NPC senators mull party leadership after Danding’s demise

Published June 18, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Two senators said the Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition (NPC) will find it difficult to replace Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr. as their leader.

Cojuangco, or “Boss Danding” to NPC members, passed away on Tuesday due to pneumonia and heart failure. He was 85.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian (MANILA BULLETIN)
Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

“We will obviously struggle to keep our party strong and steady because of the loss of our Chairman Emeritus. We will meet soon to discuss the Party’s future,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III, a senior officer at the NPC, said in a text message when asked about the political party’s fate.

“Ambassador or Boss Danding is irreplaceable,” he said.

Echoing Sotto, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian likewise said: ” “It’s very difficult to fill the shoes of Boss Danding. Because Boss Danding is a very strong figure inside the party and he speaks with a lot of experience and wisdom.”

While Cojuangco no longer ran the daily activities of the party, Gatchalian said the NPC members continued to respect his views and wisdom.

“To be fair to him, kahit may sakit siya, lahat ng okasyon ng partido andun sya to interact kahit may sakit siya (he was present in all of the party’s occassions to interact with us despite his illness). Ganoon nya kamahal ang partido (That’s how he loved the party),” he said in a telephone interview.

“The NPC is a very unique party. If you look at other parties, kung sino nakaupo dadami (that increase memberships based on the administration) The NPC maintains its numbers kahit sino nakaupo (whoever is in position). Itong mga members ay loyal sa party and also to Boss Danding (The members are loyal to the party and also to Boss Danding),” he stressed.

Gatchalian said the NPC’s “Council of Elders”, which Sotto is a part of, is expected to decide who will lead the NPC after Cojuangco’s demise.

Cojuangco, a business tycoon and sports enthusiast, is also known for his influence and involvement in politics.

He served as Tarlac Governor and later, 1st District Representative. He was also known for being a close ally and political adviser of then President Ferdinand Marcos.

It was in 1992 when he founded the NPC, and ran unsuccessfully against Fidel V. Ramos in the presidential race in the same year.

The NPC is considered to be largest political party at present. Aside from Sotto and Gatchalian, Senator Lito Lapid is also a member of the NPC.

Read more: Business magnate, kingmaker Danding Cojuangco dies at 85