Mary Grace Sonora Poe-Llamanzares, more commonly known as Grace Poe, is a Filipino politician who previously served as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. Her father, Fernando Poe Jr., popularly referred to as the King of Philippine Movies, unsuccessfully ran against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 presidential elections.
Poe holds degrees in political science from Boston College and development studies from the University of the Philippines. She returned to the Philippines when her father passed away shortly after the 2004 elections. Poe began to receive national attention when allegations emerged that the Arroyo team had engaged in fraud to defeat her father in the elections.
Why is she in the news?
Ms. Poe was the top vote-getter among senatorial candidates in the May 13 Philippine midterm elections, garnering 20,337,327 votes. She ran as an independent candidate under the Team PNoy coalition of President Benigno Aquino. Poe’s success came as a surprise to pollsters and election observers, as national surveys by Social Weather Stations and Pulse Asia had not placed her among the top three frontrunners. Campaigning on her father’s “social covenant” platform, Poe championed poverty alleviation, opportunities for children, and electoral reform as her top causes.
What can we expect?
Poe has said she wants to lead the Senate’s agricultural and education committees. She hopes to strengthen the Philippines’ agricultural-industrial sector and implement a standard lunch program in every public elementary school. New York-based think tank Global Source listed Senator Poe as a “viable” presidential contender for Team PNoy who could challenge the United Nationalist Alliance’s presumed candidate, Vice President Jejomar Binay, in the 2016 elections.