NPC members may also campaign for own bets - Sotto

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola 

Members of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) will be allowed to campaign for their own bets apart from the party's official slate for the 2019 senatorial elections.

Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gestures after elected as a newly Senate President at Senate Building in Pasay city, May 21,2018.(Czar Dancel) Senate President Vicente Sotto III

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the NPC was expected to release soon its list of senatorial candidates for the May 2019 midterm elections as the filing of the certificates of candidacy (COC) comes to a close on Wednesday, October 17.

"Ang agreement namin (We agreed that), after the 17th, kung maliwanag na kung sino-sino yung mga kandidato (when those who are running are clear and final), the NPC will come up with a list of senatorial candidates that they will support. That means, from top to ground, tutulungan namin (we would help them). Sa mga lugar na kontrolado namin, ikakampanya namin sila (We will campaign for them in areas that we control)," Sotto, a senior member of the NPC council, told reporters.

But Sotto said the NPC will only have eight to nine names on their slate. This, he said, would give their members enough "elbow room" to support their personal bets.

Even NPC chairman Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr. will endorse other candidates in his personal capacity.

"Siya (Cojuangco) rin, meron siyang mga tatlo, apat na gustong matulungan na maaaring wala doon sa list. Ako rin, baka may mga dalawa, tatlo na wala doon sa NPC list na gusto kong tulungan pero ikakampanya ko pa rin," Sotto said.

Sotto said the NPC slate would "definitely" be led by NPC candidates Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, former Sen. Lito Lapid, and honorary member Sen. Grace Poe.

He said the NPC will hold one or two campaign rallies wherein they will invite their senatorial candidates for the 2019 polls.