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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, March 1, 2016
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NPC backs Grace, Chiz,
but Neg. Occ. ‘free zone'

Nationalist People's Coalition officials yesterday finally announced their party's support for Grace Poe and Francis Escudero for president and vice president, but many of its members in Negros Occidental are still supporting the Mar Roxas-Leni Robredo tandem.

The NPC, the second biggest political party in the country, has okayed a “free zone” in Negros Occidental giving its members the freedom to choose the national candidates they want to support, Kabankalan Mayor Isidro Zayco, party chairman in the province, said yesterday.

At a press conference held at the House of Representatives Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao said that about 90 percent of the NPC members have said yes to endorsing Poe and Escudero, they still have to talk to the remaining 10 percent.

But Zayco said Negros NPC members have clearance to choose the bets they want to support, granted by their chairman emeritus Eduardo Cojuangco in the presence of NPC chairman Faustino Dy II.

We have an arrangement with the NPC hierarchy for Negros Occidental only, I cannot speak for other provinces, Zayco said.

Zayco said Rep. George Arnaiz, who is the NPC candidate for governor of Negros Oriental also earlier aired his support for Roxas.

Bacolod Rep. Evelio Leonardia, who has openly announced his support for Roxas and Poe, said “I understand that they will respect our individual positions, nevertheless I will confer with my party mates and officials to give them due respect.”

Brian Llamanzares, who was in Negros Occidental campaigning for his mother, said "Masayang masaya ako na sa wakas nakuha na rin ng nanay kong si Grace Poe ang pormal na endorsement galing sa NPC! Taus puso ang pasasalamat ko sa Partido! Sa tulong ng NPC posible na magkaroon tayo ng pagbabago sa Gobyernong may Puso (I'm so happy at last my mother Grace Poe got the formal endorsement of the NPC. Our heartfelt gratitude to the party. With the help of the NPC it is possible for change, for a government with a heart."

Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon, a staunch supporter of Roxas and Robredo, said a lot of the NPC supporters are supporting Roxas and Robredo despite the party's announcement yesterday.

Escudero, who thanked the NPC for its support, said he and Poe will remain independent bets.

Meanwhile, Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian said in a statement “Sen. Poe is extremely grateful to the NPC for endorsing her candidacy to become the country's next President. She believes that together, she and the thousands of NPC members nationwide can propel the country to become more inclusive and help uplift the lives of our countrymen.”*CPG



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