MANILA (2nd UPDATE) - Team PNoy senatorial candidate Grace Poe is dedicating her impending victory to the memory of her father, the late actor and presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.
Poe told ABS-CBN News that the results of the midterm elections surprised her.
As of 7 a.m. Tuesday, the former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chief was leading in the senatorial race, ahead of second-placed Loren Legarda by more than a million votes.
"Masaya ako at nagpapasalamat pero pigil pa ang aking pagsasaya dahil masyado pang maaga. Ito ay partial, unofficial pa lang," Poe said.
She said, however, that she is confident of making it to the top 12 when the smoke clears. "Pero may konting kumpiyansa na makakapasok naman siguro tayo sa top 12 kaya masaya po."
Poe added that she never expected to rank number 1 in the Senate race.
"Never ko pong inasahan maging number one. Nagulat ako. Hindi talaga naging madali ang laban na ito," she said.
"Hindi ko rin masabi bakit (ako naging number one). Basta ako ay nagpapasalamat sa mga nagtiwala," she added.
"Ito po ay para sa alaala ng tatay ko," she said, referring to her father who ran and lost a hard-fought campaign against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the presidency in 2004.
The 2004 elections were marred with allegations of widespread cheating, including the infamous "Hello Garci" scandal.
Grace Poe said she trusted polling firm Pulse Asia, which showed her in 3rd to 4th place in the Senate race days before the elections.
"Si Senator Loren never ko talagang nalampasan or si Senator Chiz. Pero ako ay nagtiwala talaga sa Pulse Asia," she said.
Without naming another polling agency, Poe said she has misgivings about the results of other surveys. "Merong isa, hindi ako tiwala."
Poe said she has yet to be congratulated by President Benigno Aquino, but she sent a text message Sunday thanking him.
Journalist and blogger Raissa Robles believes that opposition leader and Vice-President Jejomar Binay secretly campaigned and carried Poe.
"Inisip ko sasi, sabi kasi ni Binay na up to 9 votes lang ang sa kanya. Secretly siguro, kinakampanya siya," she told ABS-CBN News.
"Si Erap kasi, para kay Grace Poe. I'm sure iyung 3 slots pa na iyon, kasama si Grace Poe," Robles said.
"Parang iyung mga boto ni Grace Poe, galing sa PNoy team, Binay team," she added.
Poe was initially a guest candidate of Binay's United Nationalist Alliance until the opposition bloc dropped her, Loren Legarda, and Francis Escudero because they didn't join sorties.
Even political analyst and UP Vice-President for Public Affairs Prospero "Popoy" De Vera was surprised with Poe's performance.
He described her numbers as looking like "a runaway victory."
"Malaki ang pagitan between number 1 and number 2 (in the ongoing Senate race tally)," he told ABS-CBN News Tuesday.
"At the rate she is going, as high as 65% ang makukuha niya. Mataas na mataas makukuha niya," De Vera said.
What then, made her perform well in the elections?
"Mayroon sigurong mga lugar na hindi nakuha ang (mga) survey," De Vera explained. "Malakas siya across the board."
He partly attributed it to Poe's late campaign surge. "Iyung dulo ng ads niya, kasama si Susan Roces. Baka factor iyon."
He said Poe's victory is "vindication" of the death and alleged cheating done to her father.
"Very competent naman si Grace Poe on her own merits. Doon sa mga debate, magaling siyang sumagot," he said. "But apparently, mas mayroon magic iyung apelyido and she became number 1."