Chiz rejects calls to slide down for Noynoy


Posted at Sep 05 2009 10:32 AM | Updated as of Sep 05 2009 06:32 PM

Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero on Saturday hinted that he is eyeing no other position to run for in the 2010 elections, but the presidency.

"Ang turo sa akin ng lolo ko, mangangarap ka na rin lang taas-taasan mo na (My grandfather taught me to aspire for something higher)," Escudero told radio dzMM's "Magandang Morning" program when asked to choose between a presidential and a vice-presidential run.

The senator, who has been on Top 4 in election survey results, said he will announce his decision when he turns 40 on October 10. He also assured that once he has made a decision, he will stand by it unlike other candidates.

"Sa totoo lang, minsan lang ako magbibitiw ng salita... Kapag nakapagpasya na ako, misan ko lang sasabihin at paninindigan ko na iyon (I will speak only once. When I make a decision, I will say it only once and I will be firm about it)," Escudero said.

Early this week, Senator Mar Roxas announced that he is withdrawing from his plan to run for president in 2010 to give way to his friend and Liberal partymate, Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

Aquino, who was requested by his sisters to discern first before making a formal announcement, is currently on a spiritual retreat in Zamboanga City. He promised to make a declaration on whether he will run for president after the retreat, which will end on September 9.

Escudero said arriving at a decision, which he made on his own, would be a "first test of leadership" for Aquino. He said Aquino should make a decision without being dictated upon by a political party or any group.

The senator, meanwhile, junked calls by "reformists" to all presidential aspirants to give way to Aquino, who they see as the only person who can unite the country and implement reforms in government after 2010.

He said he does not believe that the Arroyo administration will maintain its hold in power if the opposition fails to unite and push for a lone presidential candidate in 2010.

"Walang puwedeng magsabi na kami lang ang mabuti at magaling at kayong lahat ay hindi (No one can say that they are good and better and the rest are not)," he said, adding that having more than two candidates for president in 2010 would be beneficial for the voters.

Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio on Friday officially declared his support for Aquino's possible run for the presidency. Panlilio led local government officials, including Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca, in throwing their support for the son of the late President Cory Aquino.

Panlilio also called on all oppositionists and reformists to line up behind Aquino and support his candidacy in 2010.

"Kami po ay umaapela sa ibang grupo at kandidatong nagtataguyod ng reform agenda na makiisa na rin sa aming panawagan (We are appealing to other groups and candidates pushing for a reform agenda to join us)," the priest-turned-politician said, adding that they cannot ensure Aquino's win in 2010 without unity among all "reformists."