Francis Joseph "Chiz" Guevara Escudero

escuderoPhoto from Chiz Escudero Facebook page.

Outside of politics he is now known as the better half of actress Heart Evangelista. Will Francis “Chiz” Escudero still sport and ear-to-ear smile at the end of the vice-presidential race?

From a not-so-known political family

During his announcement of his bid for the vice-presidency, Chiz Escudero stressed the relative unpopularity of his family name, not like “Quezon, Roxas, or Osmeña families, of those who have become presidents, heroes or wealthy philanthropists.” Nonetheless, Escudero’s father served at the House of Representatives for one-and-a-half decades, which would have likely exposed the young Chiz to the world of politics.

Escudero studied at the University of the Philippines from kindergarten to law school, and while practicing law served the UP College of Law in different capacities. His political career began in earnest when he was elected Representative of Sorsogon’s First District in 1998. In 2007, he won a seat in the Senate, subsequently winning a second term in 2013.

Among the candidates, except perhaps for his running mate, Grace Poe, Escudero’s life may most closely resemble that of a showbiz personality. He has two children with his first wife. Escudero’s personal affairs also recently took the media by storm as the narrative of his romance with actress Heart Evangelista unfolded in storybook-like fashion.

‘Government with Heart’

Curiously, this is how ‘Gobyernong May Puso’, the Poe-Escudero tandem’s battle cry, translates into English. “In governing this country,” Escudero said when he announced his candidacy, “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.” More specifically, he intends to push the passage of the freedom of information bill and to lessen discretion on government spending as banner measures to fight corruption. Other notable components of his platform include price control and the lowering of taxes.

While he is running in tandem with Grace Poe, he and the Senator has been vocal in expressing that they have different takes on pressing issues, which they mutually respect. Both are running as independent candidates.

Machiavellian?

The most biting criticism against Escudero is the notion that he is willing to do anything and use anyone for his political ambition. He himself has admitted to being ambitious, though in the form of what he calls “inspirational” ambition, rather than the vicious, Machiavellian variety he is accused of having.

Despite these admissions, Escudero has not escaped scathing remarks from the likes of Vice-President Jejomar Binay’s camp, who have said that Escudero’s judgments about issues that hound both Binay and Poe are colored by his partisanship and ambition. It should be noted that in 2010, Escudero prominently campaigned for an Aquino-Binay tandem, despite the fact that both were running with different people.

Escudero and his campaign seem to be weathering the criticisms well, if the pre-election survey results are to be believed. May 9 will ultimately determine if Escudero will take full advantage of his present popularity to become the country’s next Vice President.