'Amazing Grace'

Posted at 05/15/2013 1:50 AM | Updated as of 05/15/2013 2:38 AM

MANILA - Grace Poe, adopted daughter of veteran actress Susan Roces and the late King of Philippine Movies Fernando Poe, Jr. (FPJ), still leads the senatorial race with 69% of the election results processed as of 12:07 a.m. Wednesday.

Although the former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chair was expected to win a seat in the mid-term elections, none of the pre-election surveys indicated she would top the senatorial race.

Pulse Asia's last pre-election survey on May 10-11 predicted she would place 2nd at best, while SWS's last pre-election survey on May 2-3 predicted she would place 5th.

Both pollsters had reelectionist Senator Loren Legarda as the number one senator in the 2013 mid-term elections.

Poe herself said she's "extremely surprised," with the result, adding she just wanted to be not in the tail end.

"(I was) extremely surprised...dear God I pray you would put me in a comfortable spot... 11th and 12th could be very contentious," she said Tuesday.


"Amazing Grace," is how UP sociologist and political analyst Randy David describes the surprise showing of Poe.

Poe is leading in nearly all regions of the country except in the Visayas, where her late father also did poorly in the 2004 presidential elections.

But just like the support her father got in 2004, she's getting big margins in the vote-rich National Capital Region, Ilocos, Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog.

As of early Wednesday, she maintained a 1.2 million lead over Legarda, who has since congratulated Poe for topping the race.


Several factors have been cited by political analysts for Poe's victory.

UP Prof. Prospero de Vera said it is partly "vindication" of what happened to her father in the 2004 presidential elections.

FPJ narrowly lost to re-electionist President Gloria Arroyo, but the 'Hello Garci' scandal in 2005 provided evidence that he was cheated.

FPJ had, in fact, filed an electoral protest against Arroyo but his death in December 2004 made it moot.

Ateneo Prof. Benito Lim attributes Poe's performance partly to empathy from the poor.

"Nobody could have predicted that she will be number one…Days ago, I was in the squatters’ area, they said they would be voting for Grace Poe. They said, ‘Kawawa kasi ang tatay niya, inapi ni Gloria,'" Lim said.


Lim said many also saw Poe as "magaling, matalino."

De Vera said the those from the upper and middle class also supported Poe, which means she has a diverse support base.

Another analyst, UP assistant professor Dr. Nicole Curato, said Poe's smart, disciplined campaign had a clear message.

"She could have had mixed messages, and say, 'But you know, aside from my father, I also have my own qualification.' But she didn’t do that in her ads,” Curato said.

“She was just very clear that she is Grace Poe, that she is her father’s daughter, which was a very disciplined way of looking at it,” she added.

Curato said Poe can be considered as a "consensus candidate."

“She’s a consensus candidate in the sense that although she’s part of Team PNoy, we also see a lot of people from UNA (United Nationalist Alliance) giving her support to her,” she said, citing the support Poe got from former President Joseph Estrada, her father's best friend.


Her participation in nearly all of the election debates allowed her to show her intelligence.

Although she may not appear to have a political background, David noted that Poe has a bachelor's degree in political science from Boston College.

"Matalino. I'm impressed. Malinaw mag-eksplika," David told radio dzMM.

"Iyung pinakita niya sa MTRCB, pambihira yon," he added. "I served in [the MTRCB] appeals committee. What you balance there is decency and censorship. Nami-miss daw nila [MTRCB] siya."

He believes that Poe is ready for the Senate and has the potential to excel as a legislator.

"Of course. She did not miss a debate. When she does not know the answer, she would say I haven't studied that," David said. "Gusto ng mga Pilipino iyan, totoong tao ito."

Curato also said Poe was consistent in all the debates. "In a way, even if the ads had that consistent message that says 'I'm FPJ's daughter,' through the debates, she was able to exemplify that 'I know something and that I stand for something.'"


Poe on Tuesday explained her decision to attend the debates during the campaign.

"This is my responsibility to the people if I would like them to earn my trust. How can I defend my stand if I won't even show up in these debates?" she said.

Aside from family, friends, and supporters Grace also thanked a fellow candidate.

"It's really Senator Chiz [Escudero] who helped me in this campaign. He was selfless. I mean he's a [fellow Team PNoy] candidate himself pero yung term na 'binitbit talaga,' ako kasi I was such a dead weight for him eh," she said.

In Malacañang, officials are congratulating Poe.

"We are certainly very happy that Grace Poe did very very well. It was not expected even by the surveys, and we certainly hope for the best for senator-elect Grace Poe," Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said. - with reports from ANC