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It isn’t Grace who’s running, but a ghost of FPJ as ‘Panday’

The backers of Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares – mainly former President Estrada, with his old shadowy Chinese-Filipino businessmen barkada, especially plastics king William Gatchalian – would of course, have rejoiced over her strong showing in the recent presidential voter-preference polls. I’d bet Estrada uncorked last night the vintage Petrus wines he hid somewhere and has a hell of a hangover now.

However, as a nation, we should be deeply concerned that out of the 29 percent who picked Llamanzares as their presidential bet, nearly half of them, or 45 percent, are deeply deluded that they are choosing not the mestiza balikbayan, but someone they believe is the daughter of that fictional movie hero “Panday” her father Fernando Poe, Jr. portrayed in his movies.

This is not my conjecture but a logical conclusion based on data.

The survey published in the Manila Standard yesterday, done by Mr. Pedro Laylo, Jr. , did the nation a service by releasing information on the reasons respondents gave for their choices of President for this country.

The top four reasons (translated from the survey’s Filipino into English) mentioned by the respondents for choosing Llamanzares, which make up 75 percent of the 11 reasons given are as follows (emphasis mine):

The percentages for each of the 11 reasons listed total 101, which indicates that the survey asked respondents to each give only one reason for choosing Llamanzares.

The first reason given (“I want to try her administration”) is a reasonable response, although it is an indication of Filipinos’ disgust with the present government; that they want to try someone new, even if that means somebody who hardly has the right qualifications for the job.

What is astonishing, and so detached from reality, however, are three reasons cited by those who chose Llamanzares, which account for 45 percent of the reasons given: “She might try to continue the good work of her father,” “She is a kind person like her father who was close to poor;” and “she might fulfill the promises of her late father.”


The “good work” of her father was in being a super action-star, and in the box-office success of the movies he starred in, which made him rich. “FPJ” was never known to be “close to the poor,” nor even interested in politics and civic duty. He was even an introvert, whose social life almost entirely was limited to beer-drinking sessions with close buddies in some Class-B Chinese restaurant he preferred. He was really somebody who just made lucrative action-movies, and minded his own business, unlike his bosom buddy Estrada, who went into politics as early as 1969.

It wasn’t FPJ who was “close to the poor,” but the movie persona of Panday, or that jeepney driver in his many movies who defied the rich, or some other similar hero roles. Civic duty, even for political purposes, just wasn’t FPJ’s cup of tea, and he didn’t even claim so.

It isn’t clear at all what promises FPJ made that Llamanzares is supposed to fulfill, as he hardly made speeches when he was a presidential candidate in 2004 and even avoided interviews with the press who wanted to find out what his platform was.

Let’s face it. It wasn’t really FPJ who got 37 percent of the votes in the 2004 elections, less than Gloria Arroyo’s 40 percent. They voted for Panday and the other hero-of-the-masses roles FPJ portrayed.

Grace is amazing with her front-runner ratings? Not really. The total 101 percent of all percentages for the reasons listed indicates a rounding-off of the numbers as the survey asked respondents to each give only one reason for their choice.

This means that out of the 29 percent of those who picked Llamanzares, 45 percent chose her for unreal reasons – that she is like her father, or she will fulfill her father’s promises. But the “father” here is not FPJ, but the character Panday, or those other hero-roles her father portrayed.

This means if those who comprise the 45 percent realize when they wake up from their deep delusion that they are confusing Llamanzares with the daughter of a fictional Panday, only 16 percent (55 percent of the 29 percent) will vote for her, i.e., for real reasons such as ‘they want a new face.’ That would rank her behind Binay and Roxas, who each had 22 percent.

I would think that toward elections, these deluded Filipinos would wake up from their never-never land. A single scandal that would reveal her real personality would tear asunder the illusion that she is Panday’s princess.

It isn’t really Grace Llamanzares, the mestiza balikbayan, who is topping the polls, but the ghost of FPJ as the hero Panday.

Do you think a person has integrity if she aims for the highest post of the land by exploiting the masses’ confusion of the real and the reel? At least her father was motivated by loyalty to a bosom friend, to free him from prison. What is it for Llamanzares, other than ego or money?

In 2004, it was “Panday for President”. This year, it’s “Panday’s foundling.”

Reasons for the other candidates
Following are the reasons given by those who chose Binay, Roxas, or Duterte, instead of Poe. Note the huge 42 percent of respondents who picked Roxas because he promised to carry on Aquino’s conditional-cash-transfer program, and the 52 percent who favored Duterte for his strong anti-crime stance.