PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — SENATOR Francis “Chiz” Escudero yesterday stunned a jampack crowd at Club Filipino, Greenhills, San Juan City when he announced his resignation from the Nationalist People’s Coalition which nurtured his political career for the past 11 years.
This is contrary to the expectation of the Club Filipino crowd and the public who were waiting for the Bicolano lawmaker to finally declare his candidacy in the 2010 presidential derby.
“Nais ko pong ipabatid na ako po ay nag-paalam na at nag-resign na bilang miyembro ng Nacionalist People’s Coalition o NPC,” Escudero said. He stressed that he does not want to be dictated upon by any political party regarding his political option ” whether to run for president or vice president” in next year’s polls.
He tendered his resignation to the NPC chairman, former Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy, not NPC chairman emeritus and founder Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco.
Escudero clarified that he has no quarrel with Cojuangco or his former party mates including Sen. Loren Legarda who has already declared her intention to run for vice president.
“Madalas ko pong sinasabi na ang desisyon kaugnay ng pagtakbo o di pagtakbo at kung anong puwesto ay personal at di dapat iasa o ipasa maski kanino man,” Escudero said in his prepared statement.
“This should be the first test of leadership of any putative candidate”for him to decide on his own and take full responsibility for the decision whether or not to run and what position to run for.”
The young senator, who turned 40 a few weeks back, said there are three reasons for his decision to resign as member of the NPC.
First, it is his belief that whoever is planning to run for president should not be a member of any political party.
“Ang partido lamang dapat niya ay Pilipinas at ang kanyang kapartido ay lahat ng Pilipino,” Escudero remarked to the delight of the crowd which included youth representatives and supporters of deceased actor Fernando Poe Jr. Escudero was spokesman for FPJ during the 2004 presidential elections.
Second, Escudero said anyone who wants to become president would not be able to perform his job if his hands and feet are tied and his eyes are blindfolded.
And third, the senator said he believes he could decide freely on the role he would play in the upcoming elections if he does not belong with any group.
In the ensuing question and answer part of the occasion, Escudero said he left his party, which he joined in 1998, because he wanted to serve all kinds of people without prejudice to their economic situation.
He revealed that he informed Dy Tuesday night about his plan to resign from the party and go on with his plan to be a partymate of all Filipinos.
The senator asked that he be given time to decide whether or not to seek a higher office next year.
Asked whether he would run as president or vice president, Escudero merely said he wishes to serve the public in a higher position next year. “Ninanais kong manilbihan sa mas mataas na antas,” he said, drawing another round of cheers from his supporters.
He also said he did not talk with NPC founder business tycoon Cojuangco, before firming up his resignation.
Personalities that were spotted in Club Filipino were former Philippine National Police chief Avelino Razon Jr., who has just joined the party, and Escudero’s father former congressman Salvador Escudero.
Also present were his supporters from various groups including Filipinos for Peace, Justice, and Progress Movement, Magdalao Para sa Pagbabago which is led by detained Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, Youth for Chiz, Friends of Chiz, and “Move my Chiz, Move.” The supporters wore white and red shirts and stickers carrying the name of the senator.
Butch Cadsawan, FPJPM national chairman said their presence at Club Filipino had the approval of both Grace Poe, daughter of the late Philippine movie icon and who is eyeing to become a senator next year, and Poe’s widow, actress Susan Roces.
Also in attendance was Angelito Banayo, a columnist and political strategist identified with Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
Banayo however squelched speculation that Lacson has agreed to be Escudero’s running mate.
“I am here as adviser to Sen. Chiz Escudero and not Sen. Lacson,” Banayo said.
Later in a press statement, Banayo said Escudero’s decision to bolt his longtime political party was a “very painful decision.’’
“It was a very painful decision for him. But in the end, it was a decision that had to be made because his brand of politics “people politics” would eventually contradict party politics,” Banayo said.
Speculations on why Escudero decided to leave the NPC centered on the huge funds needed for a presidential campaign.
The senator reportedly had not been given assurance by his party that it would bankroll his presidential bid.