NPC may go solo in 2013 polls
Party threatens to bolt LP-led coalition over ‘equity of incumbent’By Norman Bordadora, Erika Sauler
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) might bolt its powerhouse administration coalition with the ruling Liberal Party (LP) and Nacionalista Party (NP) if the equity of the incumbent isn’t followed in the choice of candidates for elections in the local levels next year, an NPC senator said Tuesday.
No less than President Benigno Aquino announced a few months back that the LP, which he chairs, had finalized talks with the NP and the NPC to form a coalition for the 2013 midterm elections.
It was perceived to be the administration’s answer to the much-hyped coming together of ousted President Joseph Estrada’s Puwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) and Vice President Jejomar Binay’s PDP-Laban to form the opposition UNA coalition.
Senate Majority Leader and NPC Senator Vicente Sotto III said Tuesday that with the number of NPC House members, governors and mayors, the party was insisting on the coalition adopting the principle of the equity of the incumbent or supporting the coalition members who are vying for reelection.
“And if I guess it right, the tendency of the leadership of the NPC is that if the equity of the incumbent won’t be followed by the coalition in the local level, we would rather go our own way. We’ll just go solo flight,” said Sotto.
“Besides, the NPC is used to going solo,” he added.
Told that the NPC’s inclusion in the administration coalition was already a done deal, Sotto said this was the case before. “At the moment, it’s not,” he said.
“A kink developed because of the issue of the equity of the incumbent,” Sotto added.
As for candidates on the national level, Sotto said it would be up to NPC members reelectionist Senator Loren Legarda and Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile to choose which side to campaign with—the LP-led administration coalition or UNA—if the two were prevented from running as common candidates by the two groups.
“On the national level, if Senator Legarda and Representative Enrile will not be allowed on both lineups then they will have to decide which side they would prefer and, as of now, what I know is the inclination of Senator Legarda and Congressman Jack to be with UNA,” Sotto told reporters.
“If that won’t be allowed, we’ll have a difficult time having the coalition in the national level,” he added.
Told that a slot in its 12-person senatorial slate had been reserved by the LP for Legarda, Sotto said this would be welcome. “The more people who support you the better,” he said.
For his part, the man Mr. Aquino did not include on the list of LP candidates drawn up by the party so far, Senator Francis Escudero, on Monday said he was running under the administration party.
“I will seek reelection … adopted by the Liberal Party,” he told the Philippine Daily Inquirer after speaking at the Manila City Hall flag-raising ceremony. “Though I might be adopted by other parties, I don’t want to preempt the parties’ announcement.”
“I don’t hurry love, what more politics, it’s more complicated,” he said, referring to his rumored romance with actress Heart Evangelista.
Since the LP was the administration party, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said Tuesday it was natural that politicians gravitated toward the party as the 2013 elections neared.
But the LP was being careful and was not accepting just anyone who expressed an interest to join, LP officials said Tuesday.
“Realistically, every midterm election, when the President is perceived to be at his strongest, politically and historically, all of them would gravitate to the administration party which is the Liberal Party now,” Gonzales told reporters Tuesday.
LP secretary general Joseph Emilio Abaya said the party did not want to follow what the previous administration party did and dramatically increase its membership by accepting many new members.
“We’re actively recruiting, but not massively,” he said. With a report from Leila B. Salaverria
Originally posted: 8:49 pm | Tuesday, September 11th, 2012