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Escudero: I’m not seeking Arroyo backing

By Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:24:00 07/30/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Chiz Escudero

MANILA, Philippines?If he does decide to run for president in 2010, Sen. Francis ?Chiz? Escudero Wednesday said he would be an opposition candidate and denied ever seeking the endorsement of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for his candidacy.

?I have not sought, nor will I seek, the endorsement of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Nor have I authorized anyone to do so,? he said.

Let Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chair Bayani Fernando or Vice President Noli de Castro, ?or anyone else who might want her blessings, get that endorsement which they have been seeking from day one, for all I care,? said Escudero.

He was responding to a claim made by the President?s eldest son, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel ?Mikey? Arroyo, that the opposition senator was one of those who had sought Ms Arroyo?s support in the 2010 elections.

In a phone interview, Escudero said he never dreamed of becoming the standard bearer of the administration coalition in 2010.

?I have said it before; I will never run with the administration. I?m not asking for it (endorsement). She can give it to those asking for it,? he said.

Escudero explained that if he was indeed soliciting the backing of the Palace, it ?defies logic? for the President?s son to reveal it to the public.

Escudero, a member of the Nationalist People?s Coalition, said he had not even declared his candidacy yet.

?And if I do, I will seek only the endorsement of the Filipino people and will run as opposition simply because I have been consistently against and questioned the mandate of this administration from the very start,? he said.

The senator twice led a failed impeachment drive against Ms Arroyo when he was still a congressman.

Escudero pointed out that he had supported and was spokesperson of the late presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. in the 2004 presidential election.

He said he voted consistently against the administration on major policy positions such as the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement, the expanded value-added tax and the Human Security Act.

The President?s eldest son said opposition politicians who wanted to be President were just play-acting in their attacks on his mother but were actually ?back-channeling? through her allies to get concessions from her.

Mikey Arroyo refused to name names, but ABS-CBN?s Teleradyo on the same day ran a crawler which reported him as saying that Escudero had made ?hirit? (a request) for Ms Arroyo?s support in 2010.

Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. called on the congressman to ?identify these Trojan horses so we can punish them.?

Another presidential aspirant, Sen. Manuel ?Mar? Roxas II said it was obvious that the President?s son was not alluding to him.

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