Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chiz Escudero: missing the forest for the trees

[I]f ever he made up his mind, [Senator Francis] Escudero said there was zero probability of him teaming up with Villar due to the C-5 double funding controversy the former Senate president was embroiled in.

Escudero declared his commitment to good governance and... said his conscience would not allow him to team up with Villar.

He said he would rather run with former president Joseph Estrada, who supported his candidacy for the Senate in 2007.

-- “Escudero: Yes to team-up with Estrada”

So let me get this straight. Chiz Escudero is hoisting his image and possible candidacy for higher office on the issue of corruption by refusing to associate with Manny Villar. Villar is currently battling charges of anomalous legislative behavior on the Senate floor. His case has yet to be brought to court, his guilt or innocence still far from settled. He may or may not be guilty, but in Escudero's mind, Villar's stench is now so great that it wouldn't be in his best interests to align his stars with the one politician who's been leading in most presidential surveys.

However, Escudero would gladly team up with Erap. As in Joseph Estrada, the ex-president booted out of office and eventually convicted of plunder by a court of law after a trial that lasted more than five years, during which Estrada and his top-flight lawyers enjoyed all the opportunity to present his defense in full. The trial itself was preceded by a closely-watched Senate impeachment process that, while prematurely aborted, brought to light serious proof of crimes and misdemeanors by Estrada and his minions.

The pardon Estrada received from GMA was no absolution; it did not expunge his guilt or declared him innocent of his crimes. On the contrary, the pardon could be given only after he had been convicted in court, after his perfidy had been conclusively established. Officially, irrespective of the presidential remission he now wields with shameless alacrity, Estrada remains the country's first plunderer-president.

How can Escudero justify his professed advocacy for good governance and anti-corruption when he shuns Villar but embraces Estrada?

I happen to be from Sorsogon, the province Escudero represented as a congressman and the home base for his quick leap to the Senate. I am one of his constituents, and he is, in effect, my representative in Congress. Not that I am proud of it. I have never voted for Escudero, and have never bought into his putative promise as a new kind of modern, no-nonsense, trapo-busting politician. His record speaks for the man.

During the height of the Estrada scandals and EDSA II, Escudero stood by Estrada all the way to the end. His only defense against the avalanche of evidence testifying to Estrada's gargantuan incompetence and corruption in office was loyalty--loyalty then, and loyalty now, to the kingpin who had invested in him and helped fast-track his ascent in politics and the celebrity circuit. It's possible he had sincerely believed in Estrada's innocence, which only raises the question--especially in light of his fulminations now: How bad a judge of character is he?

Then, in what was clearly an act of revenge for Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide's tough, even-handed management of the impeachment trial, Escudero and a bunch of young congressmen under Danding Cojuangco's Nationalist People's Coalition tried to impeach Davide on the flimsiest of grounds. That outrageous act put the country at risk of a full-blown constitutional crisis. Does anyone remember now what Davide's supposed sins were? Does anyone remember, for that matter, that Escudero was one of the leaders of a youthful gang of rising political stars who attempted to hijack the Republic to their bratty, dangerous tantrum, who were perfectly willing to rend this country apart and put it through a potentially disastrous upheaval?

Quite a number have been taken in by Escudero's slick facade--the obvious intelligence, the preternatural calm and self-assurance, the flawless, eloquent command of Filipino. As with most everything else in this sentimental country, he straddles politics and showbiz with ease, and Escudero himself is not shy about banking on his Internet-savvy rock-star status particularly among young people, helped along by vapid media commentators who have hardly called him out on his political behavior. He has compared himself and his youthful politics to US president Barack Obama.

But scratch that PR-buffed persona by examining his history and what do you get? A man so afflicted by myopia that he sees the trees and misses the forest. A man whose moral compass tends to swing not only narrowly but selectively. Every time he rails against GMA for corruption, I remember TV interviews of him strenuously defending Estrada when his favorite president's Boracay mansion was all over the news. When he slams the Arroyos' lavish spending, I remember NOT hearing him condemn the Bacchanalian lifestyle that Erap and his cronies indulged in. And now that he sees fit to twit Villar for his supposedly crooked ways, he then proclaims his fealty to the biggest plunderer this country has managed to convict so far.

Estrada, GMA, Villar--all of them reek of rot and corruption, if by varying degrees. If Escudero were the least bit intellectually honest, if he were even half-serious about promoting the new kind of clean, honest, conscientious governance that he has loudly pledged his brand of public service to, he'd be denouncing ALL of them, and not only those whose political patronage has not been as generous or accommodating enough to earn his tribalistic sense of loyalty and gratitude.

