- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29—SAYING he is seriously considering running for a higher position in next year’s elections, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero on Tuesday relinquished his powerful positions in the Senate to insulate budget deliberations from politics.

“I would rather be criticized for abandoning my responsibility as head of the Senate finance panel than to be accused of having no delicadeza [propriety] or using my position for my personal interest,” the senator told reporters.

“It is a very powerful committee but because the national budget is at stake, I decided to resign for propriety’s sake,” the senator said.

Escudero—who has been meeting with President Benigno Aquino 3rd to firm up plans for the 2016 elections—is chairman of the Senate finance committee and co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures.

Escudero said he is giving the option to run for higher office serious thought, adding that he has not yet made up his mind on what post he will be gunning for.

Last month, he confirmed that he and Sen. Grace Poe have talked about their possible team-up in the 2016 balloting.

The two senators have been leading preelection presidential and vice presidential surveys.

Escudero’s term as senator ends in 2019.

In his letter to Senate President Franklin Drilon, he explained that his public pronouncements regarding a possible candidacy for higher office requires him to step down to ensure that the deliberations on the proposed General Appropriations Act (GAA) are “untainted by suspicions or perception of partisan politics.”

“It is, Mr. President, what propriety requires; it is, I believe, what our people expect from us all: delicadeza [propriety] ,” Escudero said.

Drilon commended his fellow senator’s action.

“His resignation is a deft political move. This early, he will be able to fend off any possible accusations that the 2016 national budget is being designed to help his candidacy,” the Senate chief said.

Drilon assured that the Senate’s handling of the 2016 national budget will not be affected by Escudero’s resignation and the GAA will be passed on time, in order to ensure uninterrupted flow of services and programs to the people.

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(c)2015 The Manila Times (Manila, Philippines)

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