Senator Mary Grace Natividad S. Poe-Llamanzares is well-known for being the adopted daughter of popular actress Susan Roces and Filipino action star, and 2004 presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr.
Poe announced his candidacy on September 16th of the previous year, in front of her family, friends and supporters, at the Bahay ng Alumni, University of the Philippines Diliman – her alma mater, where she remarked:
“I am Grace Poe. A Filipino. A daughter, wife and mother. And with God’s grace, I offer myself for the country’s highest calling as your President.”
Aside from being a Senator, she has also served as Chairperson of the Movie Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) from 2010-2012, after being appointed by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III himself.
Poe originally studied at the University of the Philippines Manila but later transferred and finished a degree in Political Science at the Boston College in Massachusetts. She then spent most of her adult life in Fairfax, Virginia.
This is the main reason why her nationality was put into question when she announced her intention to run in the upcoming 2016 presidential elections. The Commission on Elections (ComElec) previously disqualified Poe for failing to meet the 10-year residency requirement. However, the senator did not give up. She appealed the disqualification case to the Supreme Court and it issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the ComElec’s decision. Until now, Poe has not yet proved that she is indeed a Filipino citizen, but she remains in the list of qualified candidates for the presidential race, released by the ComElec. She was even included in the official list of contenders printed in the ballots.
Poe is commonly defied by other candidates saying that she doesn’t have enough experience to run for presidency. In fact, she has only served as a Senator for 3 years and MTRCB chairwoman for 2 years.
If we base the qualifications of being a President on the experience of every candidate in government service, Poe will surely rank the least. However, like what Senator Grace Poe always say, there is no rule in the 1987 Revised Philippine Constitution that states that whoever has the least experience shall be disqualified to run. Her critics answer back that it may not be written in the law, but in the Filipino’s minds, experience is one of the criteria for judging who to vote as the next president, and Poe cannot do anything about that.
Despite all the rants about her nationality, Poe continues her campaign and steadily gains supporters. Apparently, her recent tagline: Ang Gobyernong May Puso is working pretty well.
Born: September 3, 1968 (age 47) in Jaro, Philippines
Political Party: Independent (2003–present)
Other political affiliations: Team PNoy (2012–13), Partido Galing at Puso (2015–present)
Spouse: Neil Llamanzares (m. 1991)
Children: Brian Llamanzares, Hanna Llamanzares, Nika Llamanzares
Parents: Ronald Allan Kelley Poe aka Fernando Poe, Jr., Susan Roces
- In 2010, she was appointed chairperson of the MTRCB.
- Senator Grace Poe also organized the first-ever “Child and Family Summit” and initiated interagency cooperation between MTRCB and DOLE, DepEd, DSWD, Council on the Welfare of Children and NCCA.
- She ran for a seat in the Senate in 2013, garnering the highest number of votes (20,337,327 votes) in Philippine election history.
- She became the first female Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
- She also chairs the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media and the Sub-Committee on Public Services.
- Senator Poe is also the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and Electoral Reforms and People’s Participation.
- Senator Grace Poe has filed 198 pieces of legislation (68 bills and 130 resolutions) covering issues like social justice, child nutrition, industrial competitiveness, ecological protection, government modernization and professionalization, and graft and corruption.
- She championed the passage of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.
- Poe was found abandoned at the Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo as an infant in 1968.
Sources: gracepoe.ph, senate.gov.ph, ABS-CBN’s Halalan 2016 app