MANILA - Senator Francis Escudero defended his presidential running mate, Senator Grace Poe, against criticisms that she lacks enough experience to become president, turning the tables on the administration's Liberal Party (LP).
LP stalwarts, including President Aquino, have called Poe unripe for the presidency even as they were courting her to be the running mate of their standard-bearer Mar Roxas.
Escudero, however, said experience is not the most important quality for anyone aspiring to be the country’s highest official, citing President Aquino as an example.
“Noong 2010, noong tumakbo si Pangulong Aquino, mas may karanasan si Secretary Roxas sa kanya. Tila hindi naman isyu sa LP ang karanasan noong pinili nila si Pangulong Aquino kaysa si Secretary Roxas (When President Aquino ran in 2010, Secretary Roxas had more experience than him. Experience did not seem to be an issue for LP when they chose President Aquino over Secretary Roxas),” he said at a news forum.
“Marami nang nagawa si Pangulong Aquino. Malayo-layo na rin ang naparating niya sa ating bansa bagaman noong nagsimula siya ay wala siyang karanasan (President Aquino has accomplished a lot. The country has gone quite far under him even if he started without experience).”
Poe served for three years as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board before being elected senator with an overwhelming mandate.
Just two years into her first term as senator, polls showed Poe a leading contender for the presidency. On September 16, she declared her intention to run for the position.
Poe’s camp said she has had important accomplishments during her relatively short experience as legislator, including steering the Freedom of Information bill to passage at the Senate.
Meanwhile, Escudero also turned the tables on LP when asked about its members who are taking him to task for supporting Jejomar Binay in the 2010 vice presidential elections. Vice President Binay, the opposition’s presidential candidate, is facing corruption allegations.
“Sinisisi din ba ninyo si Secretary Roxas at Pangulong Aquino sa pagsuporta kay Pangulong Arroyo laban kay FPJ knowing already after the fact what GMA did for 10 years in the country? (Do you also blame Secretary Roxas and President Aquino for supporting President Arroyo against FPJ knowing already after the fact what GMA did for 10 years in the country?)” he said.
“Knowing history already, ano ba ang ginawa sa atin ni Pangulong Arroyo (what has President Arroyo done for us)? Shouldn’t they be also called to task for that?”
Poe’s late adoptive father Fernando Poe Jr., popularly known as FPJ, ran for president in the 2004 elections against then incumbent President Gloria Arroyo but lost amid allegations of widespread cheating.
Arroyo would face various accusations of corruption throughout her 2004-2010 term, one of which—the alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds—she is currently in jail and being tried for.