MANILA, Philippines (Updated) – Stalwarts of Nacionalista Party (NP) and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) are categorically denying they are in talks for a possible alliance to back the tandem of independent senators Grace Poe and Francis Escudero for 2016.
Senator Cynthia Villar, the wife of NP president former Senator Manuel Villar Jr, issued a statement to dismiss a newspaper report as baseless.
“Former Senate President Manny Villar and I are as surprised as everyone else to learn about this announcement,” Villar said on Thursday, July 23.
NP has at least 3 members mulling a 2016 run: senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr, Alan Peter Cayetano, and Antonio Trillanes IV.
Villar said the party is still “in the middle of consultation within its ranks” and will follow its self-imposed September deadline to declare its participation in the 2016 polls.
“To reiterate, we have to first determine the plans of our own members before we can express support for non-members. We are very proud of our party,” Villar said.
Marcos also issued a statement. “The Nacionalista Party has not spoken to the Nationalist People’s Coalition or any of its representatives, much less come to an agreement, on matters like supporting a common presidential and vice presidential candidates,” he said.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted NPC president Isabela Representative Giorgidi Aggabao in its story revealing the supposed coalition talks between NP and NPC.
But Aggabao is also denying the story.
“I may have been misquoted. I am not privy to any talks between NPC and NP. If there are, I am not aware of it,” Aggabao said in a text message on Thursday.
Attention turned to NPC in particular when talks between Poe and President Benigno Aquino III appeared to have collapsed after a 5-hour meeting on Monday.
Aggabao in a press conference on Thursday was quoted saying about 80% of party membership support a Poe-Escudero ticket.
Aquino’s party mates at the ruling Liberal Party (LP) expect him to endorse Roxas after his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) next week in spite of his poor showing in polls on voter preference for president.
Both the NPC and NP are members of the LP-led administration coalition that pushed for the priority measures of President Aquino.
But both parties also felt betrayed by LP in the last 2013 elections. The ruling party refused to recognize the “equity of incumbent” rule that should have stopped LP from fielding candidates to contest NPC and NP in their bailiwicks.
Poe earlier conceded that machinery – which a political party can provide – is a consideration when running for president. She was expecting to get the endorsement of Aquino. – Rappler.com