llamanzares’ campaign, many involved in the grunt research work. They are all good people, highly intelligent and extremely capable – so why does Grace Llamanzares keep making these green newbie mistakes whenever she talks? Who is she really listening to?
I’m sure that as you’re reading this, you’re considering the recent revelations of candidate Rodrigo Duterte’s alleged millions (possibly billions) in unexplained funds coursing through his BPI accounts. I’m sure you’re thinking, “Well, sure, Grace Poe might be all this, but she sure is a better option than Duterte.” I’d agree, but honestly that really isn’t saying much; at this point a rat colony in a septic tank is a better option that Duterte. Instead I direct your attention to the strong words of Grace Llamanzares regarding Duterte’s blatant bald-faced lie about his BPI account and the alleged transactions history of said account:
That’s right. As of publication time, Grace Llamanzares has said ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about Duterte’s alleged hidden wealth. No challenge to disclose. No dare to sign waivers. Zero. Zip. Nada. Zilch.
Baka hindi pa bumabangon?
Fact is, despite how Duterte used Grace Llamanzares’ citizenship as his purported reason for running for President, Duterte has spent maybe a grand total of ten minutes talking about Grace Llamanzares throughout the past 5 months. And the reasons are simple. Duterte offers no respect for Llamanzares’ now-waning “Anak ni FPJ” brand popularity. Duterte offers no respect for Llamanzares’ political inexperience. Duterte offers no respect for Llamanzares’ complete lack of political machinery. Duterte offers no respect for Llamanzares’ perceived lack of loyalty and tendency to choose herself over others.
Most importantly, Duterte offers no respect for Llamanzares’ complete lack of a spine.
The simple fact is this: Grace Llamanzares cannot beat Rodrigo Duterte. She doomed any chance of beating Rodrigo Duterte the second she announced she would run independently and without any political party backing. She doomed those chances by continually exposing her inexperience and her inordinate focus on her adoptive father’s nonexistent legacy. She doomed those when she showed everyone she could be pushed around when Sen. Enrile got her to reopen the Senate hearings on Mamasapano – only to have absolutely nothing new come out.
She doomed the chance of beating Duterte by splitting the votes in favor of this administration between herself and Mar Roxas, just because she thought she could win.
Why not Llamanzares?
Because in choosing herself over country, she may have doomed us all.