MANILA – The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), the second largest political party in the country, on Monday endorsed the candidacies of independent presidential aspirant Senator Grace Poe and her runningmate Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
In a press conference at the House of Representatives, the NPC leaders, led by its president House Deputy Speaker Giogidi Aggabao announced that 90 percent of its members have voted in favor of the Poe-Escudero tandem.
“After months of intensive meetings and consultations among all members, the Executive Committee has deemed it appropriate to recognize and adhere to the wishes of the great majority of the members. The party believes that in the past decades of division and partisanship, Poe and Escudero represent the best hope for a unified push for sustainable development,” Aggabao said.
“These candidates most embody our party’s manifesto that very Filipino is important and that every Filipino must be served equally well regardless of station or status,” he added.
“We also believe that the tandem of Grace and Chiz will be the best candidates as they exemplify the principles that the NPC look upon in a candidate: malinis, matapang, masipag at matulungin,” Aggabao said.
With the endorsement, the NPC leadership now believes that the tandem of Poe-Escudero tandem would be the team to beat in the May elections.
Aggabao said that although the NPC is the second largest political party in the country, second only to the administration’s Liberal Party (LP), they can count on nearly a hundred percent of its members toeing the party line, apart from the support of its allied Partylist affiliates.
“Ninety percent have already agreed to endorse Grace and Chiz. We are now talking to the remaining 10 percent and we are hoping that we could change their mind before elections,” he said.
Likewise, the NPC is boasting of a strong presence in the local elections, fielding its largest number of candidates so far in its history with 4,129 candidates contesting various local positions throughout the country.
The NPC is also counting on eight partylist affiliates to support their endorsement.
“With the entire machinery of the NPC now behind Grace and Chiz, we strongly believe that they would be the winners come May,” Aggabao said.
In Tuguegarao City, the announcement was confirmed by NPC member and Tuguegarao City mayor Jefferson Soriano to the media during the tandem’s campaign sortie here.
Soriano told the media that NPC chairman Rep. Faustino Dy of Isabela gave him the go signal to welcome the Partido Galing at Puso (PGP)’s tandem here.
“NPC chairman Dy gave us go signal to campaign for Poe and Escudero. I’m for Grace and Chiz,” Soriano said in a media interview.
The announcement was made after the NPC leadership made a nationwide consultation with its members and after meeting with other presidential aspirants that include Binay, Davao City Mayoro Rodrigo Duterte and Mar Roxas of the ruling Liberal Party.
Last week, NPC member reelectionist Senator Vicente Sotto III said Poe and Escudero are most likely to get NPC endorsement.
NPC was founded by businessman tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.
Escudero, a former member of NPC, is Poe’s campaign manager when the lady senator ran and topped the 2013 senatorial elections with over 20 million votes.