Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the November 4, 2009 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

I think natural selection must have greatly rewarded the ability to reassure oneself in a crisis with complete bullshit. Bob Harris

Pundits said  Francis “Chiz” Escudero committed political suicide when he bolted from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). He may have done that but I doubt that was what he had in mind.

The NPC had very little to do with his popularity. In fact, it was dragging him down. That’s why many wondered why he did not leave the party sooner.

One of his former party mates explained why he left.

“There may be a simple reason there. He has no funds. The party only committed to bankroll only a fraction of his campaign.”

But Escudero forcefully denied that money had anything to do with his resignation.

“It’s not true. I’m denying it vehemently, that money was an issue, was the reason… My resignation was a matter of principles and conviction.”

Indeed, money may not be the decisive factor in this election. Escudero believes that, in this election, a candidate who runs on new politics can rely on a huge volunteer base to make up for whatever he lacks in terms of money and party machinery.

He is betting he does not have to spend billions to advertise he is “poor in spirit,” that he does not have to dole out goodies to entice people to show up for his rallies because the voters of 2010 are looking for real change— not for loose change falling out of the pockets of crooks.  Chiz is right. Now all he has to do is convince voters he is Noynoy Aquino.

And so Escudero refashioned himself as the people’s candidate, the one whose political party is the Filipino people.

“First, whoever plans to run for president should not belong to any political party. The only party he should belong to is the Philippines and his party mates the Filipino people.”

Escudero is selling a bill of goods. Party-less democracy is an oxymoron. Without political parties, individuals have no vehicle to “collectively express, promote, pursue, and defend common interests.” A personality cult is what you will get when you do away with partisan politics. If that’s what Escudero wants, then he should change his name to Kim and move to North Korea.

Who would be a good running mate for Escudero?

Ping Lacson? But does Ping enjoy constant lecturing?

Loren Legarda?  But Escudero is only 40. Loren does not partner with politicians in that age demographic.

Dick Gordon? But if Escudero will have nothing to do with a Manny, why would he partner with a Dick?

At any rate, a running mate is the least of Escudero’s worries. Right now he has to think his way through a dilemma.

If he runs and loses, he may not get a second chance. On the other hand, if he plays it safe, tells himself now is not the time to risk it all, he will disappoint his devoted followers. He will be judged as calculating instead of idealistic, and everything he has said and done to date will be attributed to his overweening ambition.

But Escudero does not have to feel too bad. He can always take refuge in the words of Bob Harris.