CANDELARIA—A day after securing the legal mandate to run from the Supreme Court (SC), independent presidential candidate Sen. Grace Poe on Wednesday said many candidates from other political parties have expressed support to her candidacy.
”Yes,” Poe answered when asked by the media here if there are already candidates who expressed intention to support her.
”I don’t want to be boastful, there are (candidates) who want to join and help us,” she told the media without naming names during the Partigo Galing at Puso (PGP)’s campaign sortie in Quezon Province.
Speaking to supporters in Lopez, Quezon, Poe said the SC’s landmark decision allowing her, a foundling, to run for the highest post of the land gives her the chance to prove that she can serve Filipinos even if she lacks the political machinery of her opponents.
”Yesterday you have heard the SC decision. It was an emotional moment for me. I’m not hungry for power. I just want to be used as instrument to provide a better government service for the Filipino people,” Poe said, drawing applause from the crowd.
Poe vowed to work harder, saying she would not take revenge against those who filed petitions to disqualify her.
”All of those legal ramblings and all of those legal questions, I believe, was already settled by the Supreme Court. It’s up to them if they don’t believe it. You know, in victory, there should be magnanimity,” she said.
Under her “Gobyernong may Puso,” Poe said farmers would receive greater assistance and poor students will get college scholarships, whether they want to study in state universities or in private schools.
At the Enverga University, Poe presented her platforms of government including her proposal to provide free internet in all public colleges and universities, drawing loud applause from the students and teachers.
To ensure an open and transparent government, Poe said the first executive order she will issue, should she win the presidency, is the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) provisions, sans legislation.
Poe said the FOI order will mandate all executive offices to comply with the FOI principles that she has championed in the Senate.
”If I will win as president, what I will do right in my first day is to issue an executive order that all executive branches of government should have freedom of information and then will make it a priority measure to make it a law,” she said.
Poe is the primary sponsor of the FOI bill in Congress while her running mate, Sen. Francis Escudero is the primary author. They are in Quezon for the fifth week of their campaign, stopping in Lopez, Lucban, Tayabas, Candelaria and Lucena City.
The bill was passed by the Senate in March 2014 with 22 affirmative votes, no abstention and no negative votes. However, the proposed measure is still up for second reading at the House of Representatives and is not likely to pass in the 16th Congress.
Poe said she is optimistic that given the right direction, the next set of lawmakers will make the FOI bill a priority.
Under the measure, the public will have the right to access government records subject to the procedures and limitations provided by law. The FOI bill also mandates all government agencies to publish and make available for download their budget, expenses and audited financial statements.
She said it was baffling that there is still no law that would enable the constitutional provision on access to government information. Since 1987, more than 20 bills on freedom of information have been filed in Congress but most did not make it to the plenary.
Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) spokesman Mark Enverga is the first district representative of Quezon, which has 1.1 million registered voters.
Poe said Quezon had a special place in the heart of her late father, movie icon Fernando Poe Jr. who ran for president in 2004 but lost due to alleged massive electoral fraud.
She recalled how FPJ himself packed relief goods to distribute to Quezon after disaster hit the province.