A slim fit

The young congressman from Sorsogon introduces Iris Cecilia C. Gonzales to his buddy, Mr. Slim.


WORDS  IRIS CECILIA C. GONZALES | IMAGES  MIKE ALCID

Francis “Chiz” Escudero, he with the boy-next-door looks and charming smile, is a major figure in the political arena. A staunch member of the opposition party, Escudero is proud to be on that side of the fence.

Rep. Chiz Escudero
Rep. Chiz Escudero

At the House of Representatives, this lawmaker leads the minority bloc with wit, calm, and humor. He speaks rapidly, yet in a sober tone, making him stand out among his senior peers, some of whom easily blow their top over things both marvelous and mundane.

He dishes out diatribes against the Arroyo administration, yet has managed to earn Malacanang officials’ respect as a “responsible member of the opposition.”

Passionate and convincing, Escudero is a fixture in opposition rallies and street protests. Not a few times, he would expose what he perceives to be a wrongdoing and demand an explanation from the Palace.

He is now on his third term as Representative of the first district of the province of Sorsogon. After his term ends in 2007, he says he is vying for a Senate seat.

Escudero, a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, is also a serious lawyer, having served as professor of the University of the Philippines College of Law.

Believe it or not, however, this lawmaker knows when to stop. He knows when to take a break from politics. And when he does decide to take it easy, one of the things he is known to do is spend time with Mister Slim, a red 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL.

Why did you acquire it?
When I was born, my dad didn’t plant a tree, so there was nothing that I could sort of measure my age with. I searched and searched, and that led to a 1969 Mercedes.

1969 Mercedes Benz 280 SL
1969 Mercedes Benz 280 SL

Where did you find it?
A friend sold it to me, and then I bought all this other stuff from eBay as part of the restoration of the car. I bought parts, accessories, and other stuff that would go along with the car.

What kind of repair work did it require?
It took me four years to restore it. Everything… the works. It required a lot of technical restoration in the engine, chassis, and suspension, and some works on the door, hood, and deck.

How often do you use it?
I use it on weekends. I just love driving it.

What’s the best part about driving it?
Every time I start the engine, I feel like Forest Gump, opening a box of chocolates. Life, he said, is like a box of chocolates: You don’t know what you’re going to get. That’s how I feel with the car, and that’s why I love it so much. Every time I start the engine, I wonder whether or not I will arrive at my destination.

One time, I drove to Tagaytay and asked a driver to follow me in another car. As I expected, the Mercedes broke down, so he was left with it while I drove home the car that he drove. It can be tricky, but that’s part of the fun.

What’s your advice to people who want to own vintage cars?
It’s not practical and it’s expensive, but if you really want it, it’s worth all the trouble.

When is your next trip?
I will have to decide on that after I get the car out from the mechanic’s. It’s there now for a regular check-up.

Do you think you can ever part with it?
Let’s put it this way: I have five cars. I can give up any of that except my Mister Slim. I love that car. She’s simply sexy and elegant.