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  • They have yet to decide if they will finally run for the highest posts of the land, but Senators Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero are already in the process of crafting their platform of government for 2016. In a meeting with members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) during the party’s fellowship Tuesday night in Quezon City, Poe and Escudero started consulting with them about concerns needed to be addressed in their respective provinces.

    These concerns, Poe and Escudero said, will be included in the platform of government they are crafting, a strong indication they will likely run for president and vice president, respectively, in the 2016 national elections.

    Despite the consultations, Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza, who heads the NPC bloc at the Lower Chamber, said the two senators continued to keep their cards closed to their chests and did not categorically state their intention to run as tandem for the next year’s national elections.

    Mendoza, however, was silent on the list of concerns presented by the NPC members to the Poe-Francis tandem.

    At least 30 party members attended the meeting, Mendoza said.

    The second largest political party in the country, NPC has two senator-members, 47 congressmen, 14 governors, and 22 city mayors.

    NPC president and Deputy Speaker Isabela Rep. Giorgidi “Gigi” Aggabao, who attended the event, confirmed last night’s meeting. He described it as “purely socials, a gathering for the party members to meet in person Sen. Grace and Chiz.” He also said the two senators met with NPC “governors.”

    “There was no talk of politics although Sen. Grace did discuss some problems with governors besetting their provinces,” Aggabao said.

    Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, a stalwart of NPC who has already declared his intention to run for senator in next year’s elections, said the party event last night was “a good time” for the

    NPC members to get to know Poe and Escudero and vice versa.

    Apart from Mendoza and Aggabao, others who attended the fellowship were: Sen. Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, Isabela Rep. Napoleon Dy, Sorsogon Rep. Evelina Escudero, former Rizal Rep. Jack Duavit, Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, Alliance ofVolunteer Educators (AVE) party-list Rep. Amang Magsaysay, and Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Stephen Paduano.

    Before meeting with Poe and Escudero, key NPC members met with administration standard bearer Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas.

    LP PRESSURE ON POE?
    While the NPC is sizing up candidates to determine whom they will support in the 2016 elections, the administration party seems to have a different tack in wooing possible candidates.

    Yesterday, Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the administration is still hoping Poe will agree to become Roxas’ “co-pilot” in the 2016 polls, but the Liberal Party (LP) cannot wait forever.
    “Totoo naman, wala namang forever [It’s true. There is no forever],” Lacierda quipped when asked on how long the administration was willing to wait for Poe.

    Lacierda, however, declined to give a deadline on when Poe should make up her mind.

    Meanwhile, Binay will be the last but not the least to be given a chance to present his platform and convince NPC men to adopt him as presidential bet, a party leader assured yesterday.

    Binay is counting on the support of former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuangco to convince NPC to adopt him as its presidential candidate. Cojuangco is the son of NPC founder former Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.

    Mendoza said Binay will also be given a chance to seek party support but a meeting has yet to be scheduled. (B. Rosario/ C Luci with a report from Genalyn D. Kabiling, mb)

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