PANGASINAN — Citing her “phobia from 2004,” presidential race frontrunner Sen. Grace Poe is calling on her supporters and other concerned groups to be vigilant and help ensure honest elections this May.
When asked about persistent reports that some groups are preparing to launch a massive cheating campaign against her, Poe, who is running as an independent, said she is counting on non-government organizations, the media, and her supporters to guard the ballot.
Poe said that what happened in 2004, when her father Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) lost the presidency because of alleged organized fraud, will always stay with her.
“Nagkakaroon tayo palagi ng phobia dahil doon sa nangyari noong 2004. Kaya this time, malaki ang maitutulong ng media na bantayan ang mga iba’t ibang presinto kung saan maaaring magkaroon ng dayaan, yung mga election hotspots kung saan meron talagang pwedeng pagtitigil ng boto,” she said.
FPJ, known as the “King of Philippine Movies,” was the most popular candidate in the 2004 presidential elections but he lost to former president Gloria Arroyo by 1.2 million votes. A recording of Arroyo giving instructions to a top official of the Commission on Elections on how to get a million votes in Mindanao later surfaced, prompting Arroyo to make a public apology.
Poe said she and her running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who is also leading the vice-presidential preference surveys, are running scared despite being the top choice of voters.
“Hindi kami kampante. Alam mo organisado kami pero hindi ganoon karami ang aming pondo para magkaroon kami ng ganoong kumpiyansa tungkol dito. Importante talaga na yung ating mga supporters ay maging mapagmatyag,” Poe said during her visit to Pangasinan.
She also asked her supporters not to be afraid and to report election irregularities. Her team has also sought the help of technical consultants to regularly check the status of vote-counting machines, which have been marred with glitches over the past few weeks of testing.
“Ang isa pang dayaan ay hindi lamang sa bilangan, pwede rin na kapag nalaman ng isang grupo na malakas ka sa isang lugar, pwedeng takutin, bayaran o hadlangan ang mga taong botante doon para bumoto. Huwag kayong matakot, dapat ipaalam sa mga leaders kung mayroong mga bantang ganoon sa mga lugar,” Poe said. #