MANILA (Mabuhay) – Saying he is seriously considering running for a higher post in 2016, Senator Francis Escudero on Tuesday resigned as chairman of the powerful Senate Committee on Finance and as co-chairman of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures.
“Seryoso kong pinag-iisipan pero wala pa akong pasya,” Escudero said when asked if he is running in 2016.
Escudero sent a letter of his resignation to Senate President Franklin Drilon.
Last month, Escudero confirmed that he and Poe have talked about a possible Poe-Chiz tandem in the 2016 elections but stressed that nothing final has been decided yet.
The two senators have been leading presidential and vice presidential surveys for 2016.
Escudero and Poe, along with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, had a meeting with President Aquino for five hours last week. The two senators had also met with former President Fidel Ramos.
In his letter to Drilon, Escudero said he resigned to keep the upcoming budget deliberations free from politics.
“I believe that it behooves me to step down at this juncture to ensure that deliberations on the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) – considered the single most important piece of legislation passed by Congress each year – are untainted by suspicions or perceptions of partisan politics,” the senator said.
“It is, Mr. President, what propriety requires; it is, I believe, what our people expect from us all: delicadeza,” he added.
The senator said public pronouncements regarding his possible candidacy for higher office dictate that he should give up the two powerful finance panels and spare the budget deliberation from possible misperception that he may use it to further his own political plans and actions.
The senator told reporters at the Senate that he will remain a member of the majority bloc.
“We (he and President Aquino) remain friends and my support for him will continue,” he said.
Despite his resignation, Escudero said he is committed to remain at the forefront of efforts to ensure the timely passage of the GAB and that categorical safeguards are in place to guarantee that it complies with the Supreme Court rulings on the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program.
Escudero’s term as senator is until 2019. (MNS)