4 parties for Poe to halve LP coalition
The four-party coalition being formed to back Sen. Grace Poe’s run for the presidency is expected to match or even eclipse the size and breadth of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) coalition.
The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Nacionalista Party (NP), National Unity Party (NUP), the Makabayan bloc and a number of party-list groups such as An Waray and Ako Bicol are expected to formalize their alliance behind Poe next month after the deadline for the filing of candidacy for the 2016 national elections, according to Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao of the NPC.
Aggabao said leaders of the NPC, NP, NUP and Makabayan sat down for dinner with Poe at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday night, or just 24 hours before she was scheduled to formalize her presidential bid at Ang Bahay ng Alumni at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
Also present during the dinner were Deputy Speaker Roberto Puno, Makabayan bloc chair Satur Ocampo, NUP chair and Bataan Gov. Albert “Abet” Garcia, former Camarines Sur Gov. Luis Raymund Villafuerte of the NP, and Bataan Rep. Mark Leandro Mendoza of the NPC.
Aggabao said the discussions were informal, “purely social.”
“No new matters were discussed with her except that among the parties, we agreed to let party leaders attend the occasion today,” Aggabao said.
“We will talk about our timetable next month. There will be a formal declaration of support among NPC, NP, NUP and the Makabayan bloc for the candidacy of Senator Grace,” Aggabao said in a text message.
Since the NP, NPC and NUP and the party-list groups were major cogs in the administration coalition, Aggabao said that their defection would cut the size of the LP coalition by half.
Also, LP members
House Minority Leader Ronaldo Zamora said he expected a substantial number of LP members to join the Poe coalition.
Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said that while Puno and Garcia were the NUP’s top leaders, the party, made up of former members of the Lakas-CMD and formed after 2010, had not yet finalized its choice for President in 2016.
“I have talked with a lot of our members and none of them have told me that they were for Poe,” said Barzaga, who has been vocal about his support for the LP standard-bearer, Mar Roxas.
Sen. Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday that Poe was to announce Thursday that her running mate would be Sen. Francis Escudero.
Sotto, a senior NPC member, also said 70 local officials would take their oath on Friday as NPC members and that the coalition was inclined to support Poe.
The NPC has been the second-largest political party in the country since 1992 when businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco ran and lost in the presidential race.
The NPC has many members in the local scene, including 48 congressmen and hundreds of mayors and less than a hundred governors. Likewise, the party is very strong locally and have a “strong foothold” in key areas in the country.
Asked whether the NPC was now supporting Poe and Escudero, Sotto said the party may be ready this week to talk about the presidential candidate it would support.
But he also said the party was inclined to support Poe and Escudero. He said he himself would support the team.—With a report from Christine O. Avendaño
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