It was almost midnight when Sen. Grace Poe made it to retired Col. Ariel Querubin’s birthday at the Clubhouse at Camp Aguinaldo last Monday, March 28. But she looked happy and energized.
She told the remaining few guests that she came from the proclamation rally of former President Joseph Estrada, who is running for re-election as Manila City mayor, at Plaza Miranda.
She related that Estrada called her up the night before to tell her that he had decided to endorse her.
At the Plaza Miranda rally, Estrada told the cheering crowd, “Mga kasama, mga kaibigan, palakpakan po natin ang aking inaanak, ang susunod na pangulo ng Pilipinas, walang iba kundi si Grace Poe.”
A grateful Poe, Estrada’s goddaughter, responded: “Ninong, maraming-maraming salamat po sa inyong pag-endorso sa akin, nakakataba po talaga ng puso. Alam ko ito ay isang desisyon na pinag-isipan ninyong mabuti. Alam kong mahal mo ang aking ama, pero alam ko na ang mga desisyon na ganito ay para rin sa bayan.”
There was a lot of speculation who Estrada would endorse between Vice President Jejomar Binay who was his running mate in the 2010 elections and co-leader of the political opposition and Poe, who is the daughter of his best friend, the late Fernando Poe, Jr.
Estrada’s endorsement of Poe goes beyond his Manila constituency of almost a million votes. Poe needs Erap’s voting clout in Mindanao where she lags behind Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
In the March 22 survey conducted by Social Weather Stations post-second presidential debate for TV5 by mobile phone, Poe led with 35 percent of the respondents who were asked whom they will vote if elections were held today. It was a nine percentage point difference over closest rival Duterte with 26 percent.
Binay came in third with 18 percent, Mar Roxas was fourth with 17 per cent and Miriam Santiago, who did not participate in the second debate, got two percent.
In that survey, Poe was the number choice (43 per cent) in Luzon which has 55.95 percent (30,417,790) of the 2016 total voting population of 54,363,844. Binay was a far second with 24 percent. Duterte got only 16 per cent and Roxas 15 per cent.
In the Visayas, supposedly the region of Roxas because he is from Capiz, Poe led with 35 per cent followed closely by Roxas with 30 per cent. Duterte was third with 21 per cent, Binay, 10 per cent and Santiago, who is from Iloilo got only two per cent.
Visayas accounts for 20.82 percent (11,316,789) of the total voting population.
In Mindanao, however, Duterte dominated his rivals with 49 percent. Poe got only 25 percent, Binay and Roxas each got 12 per cent. Mindanao’s voting population is 12,629,265 or 23.23 per cent of the national total.
Mindanao, where 11 of 20 poorest provinces are located, has always been known as “Erap country.” Some attribute Estrada’s popularity in Mindanao to his being a silver screen hero, just like Poe’s father, FPJ, who cannot be defeated and killed in the movie or else his fans will shoot the screen.
Other say many Mindanaons approve of Estrada’s hardline stand against rebels.
In the 2010 elections, Estrada won in Mindanao over Aquino.
This is where Poe needs her Ninong’s voters charisma.