A plague on all their houses. But reserve an extra swarm of locusts and frogs for a hypocrite like Francis Escudero.


vonjobi said...

bravo! i hope this gets published.

but i'm not quite sure about this line: "...not just those whose political patronage has not been generous..." is the second "not" intentional?

gibbs cadiz said...

yes, VON, the second 'not' is intentional. rewrite: he should denounce all of them, and not only those who have not been as generous to him as estrada. :)

rudeboy said...

Ah, Chiz.

Better the devil you know, eh?

The handbasket to hell gets heavier by the day.

Anonymous said...

Escudero's stand defies logic. It makes no sense whatsoever. And for that alone he doesn't deserve to be a candidate. As for Erap, why do we even tolerate his nonsense. I mean he is a convicted plunderer. We should have the balls to say to him: shut up and go away already, you are not qualified.

Bong said...

I think he cleared this up in his Twitter, when people asked him the same question you are asking.

r-yo said...

Honestly, i bought too into his promise of youthful idealism. but when i read about his statement on Erap, i realized he indeed was no different to the trapos that he denounce. he is just another politician whose ideology is anchored on what benefits him. Sayang.

roxy said...

thank you for this.

i must admit that when chiz first came into the picture, i too was bedazzled by his good looks and command of the language. but then i have heard so many negative things about him, first as a congressman and now as a senator, none of them however as calmly and logically presented as your arguments. i hope you will write similar articles about the other presidentiables too.

Jed M. Eva III said...

Sen. Escudero has already clarified his statement in via Twitter.

"re erap was a misquote. I said oppo should try to unite in whatever shape size or color. Didn't say anything abt teaming up w anyone."

In fact, if one will not find a single quote in the article from Sen. Escudero saying that he would prefer to team up with Erap. The article reads "He said he would rather run with former president Joseph Estrada, who supported his candidacy for the Senate in 2007;" this is NOT a direct quote, but a paragraph written by the author that should have some basis in something he heard during Sen. Escudero's speech in Digos, or during the ambush interview after the speech.

The direct quote taken from Sen. Escudero remotely related to that statement reads ""Anuman ang hugis, anuman ang hitsura, ano man ang porma ang importante magkasama sana kami (Whatever the shape, look, and form of the team-up, what would be important is we are together)."

"We" being the opposition, not him and Erap.

merman said...

although i came from the other district in Sorsogon, i have friends who were his previous constituents, ano nga ba nagawa ni Chiz para sa Sorsogon?

Mr. Cheezy, can you enlighten us?

Way to go, Gibbs. My sentiments for this man exactly.

Emil Enrique said...


The impeachment complaint against then Chief Justice Davide during that time done by all of the members of Danding Cojuangco's Nationalist People's Colaition (NPC). Danding has several cases in the Supreme Court regarding his ill gotten wealth during the Marcos years. For example, are the coconut farmers' fund in UCPB his personal fund? Danding used this cocounut farmers'fund as part of the shares he used to gain the majority in San Miguel Corporation. Danding also used the congressmen in NPC such as Chiz Escudero to file the impeachment complaint to harass the Chief Justice and protect his interests. Escudero and his fellow NPC allies are acting as cronies of Marcos' cronies. They may be young but still part of the old corrupt Marcos order.

Sidney said...

Oh... you are from Sorsogon pala !
My wife is from Barcelona, Sorsogon.

It is a shame...Escudero has so much potential... too bad he did not choose the right path...

Anonymous said...

very well said.

John-D Borra said...

Bravo! More people should read this. While the sentiments expressed in this entry are generally more combative than what I would have written myself, I admire the courage, the intellectual honesty and the challenge posed to media commentators.

Thank you sir!

Anonymous said...

batang trapo yan... tignan nyo ang sursogon... peace!

Anonymous said...

Pa-comment: Si Escudero, kakasuka ang pagpapa-cute niya pag nagsasalita siya. Sarap batuhin ng kamatis! Pa-cute nang pa-cute. Di bagay ang pa-cute sa yo, mas bagay ang pakyu!

r-yo said...

Whether Chiz was misquoted or not, one thing is clear - he is willing to dance with the devil if it suits him. that does not speak of the idealism that made many of us idolize him. if he abhors the corruption that permeates the Arroyo administration, he must at least pose the same stand against the convicted Erap. He should show consistency to regain our trust.

beektur said...

napa google tuloy ako ng picture niya. good looks? hello? asan ang good looks? matingan na nga lang ulit ang picture ni neil ryan sese. :)

Lei said...

napa-'huh?' nga ako when i read his statement. and beware sa mga nagpapadala sa 'charms' ni chiz, listen closely. you will find na puro ingay lang naman si chiz, wala namang substance. gibbs, i'll repost this ha.

FrRoy said...

