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NPC goes for Grace

Danding-founded party calls Poe-Chiz ‘best bets’

THE Nationalist People’s Coalition, the country’s second largest political party, on Monday endorsed presidential bet Senator Grace Poe and her running mate, Senator Francis Escudero.

At a news conference, NPC stalwarts led by Reps. Giorgidi Aggabao of Isabela, Mark Llandro Mendoza of Batangas and Mark Enverga of Quezon said the party had decided to adopt Poe and Escudero as its candidates for president and vice president, respectively.

“The tandem of Senators Poe and Escudero are the best candidates. They embody the principles we want to see in our president and vice president,” Aggabao said, describing them as clean, courageous, hardworking and caring.

Senator Grace Poe
Aggabao said the decision, the result of a series of consultations that lasted several months, was backed by 90 percent of the party members.

The NPC has fielded a total of 4,129 for both local and national positions nationwide for May 9 polls, Enverga said.

Aggabao said he believes that the Poe-Escudero tandem can win, given the “size and heft” of the political party that was founded by businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. in 1991 who ran for president in 1992.

Following the NPC’s endorsement of the Poe-Escudero tandem, Aggabao said they expect all party officials and members to toe the line.  

Aggabao, a lawyer, said he was confident Poe would be able to hurdle the disqualification cases filed against her.

“When the Comelec [Commission on Elections] disqualified Grace, her numbers went down. But when the TRO [temporary restraining order] came out, they went up. If you ask us what will be the effect if she’s able to hurdle the [disqualification cases], perhaps her poll numbers will go through the roof,” Aggabao said.

“We feel if she’s able to hurdle the Supreme Court [case], she will definitely own the finish line,” he added.

Poe’s camp said they were grateful for the NPC’s endorsement.

“She believes that together, she and the thousands of NPC members

nationwide can propel the country to become more inclusive and help uplift the lives of our countrymen,” said Poe’s spokesman, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian.

“The endorsement of the NPC will serve as inspiration for Senator Poe to intensify her campaign and to further detail to the Filipino public her advocacy to establish ‘Gobyernong may Puso’,” he added.

Escudero said the endorsement from his former political party was a welcome boost to him and Poe.

“I wanted to give my big thanks to my former party. Many were saying that we’re weak and we have no machinery. This is a big boost so our presence will be felt  in more parts of the country,” he said.

NPC is part of the administration coalition headed by President Benigno Aquino III.

Despite the NPC endorsement, Escudero said he and Poe had no intention of joining the political party and will remain independents even if they win in May.

The Palace welcomed the NPC endorsement of Poe and Escudero, saying it would clarify the party’s stand on national issues.

“The formal  endorsement by a political party of a set of candidates should lead to a sharper definition of the party’s stand on vital national issues and a higher level of discourse where the primary focal points of attention are platforms of governance instead of simply personalities,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

The camp of administration standard bearer Manuel Roxas II played down the NPC endorsement.

“I’ve talked to some of Mar’s supporters from NPC, and they say they had absolutely no knowledge of this ‘endorsement.’ Apparently, there’s some confusion within their ranks,” said Roxas spokesman Akbayan Rep. Ibarra Gutierrez.

“It might be similar to what happened in 2010, when the same group in NPC claimed that they endorsed Manny Villar, only for the party to formally endorse Noynoy Aquino shortly after. We will wait for further developments,” he added.

Villar was one of Aquino’s opponents in the 2010 presidential race.­ With Sandy Araneta and John Paolo Bencito

Topics: Grace Poe , Chiz Escudero , NPC
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