By Maricel V. Cruz
THE camp of Senator Grace Poe on Thursday said alleged fake supporters of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. are urging her to reconsider her 2016 presidential bid and are trying to picture her as an uncaring and ungrateful leader.
Poe spokesman Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian contested the statements of Daniel Sia de Jesus, who claimed to be one of the original leaders of the Filipinos for Peace, Justice and Progress Movement (FPJPM) that backed the presidential candidacy of Poe’s father in 2004.
“There is no truth that [FPJ supporters] have withdrawn their support for the presidential bid of Senator Grace,” Gatchalian said after De Jesus announced that she did not consult them when she announced her candidacy.
“This fact can be verified with [FPJPM]president Boots Cadsawan. Danny de Jesus, the individual who conducted the press conference, is no longer connected with the movement. He was removed from the group in 2009 for unauthorized use of FPJPM in questionable dealings. He is not authorized to speak for the group,” Gatchalian added.
During the press conference at the Cabalen Restaurant on West Avenue in Quezon City, De Jesus said: “We are concerned about her… We love her father including the people who were dear to him.”
He urged Poe to “study carefully” her presidential bid, adding that there was still time for her to turn back.
But Poe’s campaign officials said the FPJ Movement was fully behind the senator and dismissed De Jesus as someone who was removed from the group in 2009.
“They remain one of the pillars of her candidacy. The thousands of FPJ Movement members nationwide continue to serve as speakers for Senator Poe fanning her platforms of good governance, improving competitiveness and fostering inclusive growth nationwide,” said Gatchalian.
Since Poe filed her certificate of candidacy for the presidency, three separate disqualification petitions have been filed against her on the basis of her citizenship and residency. Poe on Thursday said she would abide by all orders of the Commission on Elections concerning her disqualification cases.
“Senator Grace Poe will see to it that all the legal decrees from the good commission are complied with,” Poe’s lawyer George Garcia said in a text message. Poe, the frontrunner in the presidential race according to the latest opinion polls, was told to submit a counter-affidavit on allegations by one of the petitioners, Rizalito David, that she made material misrepresentations in her certificate of candidacy when she ran for senator.
David said because she is a foundling, Poe cannot claim to be a natural-born citizen, one of the requirements for being President.
The Comelec, however, said there was no need for Poe to appear before the preliminary investigation of her case set for Nov. 3 as David had claimed in a statement.
What is required is that she file her counter-affidavit, Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said.
The Poe camp has claimed that the disqualification petitions are part of a smear campaign to condition the minds of voters that she will be disqualified.
Even the administration bet for vice president, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo said she was the victim of black propaganda.
But Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance said anybody seeking public office should expect these attacks.
UNA’s presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay was the first victim of a demolition job since he declared his intention to run way before everybody else did, Tambunting said.