In rare appearance, Eduardo Cojuangco vows to keep backing his nephew AquinoBy Carla P. Gomez
BACOLOD CITY—President Benigno Aquino III’s uncle, businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, held a rare press conference here to assure his nephew of continued support until his term expires in 2016.
Cojuangco, who has not been publicly seen for quite some time, gave the assurance while announcing a tie-up between his party, Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), and the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
At the press conference, Cojuangco was asked if a coalition exists or is in the works between NPC and LP.
“What I am saying [is] we have an agreement with the President,” Cojuangco said.
“We worked for him to get elected. There is no reason why we should not be with him until the end of his term,” said the businessman, who is on the list of the country’s richest people.
Cojuangco said the NPC support for Mr. Aquino would include backing for the President’s candidates in the 2013 elections.
He maintained that NPC was not coalescing with any party, though. “We are cooperating with the President,” he said.
“And so, when the time comes after 2016 when he (Aquino) is no longer President, I hope none of you can say later on that NPC became a butterfly, that we supported a different group,” Cojuangco said.
The businessman’s purported main agenda for the press conference is to explain his support for Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez over incumbent Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., both NPC members.
Cojuangco denied allegations that he was running NPC like a dictator because his decisions alone were being followed.
“That is farthest from the truth. I have never dictated to anybody here in Negros. We have always followed the decision of the majority,” said Cojuangco, a longtime ally of the dead dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
He said he only committed to support Alvarez after he was informed by party leaders in the province that Marañon no longer enjoys the support of congressmen and mayors.
Cojuangco said he and Marañon discussed the matter earlier and Marañon told him that he would no longer seek reelection. But Marañon had a change of mind, announcing recently that he would run again for governor.
Cojuangco said he could no longer backtrack on his commitment to Alvarez.
According to Cojuangco, the clash of NPC members in Negros Occidental is actually good for the province’s politics.
Marañon and Alvarez have said they will field full slates from congressmen down to councilors.