Sen. Grace Poe, with her adoptive mother, actress Susan Roces, in tow, drawing shrieks from a crowd of admirers, Thursday officially joined next year's presidential derby, vowing to pursue a platform of government that would benefit all and not just a few.
She said she would pursue the programs of her adoptive father, the late movie action star Fernando Poe Jr., who died while pursuing an electoral protest accusing Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of stealing the 2004 presidential election from him.
With Poe at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) was her running mate, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero, accompanied by his wife, actress Heart Evangelista.
Poe announced that although she is running as an independent, she plans to field a full Senate slate for 12 seats composed of personalities of various political affiliations. The lineup will be announced next week from a list of those who had filed their certificates of candidacy (COCs). The deadline ends at 5 p.m. today (Friday).
The former chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board said she would bring her plans for the country to the people who, according to her, should feel and see for themselves that the government is working for them. Her advocacy would be addressing poverty, she said.
"At this point, the people should really feel the care and protection of the government," said the 47-year-old foundling, whose qualification for President as a natural-born citizen required under the Constitution is under question.
"I know this is the chance for us to have a government that is organised, whose care we would feel so that the lives of the poor would improve and they themselves could receive services and protection," she added.
The government has done a lot, but many people do not feel they benefit from a lot of services.
The problem of peace and order is one of these, she said. The educational system also has to be improved so that more children can get free education, and more citizens should be able to get good jobs.
"These are some of the things that we want to do which would truly give people equal opportunity, and not just a few," she said.
Asked about her edge as a candidate, Poe said she was raised by her parents to be honest and hardworking, and be the kind of person who would not dilly-dally. "I should first consider what would be good for many, and not just for myself," she added.
Poe did not provide names on her senatorial slate but said it would include people from different coalitions. What they have in common is their plan to help the country, she said.
"What is most important is that even if they come from different groups, there would be unification. That is what we want," she said. Escudero, on the other hand, stressed the need for a government with feelings.
"Our goal is to establish a government that has a heart and emotions and is able to sympathize-a nation that gets hurt when Filipinos experience natural calamities; a government that celebrates when Filipinos triumph; and a government that fumes when Filipinos are oppressed or killed."
Susan Roces and Heart Evangelista lent the glitz and glamour of show biz at the filing.
For old-timers at the Comelec, it was a bit of dejà vu as Poe marked her official bid to the presidency with the same frenzy that portrayed her entry to politics three years ago when she filed her COC for senator.
She was also accompanied then by her mother, who drew star-struck crowd at the Comelec.
Poe and Escudero and their entourage were met at past 3 p.m. by a shrieking mob that gathered at the lobby of Palacio del Gobernador, where the COCs were being filed.
Poe's and Escudero's COCs were officially stamped by the Comelec at 3:08 p.m. Poe was the 70th filer for the highest position in the country while Escudero was the 15th to file for Vice President.
The pair was greeted by Comelec Chair Andres Bautista, who was later seen having his photograph taken with Roces together with a group that included former Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr.
Several employees from offices on the upper floors of Palacio del Gobernador hurriedly descended to the lobby to take shots or get a glimpse of the two celebrities.
Even the staff tasked with facilitating the COCs took a brief break to pose for photos with the blue-clad Roces.