MANILA – Senators Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero, both independents, have officially teamed up for next year’s national elections.
Poe declared her presidential candidacy yesterday evening at the University of the Philippines (UP) campus. Escudero, for his part, announced his vice presidential bid this morning at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan.
Their formal declarations were witnessed by families, friends and supporters, including Poe’s mother, Susan Roces, and Escudero’s wife, Heart Evangelista.
“I am Chiz Escudero, a Filipino, 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 Tagalog.
Although already content with his simple life, Escudero had bigger dreams for the Philippines.
“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,” he 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.
“And yet, I refuse to agree with those who say I have 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.”
Accepting Poe’s offer to be her running mate, Escudero joined her in forming a “GP” or “Gobyernong may Puso” (Government with Heart), while also promising a more efficient government and staying as independent politicians with the country as their political party.
Meanwhile, Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay and former Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, who have earlier expressed interests in joining the presidential race, have not yet presented their running mates.