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Last Updated: Monday, 13 December, 2004, 22:39 GMT
Profile: Fernando Poe Jr
Fernando Poe Junior
Mr Poe staged a lacklustre election campaign
Fernando Poe Jr had been a household name in the Philippines since the 1950s.

One of the country's most famous film stars, he came under the spotlight for a different reason when he stood as a candidate for president in May 2004.

Mr Poe had a huge fan base from his days as an actor - when he was known as "Da King" or FPJ - but he was a complete newcomer to politics.

However, in the Philippines, personalities rather than issues tend to dominate election campaigns, so Mr Poe's lack of experience did not appear to be much of an obstacle.

He was a close friend of former President Joseph Estrada - another actor-turned-politician who was forced from power by popular protests in 2001.

But unlike the more charismatic Mr Estrada, he often appeared tongue-tied in public and was often reluctant to engage in public speaking.

He also lacked a coherent political platform, speaking broadly about elevating the poor and unifying the nation but without giving many details.

Film accolades

The actor, who died at the age of 65 after suffering a stroke, was born Ronald Allan Kelley Poe, but changed his name to that of his film star father later in life.

He did not complete high school, but went on to win numerous awards and prizes as an actor and film director.

From the 1950s, he played stoic heroes who fight for the common man - and he tried to capitalise on this image in his presidential campaign.

When Mr Poe announced his intention to stand in the election, he said he did not want to become president through personal ambition but because of pressure from the public.

A coalition of opposition parties backed his campaign because of "his patriotism and humanity... his behaviour as a family man... and his success in the movie industry".

Mr Poe had a family-friendly image, which was marred somewhat by an admission that he had fathered a child out of wedlock.

Another issue that hindered his campaign was a dispute over whether he could even stand as a presidential candidate at all.

Born to an unmarried American mother, doubts were raised about his Philippines citizenship.

But the Supreme Court in Manila ruled that he was an eligible candidate.


SEE ALSO:
Arroyo challenger dies of stroke
13 Dec 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: The Philippines
09 Jul 03 |  Country profiles


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