Once considered for the presidency by his former party in the 2010 elections, reelectionist Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Wednesday said he had no plans to run for either the presidency or the vice presidency in 2016.
But those who intend to write off Escudero as a potential presidential aspirant may have to think twice because the top-ranked candidate on the administration’s senatorial ticket admitted dreaming of running for higher office.
“I don’t have plans. I do have dreams,” Escudero said when asked about his plans for 2016 when the race for Malacañang would almost certainly be contested by his friends Vice President Jejomar Binay, Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada.
“The difference between a plan and a dream is that you have to pay for plans while one is free to dream,” Escudero added, indicating the costs that go with the campaign plans that start years before the actual presidential campaign could be discouraging.
Term goes beyond 2016
Escudero, who recently regained his hold on second place in the preelection polls after slipping into a tie for the third and fourth spots, said he couldn’t afford to look beyond 2013 because he was currently campaigning for a second consecutive term that would last beyond 2016.
“Unlike Vice President Binay, unlike Secretary Roxas, unlike Senator Estrada, unlike Sen. (Ramon) Revilla (Jr.), [who] are not facing an election in 2013. That’s why they have more leeway to think, plan and prepare if ever they have plans for 2016,” he added.
Despite the controversy over the apparent dislike for him by the parents of his girlfriend, actress Heart Evangelista, Escudero continues to be mentioned by political observers as a possible contender for either the presidency or vice presidency in 2016.
Breakaway from NPC
The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) had groomed Escudero to be its presidential standard-bearer in 2010, in a race for Malacañang that was dominated by opposition leaders.
But he resigned from the NPC and instead played a kingmaker of sorts, endorsing then Sen. Benigno Aquino III and then Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay for the presidency and vice presidency, respectively. Aquino and Binay won their respective races.
“I am focused on [this year’s] elections. As the saying goes, don’t look too far ahead, you might stumble on a rock or bump right in front of you and all the more fall short of reaching your destination,” Escudero said.
The consistent No. 1 placer in the senatorial polls, reelectionist Sen. Loren Legarda, has announced that she would not seek higher office after her second consecutive term in the Senate ends in 2019.
Dropped by UNA
Both Escudero and Legarda belong to the opposition group called United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), which is led by Binay, former President Joseph Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
UNA is the same group that promoted the presidential candidacy of movie actor Fernando Poe Jr. in 2004. Legarda was Poe’s vice presidential running mate while Escudero was the actor’s political spokesman.
The two reelectionists and Poe’s daughter Grace were common candidates of both the administration and UNA, but were dropped by the opposition alliance after they chose to exclusively campaign with the administration’s Team PNoy.