Does Grace Poe really know what good quality is if her choice for VP is Chiz Escudero?

Poe Chiz

Though still “officially undecided” to run for the Presidency in 2016, Sen. Grace Poe (Grace) says that there are some quarters that are pushing for a “Poe-Chiz” tandem and that if she does decide to run, she prefers Sen. Francis Escudero (Chiz) to be her running mate. While a team-up between Grace and Chiz seems formidable given their current popularity with the Filipino electorate, I really find Grace’s preference for Chiz to be her Vice President to be interesting. Didn’t she suggest that apart from honesty, it is the quality of performance or governance that is more important to consider in the upcoming elections? If Chiz is her man, then whatever happened to her principle of giving priority to “quality”? Chiz, is no doubt, an eloquent speaker. But speeches and rhetoric won’t really improve the lives of Filipinos. Haven’t we heard enough inspirational speeches and rhetoric from our past and current crop of leaders? How many amongst them have actually produced meaningful and lasting results? Isn’t it high time to look past words and instead focus on achievements? With that, let’s look at Chiz Escudero’s record and compare that with his platforms.

Back in 2013 when Escudero last ran for a Senate seat, he had 10 legislative platform points. These points came from (presumably) his top advocacies and these are: Shelter, Environment, Justice & Human Rights, Health, Governance, Food Security, Education, Entrepreneurship & Employment, Peace and Order, and finally, Women & Children. But if we look at his actual legislative achievements compared to his platform points, we can see that he really just acted mostly on 6 out of his 10 points. On the points he has to show for, many are really mediocre at best. Let’s assess, shall we?

SUPPORT INDEPENDENT SOCIAL COMMENTARY!
Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider where you can opt to receive by email our more comprehensive and in-depth free weekly newsletter GRP Mail. Consider also supporting our efforts to remain an independent channel for social commentary and insight by sponsoring us through a small donation or a monthly paid subscription.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
Learn more

SHELTER

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“Every Filipino is entitled to shelter and housing. Human dignity rests on this right. A universal housing program that ensures not only shelter but home ownership as well must be supported. Allocate land, provide affordable financing, and promote home ownership through a range of incentives.”

Based on his official website, it appears that Escudero did not have any bills passed that address the Shelter issue of Filipinos.

ENVIRONMENT

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“Good governance is the key in dealing with the adverse effects of global warming and climate change. Strict and uncompromised enforcement of laws that preserve the environment must be encouraged. Teach Filipinos the need to preserve and conserve, and hold government officials accountable for enforcing environmental laws.”

Escudero produced RA 10344 (Risk Reduction and Preparedness Equipment Act) and RA 10176 (Reviving the Observance of Arbor Day). But if we look at RA 10344, this is a bit of a stretch to be included in his Environmental platform. The law is basically about penalizing theft of risk reduction and preparedness equipment, accessories and facilities. How would imprisonment of a government rubber boat thief address the adverse effects of global warming and climate change? Now RA 10176 is basically a law mandating local governments to have a one day celebration for tree planting. So a town mayor plants a tree one day of the year and this is supposed to hold government officials accountable for enforcing environmental laws?

JUSTICE & HUMAN RIGHTS

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“Justice must be served equally and unequivocally to all Filipinos regardless of stature or station in life. Human rights are non-negotiable, they are mandated by God and country. Continue to make courts more accessible to the people to ensure the swift disposition of cases and the service of justice.”

On the surface, this appears to be Escudero’s strongest advocacy as he has produced 5 bills addressing the issue as well as 28 bills creating courts in various cities and areas throughout the country. But among the laws he created for this issue, I find RA 10158 (Decriminalized Vagrancy) to be the most interesting. Vagrancy is the condition of an individual who is idle, has no visible means of support, and travels from place to place without working. Under Common Law, the term vagrant refers to a person who is idle and who refuses to work although capable of doing so, and lives on the charity of others. Granting that in our times it can be deemed as cruel or inhumane to punish the poor or the homeless, Escudero does not appear to address the other side of the issue which is mendicancy and entitlement mentality. The two bills he produced regarding employment are not even designed to generate new jobs for hard pressed folks like vagrants.

HEALTH

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“Health is wealth. The health of Filipinos must be considered a resource that deserves attention, investment, and promotion. Promote and encourage programs for universal health care, with emphasis on maternal health, care for our elders, and overall lifestyle wellness.”

Escudero takes credit for RA 10072 (Philippine Red Cross Act). This law is a good law as it does not only offer to benefit the people regarding health awareness and emergency care, it also seems to support Escudero’s platform on health. However, it should be noted that it was Sen. Richard Gordon who was the chief author of SB 3285, the senate bill that led to the creation of RA 10072. Sen. Gordon was also the one who fought for and pressed the House of Representatives to ratify the bill.

GOVERNANCE

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“Filipinos deserve a good government, by legal and moral right. Transparency and accountability of government officials and agencies must be the rule rather than the exception, and zero tolerance for graft and corruption should be maintained.”

Based on his official website, it appears that Escudero did not have any bills filed or passed that address the Governance issue of Filipinos.

