NPC’s pick: Roxas or Poe
Sen. Vicente Sotto III of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) said Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco’s political party only wanted to consult with Sen. Grace Poe.
“The leaders have no intention of inviting others,” Sotto said.
He said that majority of NPC members were “ready to support” Poe as presidential candidate with Sen. Francis Escudero as her running mate.
However, NPC leaders said hours earlier that the country’s second-largest political party with 2,000 elected local officials nationwide would support Cojuangco’s decision on whom to support in the presidential race next year.
And Interior Secretary Mar Roxas now wants the blessing of Cojuangco after getting President Aquino’s “anointment.”
“It’s the season of courting,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad of the Liberal Party (LP) on Wednesday explained to reporters why Roxas, the administration’s standard-bearer in next year’s presidential elections, had requested a meeting on Tuesday with leaders of Cojuangco’s NPC, which hosted Poe in the evening.
“If you don’t talk to them, how can they determine that you want their support,” said Abad. “I think Roxas is just being proactive about it.”
The NPC described the evening with Poe, front-runner in the survey on presidential preferences, as a “fellowship night.”
Poe told reporters after the gathering that meeting individual members of the NPC was “encouraging.”
Roxas was chosen by President Aquino last week as his presidential candidate next year. Poe has yet to decide if she would run for public office with Escudero, who was with her in the NPC affair in the sprawling residence of Cojuangco, the NPC chair emeritus, at New Manila in Quezon City.
Party-list members also
Former An-Waray Rep. Florencio Noel said that aside from the 30 NPC members who attended the meeting with Poe and Escudero, more than a dozen members of party-list members of Congress were present.
Noel said that among the party-list groups present were Abono, An-Waray, Ako Bicol, OFW, Anak, Abang Lingkod and Ave.
The NPC had been part of the administration coalition since Aquino’s election in 2010, but it broke away in 2013 when the LP fielded its own candidates against the NPC.
Speaking to reporters at the Senate budget hearing, Abad said the LP-NPC coalition was “still subsisting” and added that they will know for sure in October if the coalition will hold in the 2016 elections when he stressed “all the forces are in their respective places.”
Abad conceded that Poe still had not decided if she would seek higher office. Roxas wants her as his running mate, but Poe had said she had no plans of running against Escudero, who had announced he would seek the vice presidency next year.
Asked whether the LP planned to invite Poe so its members would know her better, Abad said this was something Roxas had to answer.
Best option for VP
“Obviously, I think she is the best option for vice president. There has to be an invitation to formally settle these things once and for all,” Abad said.
Abad also said he was unaware if a meeting had been scheduled for a Roxas-Poe meeting.
Asked whether the LP was still hopeful it could still get the NPC to support Roxas’ bid for the presidency, Abad said:
“Yes, because this will go all the way to October to December and May. In Philippine politics as in politics in general, many things still can happen … I’m sure as in any political party, there are those who advocate for one candidate or another but at end of the day they will have to decide as one party.”–With a report from Gil C. Cabacungan
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