UNA’s miscalculation strengthened the Grace Poe narrative (the classic orphan story of The Woman Who Would be President)
When UNA spokespersons and politicians, three of them, one after another, in as many days, attacked Grace Poe’s citizenship, nationality, and residency, as groundwork for disqualification, UNA stalwarts thought they would do to Grace Poe what FPJ’s opponents accomplished in 2004 — draw away possible donors to the presidential campaign. (in 2004, the uncertainty arising from questions on his citizenship and pending disqualification cases drew away donors from the FPJ campaign, at best delayed the influx of funds, which greatly hobbled the presidential run). To their chagrin, the opposite is happening. Her numbers are rising. When your numbers rise, campaign donations are not far behind. In addition, Grace Poe was able to get, and is getting free prime time national and international multimedia publicity. The other day, she was casually walking on the Senate corridor, then stopped for an ambush interview: a thousand kleig lights flashed. The coverage was breaking news, beamed live, blow-by-blow … as if she was already President. Only presidents, whistleblowers, and supertyphoons get that kind of minute-by-minute account. What happened? The UNA political officers mechanically applied the strategy used against FPJ and used it against da King’s daughter … without looking at her, examining her narrative, and comparing this to the material that many iconic, blockbuster movies, novels, and telenovela hits are made of: The classic orphan story.
The orphan tale is the literary device of the abandoned, oppressed child who eventually becomes someone important. This is a formula weaved into so many plots and storylines that it has become an genre unto itself. Somewhere in the library there’s a content-analysis thesis on this and hundreds of books on it. The orphan cultural figure, of many storylines, is probably even more fascinating than the archetypal Ang Panday character (The Village Smith, a blockbuster FPJ movie of many sequels) because it tugs at the heartstrings of anybody who has ever carried a child in his/her arms, and anybody who has tried to calm a frightened, crying baby. That’s a big demographics, boys. That’s everybody. The old boys club underestimated the once-little-girl adopted by filmdom’s royalty. And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. The possible half-sister (Edgardo Militar’s daughter, signatory of Grace Poe’s foundling certificate) will make a homecoming sometime next week, or in the next, or in the next. It depends. It depends on how many more sub-plots could be weaved in the coming days. When the possible “long-lost” half-sister arrives, there will be group hugs, airport scenes and tearful reunions. With or without a DNA test, with or without finding out who her birth parents are, the telenovela-like campaign will unravel with each passing day, with the necessary twists and turns, all the way to the presidency. Along the way, there will be sniffles, there will be dialog lines, there will be harmonicas, guitars, and violins, there will be slowmotion takes and sprawling aerial shots. And finally, there will be breathtaking sunsets. Pass the Kleenex tissue, please.
To be fair, Grace Poe did not conjure this sudden unfolding of events. UNA started this, pun certifiably adopted. Besides, it isa real story, and with newsworthiness to it — Grace Poe being possibly the woman who would be president.
Can UNA still undo the “damage” it has done to itself?
Alas, the telenovela has already premiered. People would want to hear this story to its very end. Who is her father? Who is her mother? There will be a cliffhanger every week. And what about Lovi Poe… Sheryl Cruz… and Rosemarie Sonora and Wowee Cruz? What about Bongbong? Where are the descendants now of Pepito Rodriguez? Didn’t they have a walking doll named after their combined names? (or was that the other love team)…there was a love triangle here at some point, wasn’t there? And most of all… how will Grace Poe avenge the injustice done to FPJ?
And… cue music.. 1960s Beatles song… hair spray net…where are my child actors… a child with wide, dreamy eyes and wispy hair… put a white pet cat here who can talk…harmonica, violins, where are my violins…