Senator Francis Escudero is a complex individual. Some understand this complexity as an attempt to be deep, and some interpret that same complexity as a cover for inner confusion. In the two hours some of us spent talking to the Senator from Sorsogon, I think he’s more of the tentative sort. To some, perplexing; still to others, discerning. To some, his long-winded answers to simple questions may be exasperating; still to others, exploratory.
It’s my second time to meet Chiz; a Senator who perhaps has given up on the diplomatic, kagalang-galang handshake and just gives me the fist-bump. He’s always presented himself as a spokesperson of the youth – “ang bata natin” - to the point that judgment passed upon him reflect the same ironies, idiosyncrasies, and paradoxes he himself reflects. Depth as confusion, tentativeness, perplexing discernment, exasperating exploration.
In all probability, Senator Francis Joseph Escudero stands a shot at the Presidency.
He’s a young gun, a “Bright Boy” alumnus, an exponent of his pop-culture milieu, understanding the world in the same prematurely jaded eyes of Generation X. He stood behind Erap Estrada when he stands for good governance. His idealistic notions of winning without being beholden to anyone betraying – if not uncovering – the necessary evil of money in politics. The independent thinker becoming the spokesperson of the late Fernando Poe, Jr. The man whose platform comes in the form of a General Appropriations Bill, outlining the projects that need to be done during his term should he be elected President.
Chiz has the capacity to think out of the box, but more often finds himself thinking and acting within it. While not beholden to anyone, he is still beholden to the opposition he stood with and represented; which begs the question asked of critics and fiscalizers, “Now that you’re in that position, what do you do?” The man thinks that the curriculum should be reviewed, but does not say outright (much less imply) that mathematics and science are irrelevant. That he proposes a group of watchdogs to see to it that the laws are implemented, that the execution of these laws are fair, and what need to be done.
“The Presidency,” he says, “but not at all costs.” Not at the cost of being beholden, not at the cost of owing, not at the cost of being unable to think and govern independently because of a mandate, not because of the demand to serve, but because of what he calls “Big Brother.” A man whose environmental platform revolves around reintroducing the people to nature; whose stand on reproductive health is to make it permissible, not mandatory.
The man seems to be bent on seeking the Presidency. He is, yet he takes his time. On December 1, Chiz will make up his mind. He called us all there to a meeting to chat, to consult, to take his time, to make himself clear…
And after two hours of being seated just beside him, listening to what he has to say, nothing was. Until I asked:
“Sir, word association. Superman, Batman, or Spiderman?”
“Superman,” he replied, almost in an instant.
Superman. Indeed, the paradox. To try to know, and yet you really have no idea of Clark Kent, or Kal-El.
As we left Annabel’s at Tomas Morato that Saturday afternoon, I finally understood a bit – a very small bit – of the man they called Chiz.
* – Photo courtesy of Mr. Carlo Ople