MANILA, Philippines – Which ally will he choose in 2013: President Benigno Aquino III or Vice President Jejomar Binay? How about both?
Sen Francis “Chiz” Escudero is not yet laying his political cards on the table despite the early noise on the 2013 elections.
Yet in an interview with radio DZRH, the re-electionist senator did not close his door to being a common candidate of Aquino’s Liberal Party (LP) and Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
“Basta ang alam ko, NoyBi ang sinuportahan ko last election.” (All I know is that I supported NoyBi in the past elections.)
Escudero endorsed both Aquino and Binay in 2010, or the so-called “NoyBi” tandem.
Asked again about the possibility of being a common candidate, Escudero laughed and said, “Malay mo naman.” (You never know.)
Escudero clarified that as of now, he has not yet talked to anyone about being a common candidate of the two groups. For him, the elections are still far away.
“Anumang pangakong bitiwan ngayon, hangga’t hindi pa October 5 na last day of filing, balewala pa at malayo pa sa katotohanan.” (Whatever promise will be given now, until it’s October 5 or the last day of filing of certificates of candidacy, that’s useless and far from the truth.)
Escudero also said that the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona will not affect the elections.
Not decision-maker in UNA
While Escudero is not keen on discussing the polls, his name has been mentioned as a senatorial candidate of Binay’s UNA.
In reaction, he said, “Sana. Libre naman mangarap. Libre naman umasa ng magandang sitwasyon sa darating na halalan.” (I hope so. It’s free to dream. It’s free to hope for a positive situation in the coming elections.)
Despite his ties to Binay, the senator clarified that he is not involved in finalizing UNA’s senatorial slate.
“I’m not part of the so-called governing committee because I am not a member of any party. I’m independent now. I’m not involved in talks or weighing who’s in or out of the ticket. I’m not among the decision-makers in that issue,” he said in Filipino.
As a result, he said he has no say on the inclusion of Arroyo allies like Zambales Rep Mitos Magsaysay in UNA.
Escudero was a staunch critic of the Arroyo administration.
He used to be a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) but resigned in 2009 in a surprise move as he decided against running for president in 2010.
‘Number 1 doesn’t mean presidency’
In the interview, Escudero also downplayed his drop to number two in surveys for the senatorial race. He dropped 12 points in Pulse Asia’s March survey, allowing Sen Loren Legarda to take first place.
Escudero said that senatorial frontrunners have never been able to clinch the presidency.
“We never had a president who was number one in the Senate. If you notice, Noli de Castro [was number one in the Senate], even going back to Sen [Jovito] Salonga, Secretary [Mar] Roxas. Well, Bong [Revilla] hasn’t ran for president yet. President Arroyo is not counted because of 2004.”
Escudero was referring to allegations Arroyo cheated to win the 2004 polls.
“While being number two was not intentional, who would not want to be number one, what I’m saying is that in the history of the country, the Senate frontrunners never became president.”
He added, “Maybe because everyone is focused on the number one. If 100 [controversies] explode, no matter how strong your bulletproof [vest] is, you will still be hit no matter what.”
Escudero reiterated his statement that it is still too early to talk about the polls.
“Just look at what happened in the history of our country. Everyone planned for the elections but all of a sudden, Noynoy came out and he became president. That happened one year before the elections, what more now, we have more than 4 years to go before the 2016 polls?” – Rappler.com