I felt like leaping up with rage while reading Gibbs' tirade over here in US. It also triggered a feeling of deep shame to admit that I, too, hail from Sorsogon that Chiz Escudero represented in congress. Everytime I come for home visits, it pains me to witness the hard reality that, for all those years, Sorsogon is still the POOREST PROVINCE in the Philippines. This is enough evidence that Chiz Escudero is nothing but a "clanging cymbal and a noisy gong."

I wonder how does the local Church in Sorsogon respond to this? Do you think they care? "They have ears but hear not; they have eyes but see not; they have mouths but speak not"?

Enough is enough.

Am so proud of you Gibbs.

mojacko said...

chiz did not support impeachment bid vs aniano desierto or comelec comm. tangcangco...but supported impeachment vs davide?!? young,yet so trapo.
check his web ad channel...

kit said...

amen to that gibbs. each time i see chiz on tv and get to listen to him speak, i am always reminded of an old song: "your words are sweet but where is your heart?" notice: no eye contact. you can read his character (yes, his "accomplishments" as a former representative of sorsogon, too) through his eyes.

proud of you, gibbs. and of fr. roy, too, for standing up for something which the local clergy of sorsogon should really look into.

Anonymous said...

My wife hails from Irosin, Sorsogon. I'm still trying to dissuade her from voting for Chiz simply on the basis of her brother being a former classmate of the senator.

Sad but true. The province of Sorsogon has been left behind by its neighbors in the Bicol Region (e.g. CamSur and Albay).

Anonymous said...

Hi. Here's the official clarification of Senator Chiz on the rumored Erap-Chiz team-up. There's no team-up since he and the party has been firmed that NPC will field their own slate. No outsiders in the top 2 slot:


"In reference to the article that appeared in (“Yes to team-up with Estrada, by Orlandi Dinoy, Inquirer Mindanao, posted 15:07:00 09/09/2009), I wish to clarify with regards to my statements on any possible team-up with former president Joseph Estrada.

It appears to me that the crux of the article stems from what I said: “Anuman and hugis, anuman and hitsura, ano man ang porma, ang importante magkasama kami (Whatever the shape, look and form, what is important is that we are together). This was a direct response to media’s question: “Ma-ugong .. sa Mindanao baka mag-tandem din kayo ni former president Erap. Is this possible?”

My reply was, like President Estrada, my wish is for the opposition to unite, if not the entire opposition then hopefully majority of us. I had meant that it was important for the opposition to get together, not specifically for myself to team up with President Estrada.

For the record, there is no team-up to speak of, with President Estrada, Sen. Manny Villar or even my party-mate Sen. Loren Legarda. Such talk is purely speculative. I will be announcing my intentions in relation to the May 2010 elections very soon, by which time I will address all issues and inquiries."

The Nashman said...

Chiz defense has always been 'he was misquoted'.

Pray, do tell, how many times has, say, Joker Arroyo been misquoted? Or Mar Roxas? Or most of his colleagues in the Senate?

Si Chiz lagi nalang nami-misquote or taken out of context?

Ang ibig sabihin lang niyan, dada siya ng dada to pander to the public before he thinks. He comes out with idiotic statements that shows his true intentions.

Such is the issue with Boy Laway Mr. Motherhood Statement Chiz Escudero.

Jules Hernandez said...

@The Nashman: If you'll look at the actual comment from what was written, you'll see that it was really a misquote. Never was there a mention of Erap. If you think that the actual statement "Anuman ang hugis, anuman ang hitsura, ano man ang porma ang importante magkasama sana kami," kami referring to the opposition and not to Erap, is an IDIOTIC statement, then you're entitled to your opinion. I couldn't read anything IDIOTIC in that statement.

@roxy: if you've heard so many negative things about Chiz, then I hope that you'll have a chance to clarify what these negative things are, and find out for yourself if they're really true or not. My suggestion is, don't believe everything that you hear, until you're certain that they're true or not.

@frroy: Chiz's record in Sorsogon, speaks for itself. The building of roads and schools as well as electrification of all barangays were just some of his accomplishments when he was a congressman. I'm also a Sorsogueno, and I know.

Thank you for the chance to clarify some of the things that were written about the article.

Adarna said...

I believe Chiz has potential, albeit he's too raw to seek higher office.

I guess he's too young, political experience-wise. Perhaps, he has done things we could only deem belonging to the "gray" area -- such as his alliance to a plunderer. But, people commit mistakes. Even the late president Aquino pleaded allegiance with such monstrosity in the name of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She later denounced the fallen leader, and was really sorry for embarking to the path astray.

For Chiz, he has yet to improve his political decisions and allegiance. I guess, he's found the right answer, by not being affiliated to ANY TRAPO party.

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