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NPC members in Visayas admit backing different presidential bets

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental — Sen. Grace Poe cannot expect a solid support from the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) chapters in Visayas.

While the NPC national leaders announced their support for Poe and running mate, Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero, NPC members in Negros Occidental were for Mar Roxas, the Liberal Party standard bearer and his running mate, Rep. Leni Robredo.

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In Cebu and Bohol, members were split between Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance.

Mayor Isidro Zayco of Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental, provincial NPC chair, said the party had declared a free zone in Negros Occidental, giving them freedom to choose whom to support among national candidates.

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He said NPC chairman emeritus Eduardo Cojuangco gave them clearance to declare a free zone in the presence  of NPC chairman Faustino Dy II.

“We have an arrangement with the NPC hierarchy for Negros Occidental only. I cannot speak for other provinces,” Zayco said.

Zayco said Rep. George Arnaiz, NPC candidate for governor in Negros Oriental, also earlier aired his support for Roxas.

Brian Llamanzares, who was in Negros Occidental campaigning for his mother on Monday, said he was happy that his mother was able to get an endorsement from NPC, the second biggest party in the country.

In Cebu, some NPC members were torn between Poe, who was endorsed by NPC hierarchy, and Vice President Jejomar Binay who promised to give them funds.

“We have to be practical. We will go with whoever supports our group,” said Vice Mayor Romeo Villarante of Talisay City, NPC bet for mayor.

Aside from problems on campaign funds, Villarente said they were also concerned about the disqualification case against Poe which has remained pending at the Supreme Court.

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An NPC member in Bohol also announced that he was supporting Binay and not Poe.

Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado of Bohol, said that while he remained loyal to the party, Binay was the only presidential bet whom he was able to talk to.  He said he considered Binay the “most qualified” to run the country.

Last Feb. 22, Aumentado led the formation of the composed of various political parties. The even was attended by lawyer JV Bautista, UNA secretary general.   The new group has vowed to support Binay, Aumentado said.

Prominent BUO members include Conchita Toribio-delos Reyes, who is the 3rd district congressional bet of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan; and Loay Mayor Rosemarie Imboy, gubernatorial candidate.

Aumentado said that Binay assured him that the economic development zone for the second district and the Cebu-Bohol Multi-Access Friendship Bridge project, connecting Cebu and Bohol would materialize if he was elected president.

He said Binay has been bullish about pursuing the Cebu-Bohol Bridge project, which was proposed during the incumbency of Aumentado’s father, the late Bohol governor Erico Aumentado.  SFM

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