THE leader of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) on Tuesday said Senator Grace Poe was sure to run for president in 2016 with Senator Francis Escudero as her running mate, and with the support of the second largest political party in the country.
“I’ve been told that proclamations will be made by Septemeber,” said NPC president and House deputy speaker Giorgidi Agabbao, adding that Poe and Escudero were expected to meet with NPC officials to thresh out details of the alliance.
Aggabao played down reports that Poe is still undecided and that she might slide down to run as the running mate of Liberal Party (LP)’s presidential bet, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
“From what I gathered, Senator Poe has fixed her mind on running for president. I also gathered that that is immutable,” Aggabao said.
Aggabao said the NPC is all set to support a Poe-Escudero tandem; and that the party is just waiting for the two to formally declare their candidacies.
“What I can tell you now is that the NPC has made a decision on who to support. Now, whether that decision is final or not would depend on
whether the candidates we would be supporting have made that important operative fact, which is to declare that they are running for president and vice president,” Aggabao said.
“I would tell you that the NPC, informally anyway, will be supporting the presidential aspirations of Senator Grace Poe and Senator Chiz Escudero for vice president,” he added.
Aggabao said the NPC would be willing to adopt Poe and Escudero as the party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates should they decide to run as independents.
“Our position in this is that we will support them, we will use the entire apparatus, the infrastructure of the party to advance the candidacies of both,” he said.
He added that the consensus among NPC members was to support the Poe-Escudero tandem, although they have yet to formalize the decision in a political convention.
“I think nearly all, if not all of the NPC members, are supportive of a Poe-Escudero candidacy,” he said.
Aggabao said this would signal a falling out with the Liberal Party, with which the NPC is allied.
“We still do consider ourselves as part of the coalition, we are fully supportive of the administration, particularly in the legislative fate of important matters like the budget and the BBL… But perhaps at a later time when we have our own candidates to support, there probably would be a falling out in our coalition but only with respect to our candidacies,” he said.
Escudero on Tuesday said he and Poe would never contest the same position.
“Senator Poe and I will never slug it out with each other for whatever position,” Escudero said in an interview with reporters.
In response to a question, Escudero also said he had no intention of running against Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, the Liberal Party’s standard bearer in the 2016 presidential elections.
Escudero also declined to comment on Poe’s intentions to run for the presidency, saying it was her decision and that he would not preempt her.
President Benigno Aquino III has said he is still hoping they can convince Poe to run for vice president as Roxas’ running mate.
But Poe said she has not received any direct invitation from the Liberal party to run with Roxas.
“They have been telling this to the media,” she said.
She also recalled telling the President during their meetings that she will remain an independent candidate.
She also said she has had no formal talks with the NPC.