Press Release
July 27, 2021

Sen. Grace Poe's manifestation transcript on Former Pres. Benigno Aquino III
July 27, 2021

Sen. Grace Poe: Mr. President, with the permission of the primary authors, I would like to co-author the resolution honoring Pres. Benigno Aquino III. Mr. President, our family has never been involved in politics until my father ran in 2004. Unfortunately, he passed away shortly after that. So as early as 2010, I was approached by the partymates of then Sen. Noynoy Aquino to possibly join his senatorial slate.

My mother, when I consulted her, told me: 'There's no way you're going to run for the Senate. You have no experience in government. Until you have that experience in government, you shouldn't even aim to run for any elective post.' So I was actually in a quandary because the ones who were pushing me to run were saying that's the way you can continue the dreams of your father and his legacy.

Anyway, of course, Noynoy Aquino won for President. I did not campaign for him, maybe because there were also other candidates who were family friends of ours at that time. So I was surprised that within a few months, I was asked and called if I would be interested to head the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). Of course, for me that was such a great opportunity because the world of showbiz and entertainment is a world that I am very familiar with and that I deeply cared about, and continue to care.

It was really an honor and a privilege and so I accepted it. My stint at the MTRCB wasn't very easy. As you know, it's very difficult to reconcile different views and draw the line between censorship and self-regulation. But thankfully, we were able to weather these and I think maybe he recognized my efforts, and so in less than two years, he asked me to join the Senate slate. And so, my mom said, 'Well, now you have that government experience, bahala ka as long as 'wag mo akong pahiyain.' So I joined.

And then in the Senate, I was lucky to have made it. In my first year, I was appointed to be the head of the Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs. And also I was assigned a subcommittee by Senator Serge who was then the chairman of the Committee on Public Services, who had a subcommittee that dealt with transportation. Needless to say, those two committees had to do with a lot of oversight and investigations. And in many instances, I really clashed with the views of the administration:

Number one, with the inefficiencies of the MRT, how it was being run negligently; and then also, aside from that, because of Public Order, I had to investigate several individuals in the PNP, particularly the Chief of Police then. In both times, I was really clashing head on with the administration. And then, of course, came Mamasapano, which fell into my lap. I'm not an expert on police matters or public order, but what I do know is my sworn mandate to uphold the truth, to serve the people and make sure that justice prevails.

And so even if I was against many of those I owe my position to, with their support, I did not conceal what I thought were the real events that took place in Mamasapano, until I had to submit a committee report. So this is the time that I will tell everyone that during my time as chairman of those committees, or as subcommittee chairman, not once did President Aquino call me to try to persuade me or influence me to change my committee reports in his favor.

And that really showed me the true character of our President then. Oo, kaibigan pero pagdating sa trabaho, kailangan 'yung sinumpaan mong pangako sa bayan ang mananaig at hindi niya ito kahit minsan sinuway. Kahit na kaibigan niya ako at kahit na tumulong siya para ako ay makarating sa aking kinalalagyan sa gobyerno.

Sinasabi ng iba na wala siyang pakiramdam... He has an odd way of expressing his emotion, sometimes it looks like he has no emotion, whatsoever--parang malungkot o masaya pareho pa rin ang itsura. But that doesn't mean that he lacked compassion. He was very compassionate and very passionate about what he wanted to do for our country to see our people in a better place. And you will know the character of a person when you see how he deals with children and the elderly.

I remember in 2013 when I first won as senator and we were in Malacañang. Both Senator Chiz and I were there. Ang mas pinansin ni PNoy, he gave special attention to our children, maybe the same experience as that of Senator Villanueva. So talagang puro ang kanyang intensyon kasi sa mga bata, mas binibigyan niya ng pansin. Kapag sinasabi noong panahon ni PNoy, ang Pilipinas tumaas at gumanda ang ekonomiya, hindi na tayo sick man of Asia, etc., at ang ating inflation rate ay less than one percent, ang ating unemployment rate ay less than six percent, etc., anong ibig sabihin nu'n para sa ating mga kababayan. Kaya siguro hindi rin na-appreciate ng iba. Pero ang ibig sabihin nu'n heto: maraming trabaho. Doon nag-umpisa na ang ating mga kababayan ay nakakapagbiyahe kahit sa ating bansa man lang. Nagkaroon ng mas mataas na sahod, mas mura ang bilihin. Nagkaroon ng pera para sa direct cash assistance o 4Ps sa apat na milyong Pilipino noong panahon niya.

'Yun ang mga ibig sabihin ng maganda ang ekonomiya. Hindi gaganda ang ekonomiya porke't matalino ka lang na lider. Hindi gaganda ang ekonomiya porke't masipag ka lang na lider. Gaganda ang ekonomiya kung tapat kang lider sapagkat babantayan mo hangga't maaari na walang anomalya o korapsiyon.

Hindi ko sinasabi na walang anomalya o korapsiyon noong panahon na iyon. Subalit ang ehemplo na tinitignan ay laban talaga sa korapsiyon. So medyo nagpipigil pa ang iba. Malalaman natin 'yan sapagkat ang corruption index natin noon ay mas maganda.

Siguro maraming mga hamon talaga ngayon na kakaiba, katulad nitong pandemya at hindi naman natin masisisi, hindi natin nakukuha ang lahat ng gusto nating makuha sa ngayon. Subalit huwag din nating kakalimutan ang mga bagay na nagkaroon tayo noon. Sana 'yung mabubuting bagay na nagawa sa isang administrasyon ay huwag burahin dahil lamang nagbago na ang administrasyon.

Let us carry over to the next administration and to the following administrations all the good that we have gained in whatever administration. Not because of any political divisions, but because we love our country, maybe equally, but in different ways we show it. So with that, it is really my privilege to have been given the opportunity to serve the government. And I would like to thank the late President Noynoy for having given me that opportunity and for opening the door for me.

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