Chiz has a bigger problem-A A +A
Friday, March 22, 2013
IT'S an interesting week with actress-host and presidential sister Kris Aquino asking the court for a temporary protection order (TPO) and eventually a permanent protection order (PPO) against Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) superstar James Yap, her former husband. The TPO and PPO, if granted, would prevent Yap from seeing his son, Bimby (a.k.a. Baby James).
It is high drama considering the personalities involved and the quarrel’s possible tragic consequence to the child. But it’s also a strictly family affair despite the fame of the protagonists. What has relevance to politics is the row involving Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
It looks like the senator, who is running for reelection in the May 13 polls under Team PNoy of the administration Liberal Party, is continuing to shoot himself in the foot on the way to the presidential election in 2016. Chiz was a presidentiable in 2010 but made some wrong decisions that turned him from frontrunner to being irrelevant.
Escudero had at that time battled with another presidentiable, Loren Legarda, for the support of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC and businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco. But instead of deciding the matter amicably, with one of them running for vice president, a split occurred.
Without a major party propping him up and with many years in politics still ahead of him, he backed off from the race and played “kingmaker,” supporting the candidacies of LP’s Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for president and the United Opposition’s Jejomar Binay for vice-president. Both won at the expense of Aquino’s running mate Mar Roxas and Binay’s presidential bet Joseph Estrada.
While Escudero had alienated former allies in the 2010 elections, he was able to retain to a certain degree the popularity that made him one of the young and bright stars of Philippine politics. He no longer speaks often on public issues like he used to when he was still building his career as a politician, but he is still listened to, his monotone and fluent Tagalog attracting attention as much as his intellect.
Then came his split with his wife, Christine Flores, a downer if one considers that having a strong family helps if one has moist eyes for Malacañang.
But he made up for that by snagging popular actress Heart Evangelista of the wealthy Ongpauco family. It was like a Ferdinand Marcos meeting Imelda Romualdez on his way to the presidency.
Was it Chiz’s best decision? Of course, love defies reason and it looks like Escudero was really smitten. Chiz is already popular but when he filed his certificate of candidacy and survey firms started churning, Heart must have had a role in his placing second to Legarda in survey results. But the correctness of a decision can’t be judged in the realm of theory. As events unfurled, we can say Chiz may have erred on Heart.
I don’t think Chiz’s rift with Heart’s parents, Cecile and Rey Ongpauco, would be enough to pull him out of the Top 12 in the senatorial polls, but it could have an effect on his presidential bid in 2016. This early, an “unsavory” side of Escudero, described in detail by Heart’s parents, is being exposed to the public. The actress has sided with him, but that may not work for Chiz in the long run.
Heart had defied her parents once, when she stood by her former boyfriend, actor Jericho Rosales. The couple eventually quarreled and where did Heart go? To her parents. Escudero should therefore hope to handle his relationship with the actress, who is 16 years younger than him. Or if they split he can hope that it won’t happen in 2016.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 23, 2013.