Will NPC back Lacson’s presidential bid? Party to decide soon, says Sotto
MANILA, Philippines — The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) is expected to decide soon whether or not to back the presidential bid of Senator Panfilo Lacson.
This is according to NPC chairman, Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, who is Lacson’s running mate in the upcoming elections.
“The party stand is to support my candidacy and the leadership has already proposed that,” Sotto said in a text message on Thursday.
“We are about to meet on my proposal that the party support our tandem. We will soon,” the vice presidential aspirant added.
The meeting will be held next week, Sotto said in a “Meet the Press” forum with Lacson.
Sotto said he will make an appeal to his partymates to either support Lacson’s presidential bid or to refrain from endorsing another contender.
“I’ll be very blunt about this, when I talk to my partymates, ang magiging appeal ko [my appeal] is that either we support the Lacson-Sotto tandem or don’t support any other presidential candidate,” the Senate president said.
“The party will not support any other presidential candidates. It’s either Senator Lacson or ‘wag na lang [or none at all],” he added.
According to Sotto, a “majority” of his partymates is supporting his tandem with Lacson.
The NPC has 1,538 incumbent officials as members of the party, Sotto noted.
After the meeting, he hopes to get the backing of at least 75 percent of the NPC members.
But even before the NPC meets, two of its members— Senator Sherwin Gatchalian and former Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista – were removed from the senatorial slate of the Lacson- Sotto tandem.
This leaves the tandem with only four n NPC members in its senatorial ticket— Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, former Senator Jinggoy Ejercito, Sorsogon Gov. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, and former Agriculture secretary and now senatorial aspirant Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol.
Aside from the four NPC members, Sotto said they still have three senatorial bets from Partido Reporma— former national police chief Guillermo Eleazar, former Makati Rep. Monsour del Rosario, and Dr. Minguita Padilla; re-electionist senators Juan Miguel Zubiri and Joel Villanueva; former Senator Gringo Honasan, and broadcaster Raffy Tulfo.
“We are checking on Dick and VP Binay if they are still with us,” Sotto added, referring to Senator Richard Gordon and former Vice President Jejomar Binay.