MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Grace Poe-Llamanzares, daughter of the late Action King Fernando Poe Jr., is dropping the name of her husband to strengthen her bid in the Senate race.
Speaking to ANC, Llamanzares said her family had to talk to her husband about their decision to push the Poe name during the campaign since it is more recognizable to people.
She noted that her ratings shot up after her maiden name was used in pre-election surveys. Llamanzares is currently tied with Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV at 10th-11th in the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
"In some of the survey companies, they use Mary Grace P. Llamanzares so people really did not know it was me. Second of course, it makes a big difference when a candidate declares his or her intention to run. It's been made clear and of course we have made efforts to go around," she told Mornings@ANC.
Asked if she will drop the surname Llamanzares in the official ballot, she said: "Not dropping, it's just that Poe is easier to, admittedly, is more popular. For the most part of our lives, we were actually caleld by that middle name of ours. I claim it to be mine too. A huge part of what I am is how my parents raised me."
"I spoke to my husband abut this. He's not offended because I guess he's secure in our relationship."
Llamanzares revealed she wanted to run for senator as early as 2007 but was stopped by her mother, actress Susan Roces.
"My mom said 'Prove yourself first in public service before you run for public office.' But of course she said that so boldly because she figured 'How?' Right? No one is going to appoint me. And then here comes the opportunity, President Noynoy who admittedly I did not campaign for, I did not publicly endorse, appointed me based on the recommendation of people in the industry," she said.
She said her mother later told her: "Ok. Wag mo akong pahiyain. Do your best and let's see."
She said her mother has already committed to join her on the campaign trail.
Llamanzares said the upcoming senatorial election will be one of the tightest in history due to a number of famous names joining the race. Some of the candidates that did not make it to Magic 12 in the latest SWS survey include Sonny Angara, Richard Gordon and Jamby Madrigal.
"(It's) supposedly the tightest...The situation is very precarious so you just have to work harder and hopefully gain the trust of the public," she said.
Llamanzares previously served as chairwoman of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board before joining the senatorial election.
The former MTRCB chief said her greatest challenge now is converting the people's love for her dad into votes come Election Day. She said that her father's popularity as an actor does not automatically mean that she has earned credibility as a politician.
"It's really a tough act to follow because you are trying to convert the trust that they had for my dad. First of all, FPJ is altogether on a different level. He wasn't really in politics. He was more iconic in I guess the sense of more culture. It doesn't mean that just because he ran that I have that household name when it comes to the Senate race unlike Binay or Enrile," she said.
"You have to prove yourself. It is a totally different field," she added.
If elected senator, she said she will continue the vision of her father to provide food on the tables of Filipinos.
One project that she wants to start once elected is a lunch program in public schools. She said one reason why many kids drop out of grade schools is because they have no food.
"We cannot expect children to learn properly if they are hungry. With the Nutrition Council, we could probably come out with a new menu that is affordable especially with the K+12 instituted. This can be part of an amendment or part of a provision added to the K+12 program," she said.
She also pushed for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill, which is needed to keep the electorate informed.
"An informed electorate is necessary for a strong, vibrant democracy. We need the FOI Bill so all government agencies will be obliged to keep good records," she said.