Why Chiz Left The Nationalist People’s Coalition: The Inside Story
Beyond the scuttlebutts and unkind text messages which have been sent to premium post paid mobile numbers, your Midfielder is now ready to reveal the real reason for Sen. Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero’s break-away from his political party the Nationalista People’s Coalition.
I have spoken to at least five insiders in the NPC.
Here, for the first time, are the details:
NPC Insider # 1:
Senator Loren Legarda was demanding a huge dowry as early as July of this year when surveys conclusively showed Senator Chiz leading by a big margin.
NPC founder and chairman emeritus Ediardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco wanted to talk to Senator Loren to sort out the issue but the latter evaded the talk, claiming she had a previous engagement that she couldn’t cancel.
NPC Chairman Faustino Dy Jr. was supposed to join the meeting Cojuangco and Senator Legarda.
NPC insider # 2:
Sen. Legarda was initially demanding P500 million pesos, plus four cabinet members of her choice from leaders of the party to agree to become the vice presidential candidate of Senator Escudero.
Officials of the party found the proposal “unreasonable,” while Sen. Escudero himself balked at the proposal. All of them agreed that amount was too high.
NPC Insider # 3:
NPC leaders pleaded with Legarda and convinced her to bring the figure down to P300 million pesos.
Party officials assured Legarda the amount would be paid and talks regarding the number of cabinet officials were temporarily placed in the backburner.
NPC Insider # 4:
The political situation changed when Sen. Noynoy Aquino joined the presidential race, riding on the emotional reactions to the death of former president Cory Aquino.
Sen. Legarda, while claiming to be loyal to THE NPC admitted being wooed by several presidential candidates, including Manny Villar, Gilbert Teodoro and even Dick Gordon.
The “unprincipled deal-making left Sen. Escudero troubled and seriously disgusted, “ a 5th NPC source told this writer further.
Chiz believed Senator Legarda would abide by the earlier decision of the party that whoever was leading in the survey would be the standard bearer while the other one would slide down to VP.
Sensitive to the public pulse, Escudero did not push through with his announcement set for the 12th of October 12, a Monday, due to the devastation brought by typhoon Pepeng in the North, right after another calamity (typhoon Ondoy) hit Metro Manila.
The same source confirmed to me that the decision not to continue with the proposal was made at the NPC clubhouse on Bougainvilla Street in Quezon City.
The October 12 ‘Incident’
The group decided that party bigwigs and leaders already in Metro Manila for the announcement would gather at the clubhouse 6 pm of October 12 for a get – together party.
Escudero arrived early at the club house but Sen. Legarda arrived two hours late, at 8 pm. Party leaders confined themselves to asking rehabilitation assistance from leaders for the provinces and district hard hit by both typhoons.
Before the start of the program, Escudero and party leaders (NPC President Frisco San Juan, party Sec. General Jack Duavit, Ambassador Cojuangco’s younger brother – Henry among them) waited for Legarda at a holding room in the clubhouse.
Legarda upon arrival whispered to NPC Chair Jun Dy and both entered another holding room for a private conversation.
After the short program and the guests had already left around 9 pm, Dy informed Escudero about the talk he had with Legarda.
Dy said Legarda agreed she would run as vice – president, as Chiz’s running mate.
But she laid down a condition: she would withdraw withdraw from the race by January if the money is not paid in full.
Escudero, disgusted by such threat, told some party leaders he “would rather choose my own running – mate.”
The interlocking details tell this writer the NPC’s apparent ‘coddling’ of Legarda is quite clearly one of the main reasons for Escudero’s decision to bolt the party. But being a gentleman, Sen. Escudero did not to say anything publicly against Sen. Legarda.
The closest Escudero came to saying this was when he adverted to how party politics “dictate decisions.”
“If I were in his shoes, I would have done the same thing. Chiz has been with us since he became congressman, while Loren is a political courtesan and only joined us in 2007 when she ran for senator again,” the NPC insider told me.
I am continuing to try to get Sen. Legarda’s side on these revelations.
However, I am told by journalist friends it now appears “Legard’s talks last week with Lakas-Kampi-CMD intermediaries for Sec. Gilberto Teodoro have fizzled out.”
Now Legarda has reportedly firmed up anew her agreement to become the running mate of Nationalista Party president and standard bearer, Sen. Manny Villar.
I will be ready to update this post as necessary.