Chiz: We can’t have a slow gov’t
Escudero accepts Poe’s challenge to become her running mate
“Nowadays, good enough is not good enough! If we truly desire progress, we cannot be lazy. We cannot have a slow government.”
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero stressed this yesterday after accepting Sen. Grace Poe’s challenge for him to become her running mate in the May, 2016, presidential elections.
Escudero declared his readiness to run for vice president yesterday at the Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan, a day after Poe formally announced her presidential bid at the University of the Philippines (UP) Bahay ng Alumni Wednesday night.
Poe proclaimed Escudero, her long-time friend and a political ally, as her running mate during his event at Club Filipino, hailing him for being the lone lawmaker who went against then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s regime without fear he would lose congressional funding for his district.
Escudero responded in gratitude, saying he has always been ready to support his colleague ever since he supported Poe’s father 11 years ago.
The senator from Sorsogon
vowed to raise the quality of government service under a Poe-Escudero watch.
“We must work together and help one another to forge into reality our collective dream of a progressive, developed, orderly, and happy nation, where justice prevails and peace reigns! A country where every Filipino is treated equally, where no one is left behind,” he said.
Prior to becoming senator, Escudero served as congressman representing Sorsogon. He also served as spokesman of the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., Grace’s father, who ran and lost in the 2004 elections against President Arroyo.
“I am glad that we have someone who can help us achieve that dream we are pushing for,” Poe said in her endorsement speech.
“It’s true that Sen. Chiz is my friend. But when it’s for the nation, choosing our running mate should be based on confidence on the people we trust on; someone who is capable and someone who has already done much for his fellowmen,” she said.
Poe had earlier said she is more comfortable running with Escudero than with any other vice presidential candidate.
Gov’t with a heart Escudero said his decision to run for the second highest position in government is borne out of his belief Poe can establish a “Gobyernong may Puso” (government with a heart).
“Ito po ang dahilan kung bakit tinatanggap ko, ng may buong tapang at pagpapak-umbaba ang hamon ni Sen. Grace na maging katuwang niya sa landas niyang tatahakin bilang kanyang ikalawang pangulo (This is the reason why I accepted Sen. Grace’s challenge with all courage and humility to join her in her journey as her vice president),” the senator said.
At the same time, Escudero took the opportunity to negate his critics’ who are skeptical of his capability to be the next vice president.
“Marahil po ay tama sila sa isang banda dahil Escudero lamang naman po ang aking pangalan at di kasing bantog ng ibang mga pangalan tulad ng Quezon, Roxas, o Osmeña, na naging pangulo, bayani, o mayamang pilantropo (Maybe they are right because I am just an unknown Escudero and not as famous as the names of Quezon, Roxas or Osmeña who either became presidents, hero or a rich philantrophist),” he said.
“Ang pagka-senador na po ang pinakamataas na halal na pwesto na narating ng aking apelyido na ni hindi ko po inakala na mararating ko (The highest elective position I’ve achieved so far is to become a senator that not even I thought I can reach),” he said.
Hit the ground running Should they be elected as the president and vice president, respectively, Escudero said they will “hit the ground running from the first day until the last.”
“In governing this country, we cannot afford to dawdle or hold ourselves hostage to analysis paralysis. We should hit the ground running from the first day until the last. We cannot afford to do otherwise,” Escudero said.
Escudero also vowed that they will remain independent politicians, saying they believe those aspiring for higher office should not be members of any political party.
“We believe that whoever runs and serves as president or vice president should not be member of a single party (LP, NPC, NUP, NP, UNA, or others). Our party should be the Philippines. And we should be loyal not only to liberals, nationalists, or other party members, but to every Filipino,” he added.
“We need to elevate government service. We need to unite and help each other in molding the dreams and aspirations to become a nation that is wealthy, clean, and happy and where justice and peace prevails,” he said.
Among those present during the event included the Poe’s mother, veteran actress Susan Roces, and her half-sister Lovi Poe together with actor Rocco Nacino.
Escudero’s wife, actress Heart Evangelista, his mother-in-law Cecile Ongpauco and his mother, Sorsogon Rep. Evelina “Evie” Escudero was also present at Club Filipino.
Roces was in a light blue blouse in honor of the Virgin Mary – a color which Poe said her mother reminded her to include as one of their campaign colors.
As this developed, the decision of Poe and Escudero to run together in 2016 seems to have united families of the senator from Sorsogon and his wife Heart Evangelista as the actress’ loved ones joined the event yesterday.
Evangelista’s mother, Cecille Ongpauco, her sisters Mitch and Camille, were present at Club Filipino where Poe formally endorsed Escudero as her running mate.
The actress’ father, Reynaldo Ongpauco, who recently underwent an operation, was unable to attend.
“I’m not sure what else they plan to do but we are very excited and they are very supportive. That’s good enough for us,” Heart told reporters in an interview at the sidelines of the event.
“All’s well that ends well,” she said.
It was recalled that Evangelista’s parents did not show up at the couple’s wedding in Balesin in Polilio Island when they got married on February 23, 2015.
Evangelista said her mother and sisters were already at their house as early as 7 or 8 a.m. prior to the event.
Her father called up Escudero, saying he is supportive of the senator and will watch the events unfold on television.
Evangelista said she is prepared to support her husband full-time when the election campaign heats up.
“More or less, napag-usapan namin, kung siya di makapunta, ako ang pupunta kung busy siya and as much as possible gusto din naming na continue to work, may trabaho din ako,” she said.
Sorsogon Rep. Evelina “Evie” Escudero, Chiz’s mother, said she is also relieved that the family has settled their issues peacefully.
“OK na. Wala naman silang choice kung hindi to support their daughter kasi mahal nila ang anak nila, just the same na kami mahal naming ang anak naming (They’re okay now. They have no other choice but to support their daughter whom they love so much),” the elder Escudero said.
“Everything is peaceful na,” she said.
Meanwhile, Escudero’s mother said the Poe-Escudero team already has eight senatorial candidates under its ticket.
The congresswoman, however, refused to provide any further details, saying it is up to Senators Poe and Escudero to bare details of their senatorial lineup.
Mrs. Escudero, likewise, said she is confident of her son running for vice president in next year’s elections.
“He has long since decided to run for that position. He wants to run as vice president only, not as president,” she said. Last August, both senators denied reports they have already formed a senatorial ticket they will carry in next year’s polls.
The senatorial candidates are from different political parties and affiliations.
Rumors circulated that among those who would be part of the Poe Escudero senatorial ticket, include Las Piñas City Rep. Mark Villar, Valenzuela City Rep. Win Gatchalian, Taguig Rep. Lino Cayetano, House Independent Bloc Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.
There were also reports re-electionist Senators Vicente “Tito” Sotto III and Ralph Recto, Manila City Vice Mayor Francisco Domagoso or “Isko” Moreno, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director General Joel Villanueva are also included in the list. (With a report from Rizal S. Obanil)