Roxas downplays NPC endorsement of Poe

MANILA, Philippines – What party endorsement?

Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II on Tuesday, March 1, downplayed the endorsement of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) of rival and survey front runner Senator Grace Poe. 

"Kausap ko ang liderato ng NPC, at nananatiling wala silang pili sa pagkapangulo. Ito ay pili ng iilang miyembro ng NPC, at meron din namang mga NPC, mahigit dalawampu ang mga miyembro ng NPC na gobernador at na congressman ang sumusuporta sa Daang Matuwid, Mar-Leni tandem," said Roxas in a chance interview with reporters in Parañaque City. (I talked to the NPC leadership, and they remained non-committal [to any presidential candidate]. This [Poe endorsement] is a choice of some NPC members. Some NPC members, more than 20 of them, support our coalition.)

Roxas did not say who the 20 members were but on Monday, Representative Pedro "Jun" Acharon, a member of the NPC, said that while he respected the decision of his party mates, he remained loyal to the LP tandem of Roxas and running mate Leni Robredo. 

"I have not been consulted by the party on any official endorsement on any candidate. As far as I am concerned, I have already committed my support to Mar Roxas and Leni Robredo and I will continue to do so in my personal capacity," Acharon said in a statement to media. 

Other NPC members said they were not aware that the party was going to officially endorse Poe.

The NPC is the country's second largest party next to the ruling LP. The two parties forged a loose coalition during the 2013 elections.

Founded by businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr, the party has met with almost all presidential candidates for 2016 although they met with Poe several times prior to announcing its "endorsement." 

"Kaya hindi po ito party stand ng NPC. ‘Yan ang sabi sa akin ng liderato ng NPC at mga taga-NPC siguro. Hindi para sa akin ang magsalita para sa NPC. Siguro may mga leader diyan or mga kinatawan ng NPC ang pinakamabuting magsasabi," added Roxas. (It's not a party stand. That's what the NPC leadership told me. But it's not for me to say...their leaders should speak up.)

The NPC has not fielded any presidential or vice presidential bets for 2016 but two of its members are part of Poe's senate slate. 

Another NPC member, gubernatorial candidate Mark Cojuangco, son of the NPC founder, also said he was not consulted about the Poe endorsement. The younger Cojuangco is supporting the candidacy of Vice President Jejomar Binay. –