'Friends of the party' in initial NPC senatorial lineup

MANILA, Philippines – The Nationalist People's Coaliation (NPC) has several "friends of the party" in mind for its Senate slate in 2019, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said on Thursday, April 26.

The initial lineup is made up of former and reelectionist senators such as  Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III; Senators Grace Poe, Nancy Binay, Juan Edgardo Angara and Cynthia Villar; and Taguig Representative Pia Cayetano.

Answering questions from the media at the weekly Kapihan sa Senado, Sotto said the politicians were “automatically considered,” even before other parties voiced their interest in them.

“They more or less fit into the ideals, objectives, and goals of the party. They need not be members of the party. They are friends of the party,” he said.

Sotto said the NPC will also include in its slate Special Assistant to the President Bong Go and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, should they decide to run for senator next year.

“[These are] The people we think are needed in the Senate and they are more or less in line with he objectives and ideals of the NPC,” he added. 

Sotto said NPC was also considering two to 3 “private personalities” but declined to name them.

He said there was also a "big possibility" that reelectionist Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, a member of the Liberal Party (LP) would be considered for its Senate ticket, and that he had already relayed this to his colleague.

Nag-usap din kami ni [Senator] Bam, malaking possibility na ang NPC ay [ikokonsider] (Senator Bam and I spoke. There is a big possibility NPC [will consider])," Sotto said.

Asked if even members from the LP were being considered, Sotto replied “Tutulungan din ni Ambassador Danding [Cojuangco] si Bam (Ambassador Danding [Cojuangco] will also help Bam)."

Sotto said, however, that talks with Aquino as a possible NPC guest candidate took place regardless of this. 

Former ambassador Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr, NPC chairman, founded the party for his 1992 presidential bid. (READ: Danding Cojuangco returns as NPC chairman ahead of 2019 elections)

Other possible candidates being considered for the party’s Senate slate are brothers Senator Joseph Victor Ejecrito and former senator Jinggoy Estrada.

Though the list has yet to be finalzed, Sotto said the NPC's senatorial candidates should more or less have similar ideals, objectives, and goals as the NPC. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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