NPC head: 80 percent of members for Poe, Escudero
MAJORITY of the members in the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) are rooting for Senator Grace Poe for President because of the party’s history in backing the presidency of her father, the late Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ).
In a press conference on Wednesday, NPC President Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said he talked with NPC members and at least 80 percent supported Poe for president and Senator Francis Escudero for vice president.
“Many members of the NPC are rooting for Poe-Escudero tandem,” said Aggabao, a Deputy Speaker in the House of Representatives.
Aggabao said the NPC has yet to make its final stand because Poe and Escudero are still mum about their plan to run for higher office.
“The operative fact is for Senators Poe and Escudero to announce their candidacy… Until that time comes, we cannot make an open and shut endorsement of any political candidate,” Aggabao said.
Meanwhile, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the NPC’s evident support for Poe and Escudero goes back to historical ties.
Gatchalian said NPC supported the presidential bid of FPJ.
Meanwhile, Escudero was formerly an NPC member. He joined the NPC in 1998 but bolted the party in 2009 at the time he was a presumptive presidential bet, citing a desire to run independent.
“Escudero may have left the party but the personal relationships he forged never died… For Poe, in 2004, the NPC supported her father and her father went to the stump for a lot of NPC candidates. Those are historical relationships that you cannot erase,” Gatchalian said.
“Maybe that’s the reason why a lot of NPC members are rooting for them to run,” he added.
FPJ lost the 2004 elections to former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo amid allegations of massive election fraud. He died of stroke just months after he lost.
Aggabao said a Poe-Escudero team-up would be noble because they are independent from political interests. Poe topped the 2013 senatorial race as an independent.
“For the first time, we’ll have a strong president and vice president candidate na independent at hindi nakatali sa political interest,” Aggabao said.
“Isn’t that noble?” he added.
Gatchalian clarified that the NPC has not yet made a final position in supporting Poe and Escudero.
He said that when the time comes that the NPC makes its final decision, the members are told to follow the party decision.
He said this even includes his brother Valenzuela Representative Sherwin Gatchalian, who is said to be running for senator under Vice President Jejomar Binay’s presidential bid.
“Let’s not mistake personal relationship with party affiliation. I also expect Sherwin to toe the party line,” Gatchalian said.
The NPC is wooing Poe and Escudero despite their meetings with President Benigno Aquino III about the administration coalition plans in 2016. Poe and Escudero ran in the 2013 elections under the Team PNoy coalition.
Aquino is said to be courting Poe, who is popular in the voters’ preference surveys, to run for Vice President with Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, the Liberal Party’s presumed presidential bet but is unpopular in the surveys. Aquino supposedly wanted Poe to add sheen to Roxas’ lack of popularity.
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