Friday, August 21, 2015

An Appeal to Grace Poe-Llamanzares--Honor the Legacy and Memory of FPJ

I heard what Grace Poe told my fellow journalists when she graced the birthday celebration of her adopting father before his tomb yesterday. When asked about her plans for 2016, Poe says:

"There are so many character traits of FPJ that I really admire. But even though I admire him, I’m thinking: ‘Am I really capable?’ Yes, he ran for president, but I am studying my options very carefully because I think what is important is that I honor his memory and that I don’t destroy his legacy,” she said.(Read more at"

Thanks,  Mrs. Poe-Llamanzares, thanks for considering your father, Fernando Poe Jr. With this statement, I am slowly reconsidering  giving Grace Poe-Llamanzares, the benefit of the doubt.

Fernando Poe Jr died with his honor intact. When he was running his candidacy, Fernando Poe Jr never succumbed to his own selfish desires--he agreed to run because he saw there was a need for private citizens like him, to stand against the creeping totalitarianism being espoused by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

When we were still helping FPJ (I was the PR man of Amina Rasul, a senatorial candidate under the FPJ banner), several hundreds of businessmen flocked to FPJ, all desiring to place their bets in his favor. Some of these businessmen have spotty records.

There were several others who also went and tried to get an audience with FPJ. Some of them were known jueteng lords. You know what FPJ did? FPJ politely rejected their overtures. Those millions being offered to him to fund his candidacy could have changed the endgame, so to speak, yet FPJ stood his ground. No to illegal money. No to election contributors whose offers were tied with giving them favors the minute FPJ wins.

That explains why FPJ ran his campaign with very limited funds. There were times when we go to sorties armed with nothing more than our courage and a few hundreds of pesos. Yet we campaigned hard for him.

I risked my personal safety just to campaign for FPJ. I went out of my comfort zone, believing back then that an FPJ win would totally change things. FPJ, for me, was that man on horseback. Believe me, I did not earn a single cent from that campaign. The fact is, I used my own money just to help FPJ win over an accomplished and well-funded opponent.

We were running a campaign with dignity, honor,  and integrity. Our political leader has a rock-solid integrity. FPJ was running under a platform of Honor.

When we were cheated, I was one of those who really felt anger. That explains why I led several groups in that historic Welcome Rotunda rally. I was with Tita Midz (Tita Armida Siguion-Reyna), along with Bibette Orteza and her husband, direk Siguion-Reyna and several others at a makeshift stage atop a flatbed truck.

I remember being hosed down by dirty water by the police back then. Tita Midz was just starting to speak when she got hit by water sprayed at our direction. Police confiscated the truck and asked us to go down.

We went back to Burger King when we learned that FPJ was going there after his meeting at the Sto Domingo church. When we saw our principal, silence ensued. I saw FPJ's eyes. He was angry inside but never succumbed to his emotions. Had FPJ been weak, he could have played with the mob's emotions and called for a revolt. He did not. Back then, I never understood why. Later, I realized that what FPJ did was out of compassion for us. We were like basang sisiw back then. He probably felt pity seeing us all wet. FPJ had a very kind heart in him. He feels for his compatriots.

FPJ taught me a very valuable lesson in life---never be like your enemies. One must rise above them. If they used terror tactics against you, respond with restraint. If you use force, you will only act like them, and realizing that they are stronger than you, even if you use equal force, you will never achieve victory because your enemy will just use more lethal force seeing that you just engaged them and justified their action.

Madame Grace Poe-Llamanzares, if you are listening, hear my voice---honor your Father's memory and keep his legacy intact by not playing politics. Do not succumb to the offers of these businessmen. These sweet entreaties have blunt ends.