DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero claimed receiving reports that former president Joseph Estrada was campaigning against him.
Estrada is one of the leaders of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which recently dropped Escudero and two adopted candidates re-electionist Senator Loren Legarda and Grace Poe-Llamanzares, former Movie and Television Review and Classification Board chairperson.
“Well, balita namin maliban sa paglaglag sa akin ni Pangulong Estrada, nangangampanya rin daw siya laban sa akin…” he told reporters here Wednesday night.
(Well we learned that aside from dumping me from the coalition, Estrada has been campaigning against me.)
“Para sa akin karapatan niya iyon at iginagalang ko iyon pero syempre hindi naman pwede kaming humiga lamang at hindi gumalaw at tanggapin na lang iyon. Kanya-kanyang diskarte siguro iyan at stratehiya sa kampanyang ito.”
(That’s his call and I respect that but of course we cannot just accept that. Maybe that’s their campaign game plan.)
“Gagawin namin kung ano ang kinakailangan naming gawin lalo na kung may mga ganyang balita na makakarating sa amin,” he said.
(We will do what we need to do when this kind of news reaches us.)
When asked if he thinks Estrada would be capable of launching attacks against him, Escudero made no categorical statement and reiterated that it was Estrada’s right to do so.
“May balita kaming nangyayari iyon pero karapatan niya iyon. Hindi naman namin kayang pilitin siya na mangampanya pabor sa kahit sinumang kandidato at kalayaan niya gawin iyon sa sinumang hindi niya ninanais o hindi niya gusto,” he said.
(We got word that this is happening but that’s his call. We can’t order him to campaign for a candidate and he’s free to target a candidate he doesn’t like.)
Escudero said there might be no need to talk to Estrada to confirm whether the report was true, noting that UNA preferred to talk to media when it decided to drop them as guest candidates.
He said he accepted and respected UNA’s decision to speak to media.
Asked if he had ill-feelings for Estrada or Vice President Jejomar Binay, another leader of UNA, Escudero said no but expressed sadness over what had happened.
Asked if he had regrets endorsing and openly campaigning for Binay during the 2010 elections, Escudero answered “no” again.
“Desisyon iyon na ginawa ko sa nagdaang panahon. Ganyan talaga ang pulitika. May mga taong lumilingon at may mga taong hindi,” he said.
(It was my decision. That’s how politics work. There are people who look back and are some who do not.)
“Nagbabago palagi ang kampihan. Ika nga, walang permanenteng kaibigan kaya lang hindi ako pulitiko. Kaibigan pa rin ang tingin at turing ko. Kaibigan pa rin ang tingin at turing ko kay Pangulong Estrada at kay Vice President Binay.”
(There’s no permanent alliance. There are no permanent friends and I’m no politician. I still regard Estrada and Binay as friends.)