By Catherine S. Valente | The Manila Times
TARLAC CITY: Leaders of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) endorsed the tandem of presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
The NPC was formed by the late business tycoon Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. The group is headed by Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto 3rd, who is running for vice president in tandem with Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson.
The endorsement of NPC officials was bared during the meet-and-greet event with local and sectoral leaders organized for UniTeam by Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap and her brother, Tarlac Rep. Victor Yap.
Tarlac is a known stronghold of the once-ruling Liberal Party being the home province of the Aquino clan.
In his speech during the meeting, Representative Yap announced that members of the party in the province are backing the Marcos-Duterte tandem.
"Ako po ay naatasan na magsalita ng isang commitment ng partido, ng NPC sa aming lalawigan. Si governor kinausap lahat ng mga miyembro ng [NPC] Tarlac, pati ang mga pamilyang kinikilala natin dito tulad ng mga Cojuangco. Kinausap din niya ang mga leader ng partido upang ibigay ang laya na tayo ay sumunod na dito sa tandem (I've been asked to talk about NPC's commitment as a party to the province. The governor has spoken to all members of the NPC here in Tarlac, including the known families like the Cojuangcos. She also spoke with the party leaders in order to give us the freedom to follow the Marcos-Duterte tandem)," he said.
When asked to clarify his statement about their support, he said the NPC-Tarlac chapter and its political allies decided to back the UniTeam candidates.
"Yes, we, the provincial NPC and those others [affiliated or not], support the BBM-Sara tandem," Yap said in a text message.
Marcos is the "best candidate" for president in the May 9 elections, the lawmaker added.
Meanwhile, Governor Yap thanked Duterte-Carpio and her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, for pouring infrastructure projects in Tarlac despite its links to the opposition.
"I feel the warmth of this administration and it is my responsibility to really campaign hard for her," she told her constituents before introducing Duterte-Carpio at the event.
The Yaps joined Marcos during the Paniqui town grand rally of the UniTeam ticket.
Former Tarlac representative and now UniTeam senatorial candidate Gilberto "Gibo" Teodoro Jr. also introduced Duterte-Carpio to his province mates.
In a chance interview after the rally, the governor confirmed that 14 mayors in the province are supporting the Marcos-Duterte tandem.
She also vowed to deliver "50 to 60 percent" of votes in the province to the election front-runners.
Marcos is the standard-bearer of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, while Duterte-Carpio is running under the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party.