FOOD SECURITY

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“No Filipino should go hungry. The food production and supply system must be enhanced to ensure adequate and affordable food for everyone. Give food producers more incentives to improve productivity and boost access from farms to markets.”

Based on Escudero’s official website, it appears that he did not have any bills passed that address the Food security issue of Filipinos.

EDUCATION

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“Education is empowerment. The future of the nation depends on how well each Filipino is equipped to meet the challenges ahead. Promote quality education that is affordable and accessible to all. Update our education curriculum to emphasize the sciences, expand state scholarship programs in partnership with the private sector, and strengthen linkages with the private sector for job placements.”

Escudero produced 5 bills to benefit and recognize 5 State Universities namely: University of the Philippines, Catanduanes State University, Central Bicol State University of Agriculture, Romblon State University, and Northwest Samar State University. So if Chiz’s platform aims to strengthen linkages of State Universities and Colleges with the private sector for job placements, how are we to measure Escudero’s bills given the bleak outlook for tertiary school graduates in the country? Isn’t there a saying that a tree is known by it’s fruit?

ENTREPRENEURSHIP & EMPLOYMENT

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“Job generation is the key to sustainable economic growth. Promote entrepreneurship and boost employment and income generation. Embrace the free market to unlock the Filipino entrepreneur’s creativity and innovativeness. Expand micro-finance programs and encourage the growth of small business. Ensure that workers’ rights are protected and promoted. Safeguard the dignity of Filipino workers at all times, they deserve no less.”

Escudero claims credit for RA 9504 (Tax Exemptions for Minimum Wage Earners and Increased Tax Exemptions) and RA 10156 (Conferment of Civil Service Eligibility). Such laws do sound appealing, especially to folks earning meager salaries and folks having modest educational background. However, I am at a loss on how those laws would really promote job creation and encourage entrepreneurship. If job creation is a priority then why give tax advantages only to the poor workers and not the entrepreneurs or the business owners whose savings resulting from tax exemptions can be used to invest more on their businesses that can create more and better products and services thus creating more jobs? The main things that I see the two laws would promote are consumerism (in RA 9504) and mediocrity (in RA 10156). Instead of producing an investment-minded worker, the tax breaks will merely result in extra cash in the pocket to buy more consumables rather than cash to be saved for revenue generating assets. Why not look at crafting laws to encourage investments instead? As for conferment of civil service eligibility, this law basically automatically confers eligibility to folks who lack proper educational credentials upon accumulating a minimum of 72 units of college education. Would this really promote good government service or the usual “Pwede na yan” mentality?

PEACE & ORDER

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“Every citizen enjoys the right to safety and security. Progress can only be attained if every household in every community is secure from crime. Law enforcement must therefore be community-centric. Peace and order can best be achieved only through an effective and institutionalized partnership between the citizenry and the state.”

Based on his official website, it appears that Escudero did not have any bills passed that address the “Peace and Order” issue of Filipinos.

WOMEN & CHILDREN

Escudero’s platform statement says:

“The future of the nation is best nurtured through an empowered Filipina. We shall strive to promote gender equality while strengthening laws that protect women and children. Our progress as a nation and as a people rests on our ability and capacity to protect and respect our women and children.”

Escudero produced RA 10073 (Girl Scouts of the Philippines Charter). I suppose girls learning to tie knots, put up tents, and sell cookies promote gender equality and protect Filipino females, huh?

Based on Escudero’s track record, it appears that the smooth talking senator has a mediocre achievement history. I suppose Sen. Grace Poe can use her choice of the mediocre Sen. Escudero to bolster her argument that she is indeed a Filipino who has resided in the Philippines long enough to appreciate the country’s issues, values and knack for mediocrity. Grace Poe’s choice is simply a reflection of traditional politics where the name of the game is to pander to the electorate to get the most votes. Afterall, the kind of leaders chosen by the electorate is really just the reflection of the character of the people who elected them.

(Image taken from politics.com.ph)

8 Replies to “Does Grace Poe really know what good quality is if her choice for VP is Chiz Escudero?”

  1. The highest level than can be reached by a mediocre but experienced mind is a talent for uncovering the weaknesses of those greater than itself.

  2. That dude, Escudero, looks like a “Snake Oil Salesman”…a smooth talking Scammer. “He talked the talk; but he did not Walked the Walk…” Grace Poe, is too naive to be our President. She may have the “name”; the “charisma”; and the “looks…” However, I am sure she cannot tackle the huge responsibilities of the Philippine Presidency…

    Ms. Grace Poe is another Aquino in the Making…

    Anyway, Escudero voted for the impeachment of CJ Corona…during the “zarzuela impeachment hearings” in the Senate. Maybe, he received a huge amount of Pork Barrel bribery from Aquino…

  3. “I suppose girls learning to tie knots, put up tents, and sell cookies promote gender equality and protect Filipino females, huh?”

    Oh, you mean it’s ok now to degrade girl scouts? Really. This is a new low, people.

  4. If he will win as a Vice president in 2016 what is the concrete plan about the big project in Albay? like The International Airport, The Railways Modernized,The SLEX,and The people in Region 5.

    Thanks OFW in Jeddah Ksa

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.