NPC to support Roxas if Poe won’t run for President
The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) will support Interior Secretary Mar Roxas if Sen. Grace Poe decides not to run for President in 2016, House Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao said on Tuesday.
“No question about it. If Senator Poe, for some unknown reasons, says she is not running for President, I imagine NPC would be supporting Secretary Mar,” said Aggabao, the NPC president.
But he said he believed a Poe candidacy was “immutable” with her announcement of her political ambitions likely to be timed in September.
“The NPC will be supporting the presidency aspirations of Grace Poe and [Sen. Francis] Chiz Escudero, as Vice President, when they do declare their aspirations for higher office,” Aggabao said.
“I think it’s a question of timing. From what I have been told, I foresee that proclamations will probably be made in September,” he said. He clarified, however, that he had not personally talked to either Poe or Escudero.
Critics say that Poe has citizenship problems that could be questioned in the Supreme Court. She is married to an American citizen and had taken up US citizenship before she returned to the Philippines.
On July 22, Aggabao announced that the NPC of businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco and the Nacionalista Party of former Sen. Manny Villar were forming a “tactical alliance” to support a Poe-Escudero run in next year’s elections. Aggabao the following day denied he ever made the statement. Sen. Cynthia Villar, the former senator’s wife, also dismissed Aggabao’s claim.
On Tuesday, Aggabao said that the NPC, the second-largest party next to the ruling Liberal Party, had yet to formally convene to proclaim support for Poe and Escudero, but that “nearly all” of the party members favored the two senators.
He said he viewed both Poe and Roxas as the two candidates who could continue on the straight-path governance style of the Aquino government, but that the former was the stronger candidate.
“Personally, I thought it’s a weak bet for the presidency to choose Secretary Mar because judging from polling figures based on surveys, etc. the stronger bet would be Senator Poe,” he said.
“So between two candidates that say they will continue the programs of the President, for me, personally, I would put my vote on a stronger candidate. I mean, that’s rational, that’s reasonable,” he said.
Aggabao said the NPC would remain with the ruling coalition, though he conceded a split with the Liberal Party was inevitable once the campaign was in full swing.
“I’d like to say that we are supportive of the administration but perhaps when the time comes when we have to support our own candidates, at some point there would be a falling out,” he said.
Sen. Vicente Sotto III, also of the NPC, said Tuesday the party might hold initial talks next week to decide whom it would support in the elections. He said the NPC might consult “elders,” including Cojuangco, “if we do not come to a consensus.”
He said Cojuangco, the NPC chair emeritus, would “help us decide.” He added, “The last time we talked he told me he does not want to get himself involved full-time.”–With a report from Christine O. Avendaño
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