SURPRIVE MOVE. In a sudden announcement, Senator Francis Escudero resigned from the NPC in 2009. He is now an independent candidate but might run as a guest of either coalitions. File photo from Escudero's Facebook page
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero’s re-election bid is widely seen as a launch pad for higher office in 2016.
Hailing from the vote-rich Bicol region, Escudero gained popularity as the spokesman for Fernando Poe Jr’s 2004 presidential bid. He was a key member of the opposition, pushing for the impeachment of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Congress.
Escudero had been a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition since 1998. Yet, in a surprise move in 2009, he bolted the NPC. The decision was reportedly due to NPC founder Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr’s refusal to fully fund his planned 2010 presidential campaign.
The book "Ambition, Destiny, Victory: Stories From A Presidential Election" reported that former President Joseph Estrada offered Escudero to be his 2010 running mate but the senator declined, saying his eyes were fixed on the presidency. Escudero later announced that he would no longer pursue a presidential bid.
Instead, Escudero decided to support his close friend, then Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. He, however, did not back Aquino’s running mate, Mar Roxas. He was credited for helping then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay clinch the vice presidency through a TV endorsement aired in the crucial final days of the campaign.
In the Senate, Escudero filed bills on justice and the courts. As chairman of the Justice Committee, he is a member of the Judicial and Bar Council that vets nominees for the judiciary. He voted to convict former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
A consistent survey frontrunner, Escudero said Aquino's slate is including him in its lineup while Binay's ticket will adopt him as guest candidate. In a press conference in July, he said in jest, “Ang pulitika ay hindi naman parang pag-ibig na kailangan isa lang.” (Politics is not like love where you have to choose just one.)
The glib Escudero has positioned himself as a candidate for the youth. His advisers said his network covers youth groups, Filipino-Chinese businessmen, and the celebrity crowd. He has been endorsing various products, appearing as a guest host on Kris Aquino’s show Kris TV, and has lately been romantically linked to popular actress Heart Evangelista.
This early, speculation is rife about Escudero’s plans for 2016. Newspaper reports said he might be able to mend ties with Roxas to be the latter’s running mate in the next presidential election, going up against a possible Binay-Jinggoy Estrada tandem. Escudero said, though, it is too early to talk about 2013, what more 2016.
Political Affiliation: Independent
Age on Election Day: 43
Advocacies: decent housing for Filipinos, livelihood through micro-finance and skills training, education, access to health care, environment
Chairman of Senate Committees on Environment and Natural Resources and Justice and Human Rights
Chairman of Joint Congressional Oversight Committees on the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act and Committee on the Clean Air Act
Senate terms: One (2007-2013)
Votes and ranking in 2007 polls: 2nd; 18,265,307 votes
Latest survey ranking: 2nd, Pulse Asia September 2012 survey
Pork barrel released (2010-2012): P257,000,000
- Masters in International and Comparative Law, Georgetown University Law Center (1996)
- Passed the Philippine Bar (1994)
- Took up law at the University of the Philippines (1993)
- Studied political science at the University of the Philippines (1989)
- Lawyer, politician
- 1st District of Sorsogon Representative (1998-2007)
- House Minority Floor Leader (13th Congress)
- House Assistant Majority Floor Leader (11th Congress)
- Commander, Philippine Navy Reserve Command
- Partner, Escudero Marasigan Sta. Ana Vallente & Villareal Law Office (1995-present)
Bills passed in the Senate: 28 (10 sponsored, 5 co-sponsored, 13 co-authored)
- Clerical or Typographical Error and Change of First Name and Nickname (sponsor)
- Subsidiary Imprisonment (sponsor)
- An Act Decriminalizing Vagrancy (sponsor)
- An Act Creating Five Additional Branches of the Regional Trial Court in Mandaluyong City (sponsor)
- Philippine Red Cross Charter of 2009 (sponsor)
- Holiday for the Observance of Eidul Adha (sponsor)
- International Humanitarian Law (sponsor)
- Legal Assistance Act of 2008 (sponsor)
- Anti-Image Voyeurism Act of 2008 (sponsor)
- Judiciary Retirement Benefits (sponsor)
- An Act Strengthening the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (co-sponsor)
- Revised Fire Code of the Philippines (co-sponsor)
- Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2008 (co-sponsor)
- Tourism Act of 2008 (co-sponsor)
- Girl Scouts of the Philippines Charter of 2009 (co-sponsor)
- Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 (co-author)
- An Act to Further Strengthen the Anti-Money Laundering Law (co-author)
- Conferment of Civil Service Eligibility (co-author)
- Electric Power Industry Reform (Lifeline Rate) (co-author)
- Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2009 (co-author)
- Philippine Coast Guard Law of 2009 (co-author)
- Military Service Board (co-author)
- Rent Control Act of 2009 (co-author)
- Philippine Deposit Insurance Corporation (co-author)
- Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines (co-author)
- Climate Change Act of 2008 (co-author)
- University of the Philippines Charter of 2007 (co-author)
- Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2007 (co-author)
Relatives in government: Sorsogon Vice Governor Antonio Escudero Jr (uncle); Casiguran, Sorsogon, Vice Mayor Ramon Escudero (uncle); Casiguran, Sorsogon, Councilor Rico Hatoc (uncle); Casiguran, Sorsogon, Councilor Dennis Escudero (uncle); Civil Service Commission Legal Officer Krunimar Escudero (cousin). - Rappler.com