The Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) is set to convene with Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero in a general assembly on Tuesday night– but an endorsement is not happening just yet.
NPC Spokesperson and Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian confirmed the gathering that will be held at the NPC clubhouse in New Manila, Quezon City, with NPC Chairman Emeritus Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr. as host.
“Tonight is the first of many consultation meetings. There will be no announcement [of endorsement]tonight. We believe that in order for us to make the right decision, we have to listen,” Gatchalian said in a text message.
Other names to grace the event include: Reps. Pryde Teves of Negros Occidental, Mark Enverga of Quezon, Susan Yap of Tarlac, Erico Aristotle Aumentado of Bohol, George Arnaiz of Negros Oriental, Pedro Acharon of South Cotabato, Sam Gullas of Cebu, Victor Yu of Zamboanga del Sur, Isidro Rodriguez Jr. of Rizal, Scott Davies Lanete of Masbate, Mercedez Alvarez of Negros Occidental, and Mark Mendoza of Batangas.
Another lawmaker source person, who did not want to be identified because of lack of authority to speak on the matter, disclosed that even non-NPC members would be coming to the said Tuesday night assembly, which also includes party-list representatives.
Acting NPC President Giorgidi Aggabao has earlier announced that the NPC will be supporting Senator Poe should she run for President next year, with Escudero serving as her running mate.
“The NPC will be supporting Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero when they do declare their bid for higher public office. We will use the entire apparatus and infrastructure of the party to advance the candidacy of Senator Poe. She has the credentials, good education, fine intellect…and she has no political baggage. If you juxtapose these to her liabilities, you will even have a political surplus. She will make a good President,” Aggabao, who also serves as one the House’s Deputy Speakers, said last August 4.
But come August 11, at least 13 NPC stalwarts, excluding Aggabao, had a breakfast meeting with former Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
Roxas, the standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party for the 2016 elections, has already received President Benigno Aquino’s endorsement for the highest office in the land. NPC’s Chairman Cojuangco is President Aquino’s uncle.
No less than President Aquino has been convincing Poe to play second fiddle to Roxas in 2016 by running for the Vice Presidency, but Poe—a pre-election survey leader among both Presidential and Vice Presidential bets—has not been receptive to the idea even after four meetings with the President.
Per Aggabao, the survey rating is the deal breaker. Roxas’ peak rating has just been at 19 percent thus far, while Poe has already breached the 40 percent mark.
“There are people who say we should not put too much emphasis on surveys. But these figures are also important because it shows your desirability as a leader—something that would play a great role to a political party confronted with the decision on who to support. Both Mar and Grace are sincere and qualified, and all things being equal, it is only reasonable to support Grace,” Aggabao said a week ago.
LLANESCA T. PANTI