Sen. Chiz Escudero said the fact two individuals from very non-traditional backgrounds can consider running for national office shows that democracy is thriving in the country.
“I welcome the move of civil society to drum up support for the entry of Gov. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga and Gov. Grace Padaca of Isabel in the 2010 presidential elections,” the opposition senator added.
However, he said Gov. Panlilio may want to consider the cases of two Catholic priests who became politicians, as he contemplates a run for the presidency.
“There may be a lesson or two to be learned from the political forays of former Haiti president Jean-Bertrand Aristide and former US Rep. Robert Drinan of Massachusetts. Both had to make a choice eventually,” the opposition senator added.
Aristide was already out of the priesthood when he ran for Haiti’s top post in 1991, while Drinan declined to run for re-election in 1981 after Pope John Paul II unequivocally demanded that all priests withdraw from electoral politics.
Aristide was expelled from the Salesian order in 1988 after his political activities were deemed an incitement to hatred and violence.
Drinan, who remained a priest while serving his elective post in the 70s, eventually heeded the Pope’s directive.
In welcoming the Panlilio-Padaca team-up, Escudero also said that since the Philippines values freedom and the rule of law, anyone who can contribute to nation-building or help provide solutions to the country’s ills is welcome to participate in the political process.
“I believe that our democratic ideals are best served when more people of every political persuasion can lend a hand in boosting efforts to engender hope and harmony in the country rather despair and disillusionment.”
He stressed that the current government has pushed the country to the brink of ruin, where corruption is the order of the day rather than transparency and accountability.
“If Gov. Panlilio and Gov. Padaca share our national values over individual interests, I am sure we will be able to find common ground in finding the proper way to address many vexing issues facing our nation,” Escudero stressed.