NPC members not supporting Poe should leave party, says Sotto | Inquirer News
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NPC members not supporting Poe should leave party, says Sotto

ANGELES CITY, Philippines—Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) members who refuse to support the party’s chosen candidates for the presidency and the vice presidency—Senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero, respectively—should take a leave from the group and expect no backing from it during the campaign, according to Sen. Vicente Sotto III.

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Sotto, a senior NPC member, said party leaders had already made the decision, backed by 90 percent of the members, to campaign for Poe and Escudero, who are running as independents.

Sotto scoffed at those saying that the NPC was not united in its stand, and noted that the only ones complaining from the party were the 10 percent who were not for the Poe-Escudero tandem.

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“So, what they can do is they can take a leave or they can inform the party that they do not want to support the political decision. And if you do that, therefore you can’t expect the party to support you. We can’t give you our support because you’re not following the party decision,” he told reporters.

Sotto said the NPC had no sanctions in mind for the members who would not support the leaders’ choice.

But he noted that in previous elections, the party did not back its members who did not toe the party line.

 

No need for directive

He also said that when it decided to support Poe and Escudero, NPC leaders had most likely consulted the party’s founder, businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco.

There was no need for the NPC to gather all of its members to issue the directive to support the Poe-Escudero team, according to Sotto.

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“Mere announcement is enough. The marching orders are already given on the ground level. That’s the most important thing,” he said.

The NPC has 2,540 elected members nationwide, including two senators, 45 representatives 12 governors, 14 vice governors, 106 board members, 241 mayors and 249 vice mayors.

Cebu Rep. Joseph “Ace” Durano, NPC-Cebu chair, expressed confidence that NPC members would bow to the majority’s decision to support Poe and Escudero.

“It’s just Day One after the NPC announced its decision. I am confident the NPC leadership will iron out things by addressing all concerns of our peers in the party,” Durano said.

He said that only a small minority were not convinced supporting Poe and Escudero. But Durano said the NPC still had a few more months to get every member on the same page.

Among the NPC members who have expressed dissatisfaction over the NPC executive committee decision were South Cotabato Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. and Negros Oriental Rep. George Arnaiz who are rooting for Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Mar Roxas. Camarines Sur Rep. Felix Fuentebella was also backing Vice President Jejomar Binay.

NPC decision questioned

Sotto said the other parties, such as the LP and the United Nationalist Alliance, which were questioning the NPC decision could not claim unity themselves.

Escudero, for his part, said the other candidates questioning the NPC decision, such as LP standard-bearer Mar Roxas and the camp of Jejomar Binay, were not members of the group and should not be speaking for the party.

Escudero noted that Roxas and Binay had both met with the NPC in hopes of getting its endorsement. When they failed to do so, they had a lot to say, but he said they should just accept the party’s decision.

Former suitors

Poe’s spokesperson Rex Gatchalian, an NPC member, said other political parties should stop questioning the party’s cohesion.

Gatchalian pointed out that the candidates questioning the NPC had once tried to get its support.

“It’s quite surprising to hear some political parties doubting the unity of the NPC, when all of them courted the party precisely because of the collective strength of the party. Now that the party has cast its lot with Senator Poe and not them, they come out tarnishing the unity of the NPC,” Gatchalian said in a text message.

“The NPC, time and time again, has proven its cohesion and will once again show it this coming elections,” he added.

The NPC had met with all the presidential candidates, save for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, before deciding whom to support in the May elections.

It was only Poe who met with party members several times.

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TAGS: Francis Escudero, Grace Poe, Nationalist People’s Coalition, NPC, Poe-Escudero tandem, Sotto, Tito Sotto
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