Newly declared vice presidential candidate Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Tuesday said corruption allegations against Vice President Jejomar Binay had prompted him to withdraw his support for Binay’s candidacy for the presidency in the 2016 elections.
Escudero was one of those who introduced the NoyBi (Noynoy-Binay) tandem in the 2010 polls.
Noynoy is the President’s nickname.
“Tulad nating lahat, ako ay nababagabag at nag-aalala. Kaya nga po hindi ko siya sinuportahan sa kanyang pagtakbo bilang Pangulo dahil sabay-sabay nating nalaman noong lumabas lamang si Mercado na may ebidensya siya sa mga alegasyon laban sa kanya [Like you, I am bothered. That is why I did not support his running for President because we learned that Mercado has evidence to back up his allegations against Binay],” Escudero told a media forum in Quezon City.
Former Makati City Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, a former ally of Binay, accused the Vice President of making P651 million off a Boy Scouts land deal.
Escudero said when people reproach him for supporting Binay in the 2010 elections, he tells them, “Sinisi din ba ninyo si Secretary Roxas at Pangulong Aquino sa pagsuporta kay Pangulong Arroyo laban kay FPJ knowing already after the fact what GMA did for 10 years to the country [Did you blame former Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd and now-President Benigno Aquino 3rd for supporting then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo against Fernando Poe Jr. knowing what Mrs. Arroyo did to the country in the last 10 years]?”
FPJ was the opposition standard-bearer in the 2004 elections won by Mrs. Arroyo.
“Knowing history already, ano ba ang ginawa sa atin ni Pangulong Arroyo [what did President Arroyo do for us]?” Escudero said as he defended himself against members of the Liberal Party who have taken him to task for supporting Binay in the 2010 elections.
Mrs. Arroyo is currently under hospital arrest because of plunder charges related to her alleged misuse of Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office funds.
“Lahat po ng alegasyon laban sa kanya ngayon ay ginawa di umano noong siya pa ay mayor at naninilbihan sa siyudad ng Makati [All allegations against the Vice President arose from when he was Makati City mayor] not [when he was]Vice President. Having said that, I am supporting Grace Poe simply because I believe in her capabilities not necessarily because I don’t like Vice President Binay nor Secretary Mar but I think she’s the best person,” Escudero said.
Meanwhile, the senator said he and Poe have no plans on joining any political party.
“I mentioned in my declaration speech [that our party is the Philippines].
That is an ideology, that is a belief, that is a principle. A principle that simply says it’s time to set aside our differences and start to move and act together to move the country forward. [Whoever the next President would be, he should be the President of the nation, not only of his party mates],” Escudero added.
“We should move together as one country, as one nation. We declare that we are not joining any party but we can serve every Filipino,” he said.
Everyone, according to Escudero, can file his candidacy, whether senatorial, vice presidential or presidential, including one of his possible opponents, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
“I believe that all of those who will file their candidacies for the 2016 elections are qualified and capable enough but at the end of the day, the people will decide who their choices will be,” he said.