Danding Cojuangco’s Negros allies told to back 7 Senate bets

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Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

BACOLOD CITY—Businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, President Aquino’s uncle, has asked his allies in Negros Occidental to support only seven senatorial candidates in the May elections.

Five of these belong to the administration’s Team PNoy while two are in the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), according to two close allies of Cojuangco, who talked on condition of anonymity for not having authority from Cojuangco to talk to the media.

Cojuangco said the allies who met with the businessman over the weekend asked for support for only seven candidates.

The allies identified the five Team PNoy candidates as Chiz Escudero, Grace Poe, Loren Legarda, Sonny Angara and Bam Aquino. The two from the UNA are Jack Enrile and JV Ejercito.

Escudero, Enrile and Legarda belong to the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), which Cojuangco founded and leads as chair emeritus.

Bam Aquino is cousin of the President but has no blood relations with the businessman.

Cojuangco has apparently thrown his support to scions of his close friends in politics—the late movie actor Fernando Poe Jr., former president Joseph Estrada and Sen. Edgardo Angara.

Ejercito, son of the former president to San Juan Mayor Guia Gomez, said on Monday he welcomed the support and endorsement of Cojuangco and his allies in Negros Occidental.

“I am very grateful for Ambassador Cojuangco’s support and as previously promised, if elected, I will be the voice of Negros in the Senate,” Ejercito said in a phone interview.

He said Cojuangco is a “very close friend” of his father. Estrada was the running mate of Cojuangco when the businessman ran for president in 1992. Estrada won but Cojuangco lost to Fidel Ramos.

Cojuangco was in Negros Occidental on Saturday to drum up support for the gubernatorial bid of Vice Gov. Genaro Alvarez and the rest of the NPC candidates in Negros Occidental.

He also met with Manuel Lamata, head of the United Sugar Producers Federation of the Philippines, who committed the support of workers on his farm to the gubernatorial bid of Alvarez, according to Pulupandan Mayor Magdaleno Peña.

Cojuangco also met with Alvarez, vice gubernatorial candidate Eugenio Lacson, and the rest of the NPC local candidates at Hacienda Balbina, Pontevedra, where he extended support and listened to their concerns, Peña said.

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