Incumbent elected officials of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) who are facing Liberal Party (LP) foes in vote-rich provinces will not be campaigning for the administration’s Team PNoy senatorial ticket, a ranking member of the NPC told the Inquirer on Thursday.
Sen. Vicente Sotto III said the NPC members concerned were expected to support only the party’s senatorial candidates—Sen. Loren Legarda in Team PNoy and Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA)—and their respective “friends” among the Senate bets.
“They interpret it as [having] no coalition,” Sotto said in a text message when asked what the incumbents felt about the LP fielding bets to run against them despite the formation of the Team PNoy coalition made up of the LP, NPC and Nacionalista Party (NP).
One such conflict area is the province of Pangasinan that had more than 1.6 million voters in 2010. Pangasinan Gov. Amado Espino of the NPC is facing Alaminos Mayor Nani Branganza of the LP for the gubernatorial post.
Another area is Isabela that had more than 870,000 registered voters in 2010. According to Sotto, Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy III would be facing an opponent from the Aksyon Demokratiko Party who is backed by the LP in the province.
Asked if this meant the NPC members with LP opponents would only support NPC members Legarda and Enrile, Sotto said, “I’m sure (the NPC incumbents at the local level) have other choices.”
“It depends if they are friends with the candidates or not,” Sotto said.
The NPC is also expected to back the candidacy of former party member Sen. Francis Escudero.
According to the list of candidates Sotto sent by e-mail, there were 60 elective positions at the local and congressional district levels that were being contested by NPC and LP members.
Sotto said 21 of these positions were now held by NPC stalwarts. Under the principle of the equity of the incumbent, the NPC members expected that their coalition partners in Team PNoy would not field candidates against them.
“Isolated? There are 21 cases,” Sotto said in reaction to suggestions that the NPC’s issues with the coalition were exceptions rather than the rule.