I’ve never been part of Liberal Party–Escudero
Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Sunday said he was not a member of the Liberal Party (LP) so he did not know why LP officials were saying he was not a part of their plans for 2016 and beyond.
Escudero, who cut his ties with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) of businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco in 2010, said he remained an independent and expressed the belief that in running for higher office, it was better to have no party because the party to be served was the people.
The senator was commenting on statements by LP officials, including Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, that he was not being considered in the party’s plans for 18 years of prosperity and development, beginning with the administration of President Aquino and continuing with the potential administrations of now Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe.
“I am not a member of the Liberal Party. I’m not covered by their plans and agreements,” Escudero said in a radio interview.
He referred questions about the LP statements to the party.
Escudero said he was just responding to issues concerning him and that he was surprised that suddenly, there were “spokespersons” talking about elections when there were no elections yet.
“I’m not applying to any party,” he said, adding that he would not impose himself on a party whose doors were close to him.
Told that the LP was blaming him for the loss of Roxas to former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay in the 2010 vice presidential race, Escudero said he was entitled to just one vote on Election Day.
“It is the people who elected the winner. It is also the people who brought down the loser,” he said. “No one should blame anybody’s electoral loss on just one man.”
Escudero said the winner won because he worked hard to achieve victory and the loser lost because he probably had shortcomings. “It’s better to look in the mirror than blame your loss on other people,” he said.
A supporter of Aquino, Escudero, who had strong voter support in 2010, junked Roxas and endorsed Binay, who won the vice presidential election.
Abad told the Inquirer in a recent interview that LP members were reluctant to consider Escudero in drawing up the party’s 18-year plan because his endorsement of Binay spoiled the outcome of the 2010 elections for Aquino and Roxas.
The LP is trying to persuade Poe to join the party as Roxas’ vice presidential running mate in next year’s elections. After Roxas’ term, Poe will be the party’s candidate for President in 2022.
Escudero has said that if he will run for higher office next year, it will be for Vice President and not for President.
He and Poe have said that they have been talking about running together, but have not made any decision.
On Sunday, Escudero said he and Poe might take some time making a decision because both of them were independent, and those who belonged to political parties should be the ones to make immediate decisions.
Escudero’s old party, NPC, has no plans to field a presidential or vice presidential candidate in the 2016 polls, but is likely to support a presidential candidate, according to Sen. Vicente Sotto III.
“We are not inclined to field one of our own, but will probably support one depending on who will be running,” Sotto, a senior member of the NPC, told the Inquirer.
Sotto said the NPC leadership was most likely to meet before the end of the month to discuss plans for 2016.
The party has 38 members in the House of Representatives and several governors and mayors on its roll. In the Senate, Sotto and Sen. Loren Legarda are the only members of the NPC.
Sotto said the NPC always focused on local and congressional elections.
“That is the reason why we are strong locally,” said the senator, who added that he would seek reelection next year.
Asked whether there were other political parties talking about possible coalition with the NPC in 2016, Sotto said he was aware that some NPC officials and members were talking separately with the LP and Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) party.
The NPC is a member of the LP-led alliance in the House, but whether the party will support President Aquino’s candidate in next year’s presidential election has yet to be decided by the party’s leadership, Sotto said.
Aquino is expected to announce his chosen candidate after his last address to a joint session of Congress on July 27.
Sotto said he expected that there would be more than two presidential candidates next year.
So far, only Binay has declared that he will run for President. He is the front-runner in the polls, followed by Poe and Roxas.