Manila Bulletin

Chiz: We can’t have a slow gov’t

Es­cud­ero ac­cepts Poe’s chal­lenge to be­come her run­ning mate

- By HAN­NAH L. TOR­RE­GOZA Politics · Elections · Grace Poe · San Juan · Philippines · University of the Philippines · Nigeria · Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo · Gloria · Sorsogon City · Namibia · Saudi Arabia · Quezon, Bukidnon · Capiz · National People's Congress · Susan Roces · Heart Evangelista · Iceland · Valenzuela · Sherwin Gatchalian · Taguig · Leyte · Manila · Joel Villanueva · Rizal · University of the Philippines · Fernando Poe, Jr. · Partido de Unidad Nacional · Lovi Poe · Vicente Sotto III · Ralph Recto · Isko Moreno

“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.

Pol­i­tics unites

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.

Heart’s sup­port

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.

Sen­a­to­rial lineup

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)

 ??  ?? IN­DE­PEN­DENTLY YOURS — As if mak­ing a solemn vow to each other amid fall­ing con­fetti, Sen­a­tor Fran­cis ‘Chiz’ Es­cud­ero meets Sen­a­tor Grace PoeLla­man­zares at cen­ter­stage af­ter an­nounc­ing his vice pres­i­den­tial bid yesterday at Club Filipino in San Juan...
IN­DE­PEN­DENTLY YOURS — As if mak­ing a solemn vow to each other amid fall­ing con­fetti, Sen­a­tor Fran­cis ‘Chiz’ Es­cud­ero meets Sen­a­tor Grace PoeLla­man­zares at cen­ter­stage af­ter an­nounc­ing his vice pres­i­den­tial bid yesterday at Club Filipino in San Juan...

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