Escudero on 2016: Poe and I haven’t decided

Ayee Macaraig

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Escudero on 2016: Poe and I haven’t decided
Senator Chiz Escudero says: 'Whether to run or not, to support anyone, those are things Grace and I have to decide on, either separately, or she on her own'

MANILA, Philippines – After being campaign and Senate partners, will Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero team up for the 2016 polls? 

Escudero admitted that he and Poe have been in talks about the presidential election but said the two of them have yet to reach a final decision. 

“Pagtakbo man o hindi, pagsuporta kanino man, iyon ang dapat pagpasyahan naming dalawa o siya nang hiwalay sa tamang panahon at ‘di dapat madaliin iyon,” Escudero told reporters on Wednesday, May 13. 

(Whether to run or not, to support anyone, those are things the two of us have to decide on, either separately, or she on her own, and we cannot rush that.) 

Poe said on Monday that she talked to Escudero about her meeting with President Benigno Aquino III last week, where the chairman of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) discussed possibly supporting her if she runs for higher office in 2016. (READ: Poe asked Aquino: Will you support me?)

Due to her strong showing in surveys, Poe has been rumored to be a potential presidential bet, with Escudero as running mate. Yet LP members also want her to either be the standard-bearer of the administration party, or the vice presidential candidate of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. 

One thing is clear. Poe said she and Escudero will not run against each other. The two are close friends, and do not belong to a political party. 

For now, Escudero said he has not yet made up his mind on whether to run for a higher post. 

Ako, wala pa ring desisyon o plano kaugnay ng pagtakbo sa 2016. Darating iyon,” Escudero said. (I do not have a decision or plan yet about running for 2016. It will come.) 

In 2010, the senator was initially rumored to be eyeing the presidency but then later announced that he was leaving the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. He eventually decided to just support Aquino, and Vice President Jejomar Binay or the Noy-Bi (short for “Noynoy” Aquino-“Jojo” Binay) tandem. 

The senator appeared in an ad that aired during the homestretch of the 2010 campaign. In that ad he took a swipe at Roxas to endorse Binay, who ended up as the dark horse of the race.  

Escudero had a falling out with Binay, and opted to run under the administration slate Team PNoy in his 2013 reelection bid. 

The two-term senator is chairman of the Senate finance committee handling the national budget.  

No resources 

This time around, Escudero said money and machinery are key considerations in decision-making. In 2014, he was the second “poorest” senator, with a net worth of over P8 million ($180,000). 

“Obvious bang ‘di handa sinuman kaugnay ng 2016 elections kasi kakaunti lang ang may sapat na resources na magdesisyong tumakbo na walang ibang kailangang pag-isipan o pagplanuhan? Ako, maliwanag na wala akong resources kaya kailangang pag-isipan,” he said. 

(Isn’t it obvious that no one is ready for the 2016 elections because only a few have enough resources to decide without having to think of or plan for other things? I clearly do not have resources so I have to think this through.) 

The senator said he has yet to get offers from political parties or kingmakers. 

“Walang nag-aalok, walang kumakausap na pormal. Puro usapan sa coffee shop at chismisan sa kanto.” (No one is offering or talking to me formally. It’s all coffee shop talk, and rumors in the streets.) 

Should he decide to run for vice president, Escudero will be up against his Senate colleagues. 

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV openly declared his vice presidential bid, while partymate Senator Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party (NP) might reportedly slide down to the VP race if his survey numbers do not improve. 

The NP’s Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte were also included in polling firms’ surveys for the vice presidential race, along with Senate President Franklin Drilon, and Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo. 

In the March Pulse Asia survey, Escudero ranked second among possible vice presidential candidates with a score of 16%. Poe was first with 29%.  

Escudero said talks of possible tandems are all gossip until politicians file their certificates of candidacy in October. 

He laughed when asked about the joke of Roxas on Tuesday that he introduces himself as “Roxas po,” a play of words using Poe’s last name. In the 2013 campaign, Poe’s ads featured her introducing herself to voters as “Grace po,” with the deferential term pronounced as “Poe.” 

Escudero said of Roxas: “Matagal na siyang magalang!” (He has long been respectful.) 

Will he follow Roxas’ example? 

Escudero said: “Matagal na rin akong magalang pero walang kinalaman sa 2016 elections.” (I have long been respectful but it has nothing to do with the 2016 elections.) – 


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