It's either Chiz or Loren as NPC standard bearer in 2010 polls — Cojuangco

July 9, 2009 8:40 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, July 9 — A Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) stalwart on Thursday said the party is considering only two presidential aspirants for the May 2010 elections — Senators Francis Joseph "Chiz" Escudero or Loren Legarda — as it closes its doors to other presidential aspirants.

"It is now a toss-up between Chiz and Loren. Either of them can be our standard bearer. The choice is either Chiz-Loren or Loren-Chiz only," said Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco in an interview with reporters at the NPC Clubhouse in Balete Drive in Quezon City.

"The door is closed. We have stopped entertaining proposals to accommodate other potential presidential and vice presidential candidates," he said

"We believe we have the most formidable candidates. Both (Chiz and Loren) are winnables," he added.

Cojuangco said the decision was firmed up recently in a meeting of the NPC’s national executive committee, where business tycoon Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco was a ranking officer.

He stressed that a coalition with other parties would be possible only if the coalition would carry the presidential and vice presidential tandem of the NPC — Chiz-Loren or Loren-Chiz.

It is impossible if the NPC candidates would come second best or as vice presidential candidates to other ruling parties, Cojuangco said, denying the probability of having Chiz-Noli de Castro or Loren-Noli or Chiz-Manny Villar or Villar-Loren as the party's standard bearer.

The Pangasinan congressman, however, said that other potential candidates from other parties for senatorial down to local positions are welcome to join the NPC.

In fact, he said the party has already "identified six of our members as senatorial candidates."

"We are still deciding on another six from among the short list. We will name them as soon as we have completed the slate, including the standard bearer, which will be decided on by the party soon enough," he added.

Cojuangco also said about 10 congressmen from the merged Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrat (CMD) have signified intention to join the NPC.

"We have 10 congressmen coming from Lakas-Kampi and we can field them as reelectionists under NPC," he said.

He, however, refused to identify these 10 Lakas-Kampi-CMD congressmen as "they would be pitted against their former partymates."

Aside from the 10 congressmen, Cojuangco said many local officials all over the country have also signified their intention of joining the NPC.

He cited independent Laguna Rep. Edgar San Luis who was sworn in by the NPC.

San Luis has brought along mayors down to barangay captains in his district, he said.

The Pangasinan solon said the NPC is confident that it will wrest control of the presidency in the 2010 elections. (PNA) scs/LGI

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