MANILA - President Benigno Aquino III will stand as the best man in the wedding of Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero and actress Heart Evangelista next year.
In an interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter Nancy Carvajal, Escudero said he asked Aquino, one of his closest friends for over 15 years now, to be his best man at least two months ago.
"The President has agreed to be best man at my wedding, not a [principal] sponsor," he told Carvajal at Evangelista's house in a Quezon City subdivision.
He said Aquino, who is also godfather to his two children from a previous marriage, did not want to be a principal sponsor, noting the superstition that bachelors who stand as principal sponsors will never be able to marry.
Escudero said he chose Aquino over other relatives and friends since he wanted to "change everything" that he did in his previous marriage with Christine Flores. Their marriage was annulled in 2012.
"I am not getting anyone from my wedding sponsors in my first marriage," he said.
The 44-year-old Escudero, Evangelista's boyfriend of over two years, proposed to the 29-year-old actress in his home in Sorsogon on August 23.
Escudero's mother and two children with his former wife, as well as some of Evangelista's friends, TV stars Alessandra de Rossi, Lovi Poe and Rocco Nacino, were there to witness the couple's engagement.
The tentative date for their wedding is February 14, 2015.
'Wedding has nothing to do with 2016 polls'
According to Escudero, Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Grace Poe may be part of the entourage of the wedding. The venue has yet to be decided by Evangelista.
Santiago was the one who introduced the couple. Poe is a daughter of the late Fernando Poe Jr. Escudero acted as Poe's spokesman when he ran for president in 2004.
Meanwhile, Escudero said his engagement to Evangelista has nothing to do with his political plans for 2016, if any.
He said he and Evangelista have already been talking about settling down since his marriage with Flores was annulled.
"I'm making a decision one thing at a time; our getting married has nothing to do with my running or not running. We will get married at some point and besides President Aquino has proven that being married has nothing to do with winning, hindi kailangan magpakasal," he said.
Evangelista, likewise, said they do not talk about the senator's plans for 2016. "I don't want to talk about it because it would sound mayabang, and besides we work in different worlds."
Escudero also noted that both he and Grace Poe, who have been touted as a possible team-up for the 2016 presidential elections, do not have enough funds to mount a nationwide campaign.
"If running is an option in 2016 at all, we do not have any party or money [but] we will cross the bridge when we get there," he said.