As expected, Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero on Thursday declared his candidacy for Vice President as running mate of Sen. Grace Poe.
In front of enthusiastic supporters, friends and families, including his wife-actress Heart Evangelista, mother-Sorsogon Rep. Evaline Guevera-Escudero and mother-in-law Cecile Ongpauco, Escudero, accepted Poe’s offer to be her Vice President.
”I am Chiz Escudero, a Filipino, a son, a husband, a 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 his acceptance speech.
The event at Club Filipino in San Juan City (Metro Manila) came a day after after Poe declared her bid for the presidency.
It took only 40 minutes for Poe and Escudero to seal their team-up to the delight of at least a thousand supporters who packed the historic Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City.
Among the personalities present were Poe’s mother, veteran actress Susan Roces, half-sister Lovi Poe, former Zamboanga congressman and convicted child rapist Romeo Jalosjos, Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) president Giorgidi Aggabao.
In her speech, Poe said she chose Escudero as running mate based on his credentials and experience as public servant for the last 17 years. Escudero represented the First District of Sorsogon in the Bicol Region for three terms and is winding up his second term in the Senate.
He served as spokesman for Poe’s father, the late actor Fernando Poe Jr., in the 2004 elections.
”So today, I am pleased to ask you support for our reliable public servant who can serve us, our Vice President Senator Chiz Escudero,” Poe said.
In response, Escudero said he accepted “this challenge wholeheartedly because I believe in the character and ability of Senator Grace.”
”I once said that I would support any decision that Senator Grace makes regarding her role in the 2016 elections. As a candidate or ordinary supporter, I’m prepared to stand by her, just as I did for FPJ over 11 years ago,” he added.
Escudero said he and Poe “will establish a government with heart through a detailed platform for each agency, which will be based on their yearly budget.”
”Like her father FPJ, Senator Poe’s heart is in the right place. I believe that, as President, Senator Grace Poe or “GP” will lead a ‘GP’ –gobyernong may puso or a government with heart,” he added.
”In governing this country, we cannot afford to dawdle or hold ourselves hostage to analysis paralysis. We should hit the ground running from the first day until the last. We cannot afford to do otherwise,” Escudero said.
Past is past
The presence of Cecile Ongpauco, mother of actress Heart Evangelista (Love Marie Ongpauco in real life), proves that she has completely accepted her daughter’s husband.
Ongpauco and her husband Rey publicly condemned their daughter’s relationship with the previously married senator when the two began their relationship in 2013.
They also chose not to attend the couple’s wedding in February this year, with Evangelista’s father sending a letter instead that said he and his wife will come knocking at their door as soon as they see their daughter happy with her choice.
Thankfully by May, differences were settled and the senator finally earned the Ongpaucos’ approval and his rightful place in their family.
A simply dressed Evangelista expressed happiness over her family’s presence at her husband’s big day.
“I’m not sure what else they plan to do they’re very excited and they’re very supportive. That’s good enough for us. All’s well that ends well,” the actress said, whose sisters Mitch and Camille also accompanied their mother.
When asked why their father was not with the family that day, Evangelista replied he was recently hospitalized, but had called his son-in-law just before his announcement and wished him well. He also watched the live broadcast from home.
Besides the Ongpauco family, Sen. Poe’s mother Susan Roces also attended Escudero’s rally, as well as her half sister, actress Lovi Poe. Lovi, who also happens to be Evangelista’s best friend, told reporters she missed her “Ate Grace’s” own announcement on Wednesday because of a scheduled taping.
Lovi expressed her confidence in her elder sister’s bid for the presidency saying, “She’s made of Poe material, so I believe she’s a strong woman.”
Meanwhile, as Evangelista’s best friend, Lovi has been present at every important event in her relationship with Escudero, one of which was the lawmaker’s surprise marriage proposal in his hometown.
The younger Poe was escorted by her boyfriend, actor Rocco Nacino.