MAGANES: Senator Grace Poe is qualified to run
Last March 8, Filipinos were focused on the outcome of the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the disqualification lodged against Senator Grace Poe on her quest for presidency.After five days of oral arguments at the Supreme Court, the justices finally cast their decisions ,with nine upholding Poe’s qualification to run for president with six taking the side of the Commission on Elections which barred her from running.
The majority decision of the magistrates gave much comfort to Senator Poe, the Team Galing at Puso and her supporters. The thorny path that she was treading for the last few months of campaign was already cleared amid speculations from her detractors that she will lost her cause. Poe, in those trying times, was composed and calm. She put her trust on God and the wisdom of the magistrates. She is always heard saying that she will accept whatever verdict the Supreme Court will give.
Indeed, it was a relief! She finally got the justice she and the Filipinos were waiting for. Her detractors’ ploy were pinned down. After the Supreme Court’s decision, they wallowed in despair and sour-graping no end. They could not accept that the wisdom of the magistrates will favor Senator Grace Poe- a foundling and adopted by the famous icons of Philippine cinema Fernando Poe Jr. or FPJ and Susan Roces.
In those trying times while waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision, Senator Poe was focused on her campaign. She did not show any ill-feeling toward her detractors. Instead, she relied on her faith and Godly that she is, she took refuge in churches to pray for her fate. What is more comforting is her call for unity among her detractors and other presidential contenders.
Her victory in getting the magistrates to her side was best articulated by Philippine Star’s columnist Cito Beltran in his column CTalk last March 9. Allow me to reprint here in full of what he perceived were the lessons to learn from Senator Grace Poe amid those “thorns” put along her political path. These lessons could be applied too in our lives.
” While most of her supporters are simply relieved that Grace Poe has been declared qualified to run for President, I wonder how many actually learned lessons from the struggle and conduct of Grace Poe? Celebrations are truly in order but there are a number of insights or lessons worth studying for us to better appreciate the decision of the Supreme Court and Grace Poe as a candidate.
Lesson #1. From the very beginning, Grace Poe showed great calm and self-restraint even when her enemies and critics used every dirty trick in the book to discredit her and derail her candidacy. They branded her as a traitor that left the country, a lovechild of a dictator, a child picked up from the trash. But even in those testy moments she chose her words carefully and did not lash out at political opponents or paid operatives.
It is noteworthy to consider that all throughout her struggle for legitimacy, Grace Poe never jumped into the mud bath of character assassination that other candidates gleefully engaged in. That would have been too easy and it would also have been filthy. Why is this important? Because that season of testing showed that Grace Poe has power: Will power and self-control. Grace Poe constantly considered the consequences of her action.
It was Kipling who made the point:
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,…”
As a Presidential candidate, her conduct in those trying times reflected far more maturity than the older and more seasoned traditional or professional politicians who have been divisive in their campaign and in their statements.
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Lesson #2: She showed us the importance of submitting and trusting to authority, abiding by the requirements of the law, undergoing due process and respecting institutions rather than maligning them, casting doubts upon their leaders or manipulating them through political pressure or the media. “One who chooses to lead must first follow.”
It is noticeable that while Grace Poe’s case, future, and honor was before the Supreme Court, there was no perceivable or noticeable wave of media opinion or a public relations campaign that tried to influence or justify the cause and case of Grace Poe. She did not take her case to the media or to the court of Public Opinion. She consistently stated that she would abide by and respect the action and decision of the Court. No angst and no threats, certainly never whining.
A President must respect our institutions and legal processes and not circumvent them through manipulation, public pressure or appointing people in places to do their bidding. If Grace Poe chose not to be “pro-active” and manipulative in a matter so close to her heart, then we can take comfort in the thought or the hope that if she did not do it for her benefit and political ambition, surely she won’t do it for lesser causes such as political vendetta or convenience.
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Lesson #3: She believed in her cause, relied on her lawyers and advisers and time and again lifted her cause to God. She did not need to prop up celebrities, or surround herself with powerful politicians or celebrity lawyers. She did not rely on the power or influence of a political party to carry her over the hurdle.
Instead, she patiently walked one step at a time, whether in the hearings at the Supreme Court or discussing plans and concerns with the Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC). She kept a small posse of low profile people with the exception of Chiz Escudero, her Vice Presidential candidate and some Senatoriables.
In the last couple of weeks she has taught us that “good things come to those who wait.”
In spite of all the effort of her opponents to convince the voters that she would be knocked out, Grace Poe showed grit and determination until she got the nod of the NPC and then the Supreme Court. In doing so Grace Poe showed us that she has the ability to choose people well and that she is able to listen and to trust in the judgment, expertise of her team and of people in institutions like the Supreme Court.
As far as Presidents go one must be focused, determined but must also have wisdom and be teachable or able to listen and consider the taught and ideas of others. Lone Ranger Presidents tend to be limited in their abilities and self-destructive in the long run. The words: “It’s lonely at the top” were written by such ego-trippers.
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Lesson #4: Grace Poe clearly believed that the truth, God and the public were on her side and ultimately the Justices of the Supreme Court would see factual truth and not political interpretations of convenience.
Even in the gloomy days or when ratings or opinion seemed to go against her, Grace Poe never threw a “hissy fit.” She simply worked and showed us how to work smart, focusing on campuses and students, women and children who could relate to her. Yes, there must have been bad days, even hurtful days but she kept working as all leaders do. She left emotions at home or at the door.
Time and again we have heard how unpopular Presidents threw tantrums, made veiled threats. One must have fortitude and a sense of inner peace if one is to lead a nation.
In order to have this, one must be a person of great faith. Faith that good will win over evil. Faith that if God calls us, he will open the door and send his provision, faith that God will never allow his people to be oppressed or embarrassed. If we are to change this nation then we must have faith that can be credited to us as righteousness, just like Abraham, because it is faith that honors God and causes him to act.”
With all of the things said after the Supreme Court’s verdict, good and bad, it is now the time for us to move on. Let’s join Senator Grace Poe and her Team Galing at Puso as they travel towards a more progressive Philippines.
(For comments, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit my blog The Roving Pen at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com. Listen to my radio programs, “Ang Bagong Bayan Po(e)” aired over DZRD Sonshine Radio, 981 KHZ, 8:00-9:00 AM and “On Your Marks, 2nd Edition” aired over DWPR Radio Asenso, 1296 KHZ,10:15-11:15 AM. Both programs are aired Mondays to Fridays)
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