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Francis Joseph "Chiz" Guevarra Escudero (born 10 October 1969) is a lawyer and politician. As of June 2019, he is the governor of Sorsogon. Previously, he was a senator for two terms, from 2007 to 2013 and from 2013 to 2019, and was the representative of the 1st district of Sorsogon for three terms, from 1998 to to 2001, from 2001 to 2004, and from 2004 to 2007, serving as House minority leader in his last term.
Thrust into spotlight as an eloquent young spokesperson of actor and presidential candidate Fernando Poe, Jr. in 2004, Escudero unsuccessfully ran for vice president in the 2016 elections as the running mate of presidential candidate Grace Poe.
On 1 October 2021, Escudero filed his certificate of candidacy for the 2022 senatorial elections.
Early life and education
Francis Joseph Escudero, popularly known by his nickname, “Chiz,” was born in Manila. His father was Salvador “Sonny” Escudero III, minister of agriculture from 1984 to 1986 and secretary of agriculture from 1996 to 1998, and representative of the 1st District of Sorsogon from 1987 to 1998 and again from 2007 until his death in 2012. Francis Escudero’s mother is Evelina Guevara-Escudero, who has been the 1st District of Sorsogon’s representative since 2013. His grandfather, Salvador Escudero Jr., was a mayor of Casiguran, Sorsogon and a provincial board member, while his great grandfather, Salvador Escudero Sr., was a councilor and then mayor of Casiguran. Eventually, he became a provincial board member and then governor before the Japanese occupied the country.
Chiz Escudero attended the University of the Philippines from kindergarten to law school. He finished his elementary education in 1981 and his high school education in 1985, both in the University of the Philippines Integrated School. He took up political science in the University of the Philippines Diliman and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1988, and then studied law at the University of the Philippines College of Law, graduating in 1993.
Escudero worked as a teaching assistant at the Department of Political Science of the University of the Philippines from 1988 to 1989. In 1989, he served as a junior political analyst in the Batangas Development Planning Office.
After graduating from law school and passing the bar exam, he became a junior associate in the Bautista, Picazo, Buyco and Fider Law Office. In 1994, he worked as a legal consultant in the UNLAD Ship Management and Manning Corp. and legal counsel of the Crusade Against Violence.
In 1995, he along with associates Eugenio Villareal, Robert Anthony Sison, and Diosdado Marasigan, established what would become the Escudero, Marasigan, Sta. Ana, Valiente and Villareal Law Office (EMSAVVIL Law). Escudero is still a partner in the firm.
Escudero obtained a master’s degree in international and comparative law from the Georgetown Law Center in Washington D.C. in 1996. From 1996 to 1998, he was a senior lecturer at the University of the Philippines College of Law, and in 2000, he briefly taught at the Ateneo de Manila University Graduate School.
House of Representatives, 1998–2007
Escudero, who at a young age had expressed interest in becoming a politician, entered public service when he was elected representative of the 1st District of Sorsogon in 1998, succeeding his father. At 28, he was one of the youngest members of the 11th Congress. From 1998 to 2009, he was a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition party.
From June 1998 to November 2000, Escudero served as the assistant majority floor leader of the 11th Congress, and from November 2000 to January 2001, he was the second deputy majority floor leader. From 2004 to 2007, during his last term, Escudero was the minority floor leader.
As a lawmaker, Escudero worked towards having Sorsogon turned into a city. Republic Act 8806 was passed on August 16, 2000, which saw the merger of the towns of Sorsogon and Bacon into a component city of the province of Sorsogon. On December 16, 2000, the law was ratified. Sorsogon began to function as a city on June 30, 2001.
Escudero served as the campaign spokesperson for presidential candidate Fernando Poe Jr. during the 2004 presidential elections. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was declared winner of the controversial polls.
After evidence of electoral fraud surfaced, Escudero joined other lawmakers in moving for the impeachment of Arroyo. Her allies in the House of Representatives, however, voted not to pursue the impeachment.
Escudero was elected senator in 2007, garnering the second-highest number of votes behind Loren Legarda. During the 14th Congress, he was the chairman of the Senate committees on justice and human rights; national defense; and ways and means. During the 15th Congress, he chaired the Senate committee on justice and human rights and committee environment and natural resources.
He resigned from the Nationalist People’s Coalition in October 2009, opting to become independent. Although he was expected to file his candidacy in the 2010 presidential election, he did not join the race. Instead, he endorsed the presidential and vice-presidential bids of then senator Benigno Simeon Aquino III and then Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay, respectively.
Escudero successfully ran for a second term in the Senate in 2013. Although he was an independent candidate, he was part of the coalition Team PNoy, which President Aquino supported.
During the 16th Congress, Escudero served as the chairman of the finance committee.
2016 vice presidential bid
Escudero vacated his positions as chairman of the Senate committee on finance and co-chairperson of the joint congressional committee on public expenditures on 28 July 2015 in preparation for his candidacy for higher office in the 2016 elections. He had long been believed to be the running mate of presidential hopeful Grace Poe, the daughter of Fernando Poe Jr., for whose presidential campaign in 2004 Escudero was the spokesperson. Escudero confirmed this when he made his official announcement of his candidacy for vice president on 15 September 2015 at Club Filipino.
While introducing Escudero as her running mate, Poe said, "It’s true Senator Chiz is my friend, but for the nation, my reason for teaming up with him is personal trust. He is a person who can be trusted, a person who has experience and a person who has already done something for the people." The Nationalist People's Coalition backed the candidacies of the tandem.
Escudero was tied with Bongbong Marcos in a number of opinion polls in early 2016. By April, Marcos and then congresswoman Leni Robredo overtook him. On May 10, 2016, a day after the elections, Escudero conceded defeat. After getting 12% of the votes, Escudero placed fourth among six candidates. Robredo was elected vice president.
Governor of Sorsogon, 2019–present
Escudero successfully ran for governor of Sorsogon in 2019. He assumed office on June 30, 2019.
2022 senatorial bid
In a statement issued in June 2021, Escudero announced his bid for a return to the Senate, citing his experience as governor of Sorsogon as motivation and emphasizing a need for stronger legislation which will allow for greater autonomy for local government units. “In fact if there would be one platform that should be brought, that would be to enable the local government units to decide for themselves more freely because quite frankly they know, we know better what we need than any armchair secretary or undersecretary simply holding office in an air-conditioned building in Metro Manila,” he said in an interview on June 22, 2021.
Escudero married singer and stage actress Christine Elizabeth Flores in 1999. She gave birth to fraternal twins on September 7, 2007. The couple’s marriage was annulled in 2011.
In May 2018, Evangelista announced that she was pregnant. She was expecting twins. Later in May, Evangelista said had a miscarriage and lost one of the twins. In June, the other twin was lost in another miscarriage.
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