Escudero says way too early; focused on 2013 re-election bid
MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Francis Escudero is keeping mum about his political plans for 2016, saying that not all those who announced their political plans early are assured of victory.
Speaking to reporters, Escudero said it is too early to say if he will join Vice-President Jejomar Binay as his running-mate in the 2016 poll or if he will challenge him for the presidency in 4 years. He said his main focus now is his reelection bid in May 2013.
The senator said politicians should learn a lesson from the 2010 elections when politicians who announced their plans early did not win.
“All the names that first came out in connection with the 2010 elections did not win. The last name to emerge in the race was the victor so it’s not really how early you declare your intentions to run in an election 4 years from now,” he said.
Asked if he wants to become president, he said: “Iba ang gusto at iba ang nangangarap nang tulog at gising.”
Escudero said he is thankful that his name is being considered to join the senatorial tickets of both the United Nationalist Alliance of Vice-President Binay and the Liberal Party of President Aquino.
He said that while he will announce his decision later this year, he will not join any political party but will run as an independent.
“I plan to run as an independent. I've said that before and I'm reiterating it again. I do not plan to join any political party but that does not close the door towards being part of a slate or a coalition in the coming elections,” he said.
Escudero resigned from the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) in 2009 amid reports that its chairman emeritus, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., would not back his 2010 presidential bid.
The senator later endorsed the candidacies of Aquino and Binay.
Maceda opinion ‘unfair’
Escudero, meanwhile, said he disagrees with the statement of former senator Ernesto Maceda that the acquittal of Chief Justice Renato Corona in the impeachment trial will benefit Binay.
Maceda earlier said acquitting Corona would weaken President Aquino’s popularity and, in turn, will affect whoever he endorses in the 2016 election.
Escudero said he disagrees with the sentiment that senators should disregard all the evidence presented in the impeachment trial and base their vote on the possible candidates for 2016.
“I can only speak for the Senate and as a senator, I think it is unfair na sabihin iyon para sa Senado at sa mga Senador na ganoon lamang kababaw at iyon lamang ang basehan ng boto ng bawat isa,” he said.
The lawmaker said he will base his decision in the impeachment trial solely on the evidence and the applicable laws.
He also agreed that there is waning interest in the Corona trial as shown by the recent Pulse Asia survey that showed only 13% consider the fairness of the trial as an urgent concern.
Escudero said no matter what the outcome in the Corona trial, prices of consumer goods, oil and electricity will remain high, unemployment will remain and the sick will not get relief. “Those problems will remain problems and should be addressed while we in the Senate do our duty in the impeachment,” he said.
He also said he wanted the trial to be over before Congress adjourns sine die in June.
“Masyadong ng matagal. It's taken its toll on the Senate itself, and even on the senators themselves, at siguro sapat na panahon naman na ang mula May 7 hanggang magadjourn kami para mapakinggan ang panig ng depensa, ng prosekusyon uli on rebuttal at ng depensa sa rebuttal kung kinakailangan nila ng karagdagan pang ebidensiya,” he said.