NPC leader: 'I'm dead certain Poe will run for president'

MANILA, Philippines (Updated) – Isabela Representative Giorgidi Aggabao, the president of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), said on Tuesday, August 4, he is "dead certain" that Senator Grace Poe is running for president in 2016.

"Based on the information that I have gathered and I know, it is dead certain that Senator Grace Poe will run for president and Chiz [Escudero] will run for vice president," Aggabao told Rappler in a phone interview.

Aggabao wouldn't elaborate on his information but he said he is also quite sure that the NPC, the country's second biggest political party, will back the tandem of Poe and fellow Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero, a former NPC member.

"I did not say 'if they declare their candidacy' but 'when they declare their candidacy,' NPC will be supporting them," Aggabao said.

Sought for comment, Poe said there have been no formal talks with NPC. "Gayunpaman, noon pa, noong panahon ni FPJ marami sa kanila ang sumuporta kanya, maraming salamat (Nevertheless, many of them have been supportive since the time of FPJ. Thank you)," said Poe.

Aggabao's statement comes as President Benigno Aquino III continues to hope that Poe will agree to run as the running mate of administration candidate Manuel Roxas II. (READ: Who will be Mar Roxas' VP? Poe, Robredo, or Cayetanos)

No official announcement is expected within the month of August, however, because of politicians' belief that it is considered a ghost month. It is believed to be unlucky.

It is the ambitious goal of Aquino's Liberal Party to keep its coalition with NPC, the political party founded by the President's uncle businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. (READ: Liberal Party: Sustaining a rebirth)

But the relationship between LP and NPC suffered in the 2013 midterm elections when the administration party refused to respect the "equity of incumbent," an arrangement that was supposed to bar LP from challenging NPC in its established bailiwicks.

The 2013 polls saw bitter local rivalries between the two coalition allies.

Many NPC members blamed Roxas, the LP president-on-leave, who is believed to be running the party in spite of his appointment at the Department of the Interior and Local Government.  Rappler.com