First of Two Parts
And I won’t even discuss her lies regarding the point in her life when she stopped being a US citizen, and when she established this country as her domicile, as my colleague Kit Tatad has already compressively written about that.
What is scandalous in Grace Poe-Llamanzares’ high ratings in voter-preferential polls is that those who choose her don’t even know who she really is. All they know is that she’s the adoptive daughter of a once-upon-a-time action hero, she’s the comely mestiza next door, talks well, and says things voters like to hear.
We don’t even know much about her husband Neil Teodoro Misael (“Neil) Llamanzares, who would obviously play a key role in her administration. What exactly, year by year, was Neil doing in the US? What is his precise job and where is he now?
In contrast to her, we know a lot about Vice President Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte and Manuel Roxas, as they have been in government service for more than two decades, whose lives consequently have been under public scrutiny one way or another.
This is not the case with Poe-Llamanzares, who suddenly popped up in the Philippines after her adoptive father died, and the vengeful, petty President Aquino later making her the chief film and TV censor in some perverse gratitude that her father ran in the 2004 elections against her whom he hates intensely but inexplicably – Gloria Arroyo.
That her adoptive parents were thespians should alert us. Actors and actresses have that knack, which we, ordinary mortals, don’t have, of pretending to be somebody other than one’s self, which is both the definition of acting and lying. Poe obviously learned that skill as she starred in a few movies with her father when she was a kid.
If you have observed how the motherly and calm Susan Roces suddenly took the role of an angry wife rousing the masses after her husband lost in the elections, you would know what I mean. An actor’s or an actress’ skill is that he or she could be surrounded by cameras doing the most personal things, yet act as though the lenses were not there. Poe certainly demonstrated that skill when she was deep in worship during the recent Holy Week, but didn’t mind at all the cameramen surrounding her, their cameras nearly bumping her face.
Even Poe’s official website gracepoe.ph is scanty on details and exaggerates things too much, that they become outright lies.
The 13 years she spent in the US since 1991 were described in just one sentence, really: “She moved to the US to join her husband in 1991. There, she taught geography and math to preschool children, then worked in the scientific technologies field until 2004.”
What she claims she taught is so hilarious, really: she “taught geography and math to preschool children.” What? Did she teach at Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters of X-Men fame, where genius-toddlers study geography and mathematics?
She’s obviously lying, and she hasn’t denied posts on social media that she applied for certification to teach in preschool but failed the exams. She was merely an assistant to a certified preschool teacher, and her job was just to watch over them and play with them, a glorified nanny.
That she worked “in the scientific technologies field until 2004” is such a stretch of her actual experience that it becomes simply a lie, unless she is a genius who got a political science degree, yet worked in “scientific technologies field.” One fawning article on her reported that she worked “as a procurement liaison with the United States Geological Survey in 1998 and as product manager for CSC Scientific.”
Going by her track record of exaggerating things, I would bet that what she called “procurement liaison” is really a purchasing clerk.
Why doesn’t she make public her job descriptions issued by these entities, which are common documents issued by companies to their staff?
CSC Scientific, a company selling equipment to measure moisture, according to its website, is a company with a staff of only nine, excluding clerks and cleaners, of course. There is no “product manager” in its staff. The position, which might fit this job description, is called “Product Specialist” and there are two of them, one being Tam Nguyen, who is of Vietnamese ethnicity and has been with the company since 1989.
The CSC website does list a Llamanzares still there, Michael Llamanzares, described as everybody’s back-up, “the go-to guy for questions regarding invoices, credit references, or payments.” Michael is Grace’s brother-in-law, who, I was told, was responsible for getting Grace into CSC Scientific as his assistant.
I am, of course, not demeaning such low-ranked jobs. But to elect a President who would have the biggest role in determining the fate of 100 million souls with such limited work experience? Poe’s experience wouldn’t even get her a supervisor’s job at SM or a mayoralty post in some godforsaken town.
We will be the world’s laughing stock if Poe ever wins the presidency: somebody who renounced her citizenship to become a US citizen, who then renounced her American citizenship to run for the presidency. In any other nation on the face of this planet, and include there the most illiterate and the poorest, such candidate would be immediately thrown out as a political and cultural aberration. There has been no nation on the face of this earth whose President was once a citizen of any other nation.
Poe has the temerity to seek the presidency only because she knows that as in her case, nationalism is at its lowest point in our country, and for many, citizenship is just for convenience.
What has become of our country, when somebody like Poe, who renounced being Filipino and has so little work experience, could even be considered for the presidency, and has even become the leading contender?
On Friday: Poe’s lies over her performance in the Senate.