Divided NPC? Mar Roxas meets with key members

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Is there hope for the ruling Liberal Party-led coalition to stay intact come 2016?

LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II on Tuesday, August 11, met with key members of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), raising questions about the readiness of the second largest political party to support the likely presidential bid of survey frontrunner Senator Grace Poe

The breakfast meeting was held Tuesday morning, at “Balay” in Quezon City, Roxas and the LP’s headquarters. A photo obtained by Rappler shows NPC Secretary General Mark Llandro Mendoza leading 11 NPC House representatives in the meeting with Roxas.

Camarines Sur Representative Leni Robredo (LP), who is being eyed as Roxas's running mate, was also present in the meeting.

The other NPC members in the meeting were: South Cotabato Rep Pedro Acharon, Negros Occidental Rep Mercedes Alvarez, Bohol Rep Erico Aumentado, Negros Oriental Rep George Arnaiz, Negros Oriental Rep Pryde Henry Teves, Masbate Rep Scott Llanete, Zamboanga del Sur Rep Victor Yu, and Tarlac Rep Susan Yap. Also present was General Santos City Mayor Darlene Custodio.

None of the vocal supporters of Poe were present at the meeting that was held ahead of NPC's formal talks on 2016 plans scheduled Tuesday night. (READ: Grace Poe could propel NPC as PH’s biggest political party)

"There were no commitments asked... He was appealing for the support of the party," said Quezon Representative Mark Enverga, who was in the meeting.

"It's part of the consultation process. We'd like to hear from the candidate – his platform, his plans for the country. We just had that opportunity to hear from him," Enverga added.

NPC spokesperson Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian stressed there is still no official party decision.

"The NPC is not divided. To begin with there is still no official party decision as to who the party will support next year. All these meetings are parts and parcels of the ongoing consultation process within the party," Gatchalian said.

The NPC is part of a broad coalition led by the LP. Other members include the Nacionalista Party (NP) and the National Unity Party (NUP).

But that coalition may be a thing of the past once preparations for the 2016 elections come into full swing. Some NPC members have already declared plans to support Poe should she decide to vie for the presidency.

While Roxas has the coalition’s de facto leader, President Benigno Aquino III’s support for 2016, his numbers have been dismal. In contrast, Poe leads presidential preference surveys, followed by opposition standard-bearer Vice President Jejomar Binay. – Rappler.com