NPC tells LP: Don’t blame us for cracks in leadership

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DAGUPAN CITY—The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in Pangasinan on Saturday said it should not be blamed if “gaping cracks” in the Liberal Party (LP) leadership in the province are now showing.

In a statement, former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco, NPC provincial chair, said the party had nothing to do with the internal squabbles among LP leaders in Pangasinan.

On Monday, Board Member Ranjit Shahani, an LP stalwart in the province, said 17 of 29 LP mayoral candidates in the province have shifted their support from their gubernatorial candidate, Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza, to reelectionist Gov. Amado Espino Jr. of the NPC.

This prompted the LP provincial leadership to accuse Espino’s supporters of lying and using dirty tricks when they relayed to reporters the mayoral candidates’ shifting of support.

“We have nothing to do with the purely internal squabbles among LP leaders, although we welcome those who will… support Governor Espino,” said Cojuangco.

He said it was Shahani who first committed his support for Espino at the start of the campaign. Shahani and Braganza are cousins.

“What’s happening is apparently a fight between cousins Shahani and Braganza over party leadership of the LP in Pangasinan,” Cojuangco said.

“The NPC is not in any position to meddle in that squabble,” he added.

In a statement quoting him, Shahani said the group of LP members that he leads is not “defecting from the LP.”

“We’re just declaring our support for Governor Espino,” the statement quoted Shahani as saying.

Earlier, it was the Espino camp that accused the camp of Braganza of resorting to dirty tactics following the filing of plunder and murder cases against the governor.

“We want it to be known that we do not adhere to the dirty tactics, especially character assassination, employed by the governor’s rival,” the statement quoted Shahani as saying.

In a previous report, the camp of Espino said the LP mayors who would shift support from Braganza to Espino would make formal their commitment to the NPC ticket in Pangasinan in a covenant today that would be attended also by former Sen. Leticia Ramos Shahani, Ranjit’s mother. Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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