Polite Polity: We Need a “Senator Poe” Approach in All These Hullabaloos

So far, Senator Grace Poe appears to be the saving grace of the embarrassment that is the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines. The gracious lady whose name couldn’t be any more apt has been showing how it is to be a good senator or at least someone who deserves elation when conducting investigations in the senate.

Senator Santiago’s histrionics and supposedly intelligent use of words are already becoming a hard sell. Senator Cayetano and Trillanes are like the personification of political motivation. Senator Nancy Binay can’t be dissociated from her scandal-entangled father. Senator Drilon has no hesitations lawyering for the Aquino administration. The rest are trapo relatives and friends who still need to prove their worth – well, maybe Senator Pia Cayetano could be an exemption. The opposition bloc in the senate is completely damaged or at least lacking in moral fortitude to pursue any credible effort to criticize the Aquino administration. Only the number 1 senator of the 2010 senatorial elections is showing hints of being worthy of the votes given to her.

Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares campaigned for a seat in the senate with a rather pesky “po” TV ad but she is proving to be one of the seemingly sensible senators under the Aquino administration this country can be thankful for. She is by no means perfect but what separates her from the rest is her “fresh” calm approach in everything. She creates the dramatic contrast against the drama and hypocrisy of older and traditional politicians in the senate. Despite being one of neophyte senators, this political science degree holder holds her own in exuding a sense of credibility.


Senator Poe’s helming of the senate hearing on PNP Chief Alan Purisima’s alleged wrongdoings is one for the books. The calm tone in her voice and disinclination to put up a show was admirable. Despite going past lunchtime to finish the senate investigation, the good senator maintained her composure and continued helming the investigation without showing exhaustion or irritability. The soft-spoken senator calmly interrogated Purisima and facilitated the asking of questions without being emotional, sans the prejudice. She remained polite even at the point when she was already expressing her unfavorable assessment of Purisima’s demeanor during the hearing.

That’s just how we want to see investigations conducted. That’s how we can help the public in forming well-informed opinions. It’s not necessary to totally quell bias. What’s important is to conduct investigations without the obvious attempts of maligning the subject of the investigation or defending them in the same way Senator Drilon and Trillanes did during the DAP with DBM Secretary Abad attending the session. In both the Abad and Purisima hearings, Senator Poe showed admirable composure.

Her Say on Binay’s Issues

The credibility of the adopted daughter of the late King of Philippine movies, however, is being doubted for her seeming silence on Vice-President Binay’s scandals. If you search for items about her views on the allegations hounding Binay, there’s likely none to find. Somebody has yet to ask her about her opinion on the issues involving the FPJ-supporter Vice-President. Or maybe she’s just good at avoiding the question?

However, it’s beside the point at least for now. Even during the DAP hearings, Senator Poe managed to show some acceptable degree of independence by not joining the chorus of administration senators who blatantly defended DAP and the people behind it directly or indirectly. Without Senators Poe and Binay (just ignore the family name), the first DAP hearing would have been as shameful as shameful could get. We can only assume that the good senator could really be true to her oath of service to the Filipino people. Besides, she is an administration senator and she does not have a direct link to Binay other than former president Joseph Estrada, who is a very close friend of FPJ.

Senator Poe for President? Vice-President?

According to rumors, Senator Poe is being courted to become Vice-President Binay’s running mate in the 2016 Elections. This isn’t surprising considering how Poe managed to top a number of surveys for possible vice-presidentiables. There are also some sectors pushing for a Grace Poe presidential candidacy for 2016. However, thankfully, the senator is acknowledging her lack of experience and knowledge to be able to properly assume the functions of the highest post in the Republic.

The Senator Poe Approach

Senator Poe’s “gracious” way of handling things can be summarized as follows:

  • Veering away from political ambitions when pursuing investigations – unlike what Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Trillanes are doing.
  • Not being bound by political affiliations – as opposed to what Senator Drilon and a number of other administration senators have been doing.
  • Talking less, talking with composure – words sound more credible when uttered with prudence and equanimity.
  • Not using popularity to assert points or defend actions – the very opposite of what President Aquino has been doing.
  • Maintaining politeness or courtesy even when confronting personalities perceived to be loathly or inimical.

The murder of Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, serious allegations against Vice-President Binay and PNP Chief Purisima, cop crimes, the Mayon calamity, the Ebola threat, the Bangsamoro dilemma, nationwide electricity supply crisis, and many other problems facing the country should be handled with a levelheaded approach. It should be about issues, not the personalities. Or to emphasize further, it should be about the core issues, not the side issues milked by trapos and perpetual squawkers to advance their unscrupulous agenda.

We are not considering Senator Grace Poe as the model of how it is to be a good senator. She still has to prove herself some more. However, her recent demonstration of a collected demeanor and sense of impartiality deserves praise, and is worth emulating. Her composed approach in addressing problems is something this country needs more in the senate. Competence can be developed but attitude is hardly rectifiable especially among egocentric politicians.

But of course, all of these are strictly based on the few instances when she was doing her job as a senator, with the cameras monitoring her actions. This piece is a belated commendation of Senator Poe’s performance in a couple of senate hearings some weeks ago. So far, she has demonstrated how you can remain respectful and polite while trying to genuinely dig into the truth. Senator Poe’s composed, impartial, and polite demeanor is how polity in this country should be conducted. Hopefully, she can keep things consistent and be able to offer herself as a real alternative politician who can be the saving grace of Philippine politics.

Stock photo from POC. Some rights reserved.

As originally posted on Blog Watch, Philippine Online Chronicles