It’s official: Grace Poe, Chiz Escudero to run together in 2016
Senators Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero formally sealed their team-up on Thursday for the 2016 elections.
Poe, who earlier declared her presidential bid for next year, named Escudero as her running-mate during a gathering of friends and supporters held at the historic Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan.
Esudero subsequently formally declared that he is running for vice president in 2016.
“I am Chiz Escudero, a Filipino like Senator Grace…, a son, husband, father, and a Bicolano public servant. With the grace of God and the Blessed Mother, I humbly offer myself to the mission of serving as your vice president … as the vice president of our country,” he said in Filipino when he delivered his acceptance speech.
Escudero’s family, including his wife, actress Heart Evangelista, came to show their support for him.
Also present was Evangelista’s family, including her mother, Cecille Ongpauco.
Poe, who earlier declared her presidential bid in 2016, came with her mother, veteran actress Susan Roces.
The two became the first pairing formed for the 2016 elections.
Poe’s rivals, Vice President Jejomar Binay and former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, who have earlier declared their presidential bids, have not yet chosen their respective running mates next year.
Simple, happy life
Escudero, who is now 45, took pride in his simple life and undermined the criticisms of his detractors.
“In truth, I am more than content with my current life. I have only ever dreamed of a simple, honorable, happy, and peaceful life for myself and my beloved family,” Escudero said.
“On the other hand, some people say: “Who is this Chiz Escudero? So young, and living in just a humble townhouse in Quezon City. Who does he think he is to dream so boldly, to have such grand ambitions?!”
“In a way, these people have a point. My family name is only Escudero. I don’t have the same pedigree of Quezon, Roxas, or Osmeña families, of those who have become presidents, heroes or wealthy philanthropists. The Senate is the highest elected position that someone from my family has ever reached, and even this, I never imagined I might achieve,” he added.
But the senator said he does not agree with those who say that he has no right to have dreams or ambitions, “especially if those dreams or ambitions are not for myself, but for our country and my fellow countrymen.
Just as he supported FPJ
Escudero explained that he is behind Poe just as supported her late father, actor Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ), whose unsuccessful presidential run in 2004 he supported. FPJ lost to incumbent Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who was then seeking re-election.
“I once said that I would support any decision that Senator Grace makes regarding her role in the 2016 elections. As a candidate or ordinary supporter, I’m prepared to stand by her, just as I did for FPJ over 11 years ago,” Escudero said.
“I believe that every Filipino—rich or poor, young or old, man or woman, educated or not, good-looking or not, pedigreed or not, whether they live in Makati or in the provinces—has the ability, capacity, and right to devote his or her life to serving our country. Because no single person or family has a monopoly over the talent, intelligence, skill, and good intentions for our country,” said Escudero.
“This is why I have decided to accept, with wholehearted will and humility, Senator Grace’s challenge to accompany her on her journey, and to run as her vice president.”
“I accept this challenge wholeheartedly because I believe in the character and ability of Senator Grace. Like her father FPJ, Senator Poe’s heart is in the right place. I believe that, as president, Senator Grace Poe or “GP” will lead a “GP”—Gobyernong may Puso or a Government with Heart,” the senator added.
Escudero said that he and Poe would form a “Government with Heart” through a detailed platform for each agency, which will be based on their yearly budget.
Fight vs corruption, analysis paralysis
The next president, he said, would appoint and delegate over 5,000 people in government who would fill positions in 500 agencies, and would spend 18 trillion pesos over a six-year term.
“Starting from the first day in office, this is the only way to urgently address the most pressing problems of every sector of the Philippines,” he said.
“In governing this country, we cannot afford to dawdle or hold ourselves hostage to analysis paralysis. We should hit the ground running from the first day until the last. We cannot afford to do otherwise.”
Like Poe, Escudero also pressed for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill and a “crackdown on anomalies.”
“We will fight corruption by ensuring that the government will be run on a simple principle—that discretion equals corruption. Minimize discretion and we will be able to minimize corruption; eliminate it and we will be able to eliminate corruption,” he said.
“Senator Grace and I cannot do this alone. We need the help of every one of you, of every Filipino,” he added.
Escudero said he and Poe will remain independent, saying that whoever runs for either president or vice president should not be part of a single party.
“Our party should be the Filipino people. And we should be loyal not only to liberals, nationalists, or other party members, but to every Filipino,” he said.
“Our party is the Philippines, and the members of our party are the Filipino people,” Escudero added.
Poe and Escudero, both independents, ran together in the 2013 senatorial race under the administration ticket. Escudero maintained that he and Poe will continue to be independent.
Unlike Poe, who is a neophyte senator, Escudero is now serving his second six-year term in the Senate. He was first elected in 2007, and after he completed his first six-year term, he ran and won another term in 2013.
Both Poe and Escudero have until 2019 to complete their respective terms in the upper chamber. Maila Ager/IDL
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