LP fears NPC-NP to be declared dominant minority
By Aurea Calica
The Philippine Star
GAPAN, Nueva Ecija , Philippines – Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and running mate Sen. Manuel Roxas II are worried about the possible declaration of the merged Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and Nacionalista Party (NP) as the dominant minority party, saying it would lay the groundwork for electoral fraud.
Aquino and Roxas promised to legally contest the approval of the coalition by the Commission in Elections (Comelec).
The approval of the merger increases its chances of being declared as the dominant minority party.
Under the Omnibus Election Code, the dominant majority and minority party parties are entitled to the fifth and sixth copies of the election returns printed by the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines, and a server showing the election results as they are transmitted, giving them the chance to monitor their votes.
The dominant minority party status is given to the group that has the highest number of incumbent elected officials and candidates for national and local positions.
Comelec records show that LP has 5,934 candidates, NP has 5,565 candidates, and NPC 2,373.
The coalition stirred a controversy because NP’s standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. is speculated to be the secret candidate of the administration. The NPC, on the other hand, has a history of alliance with the administration.
“The NPC is allied with the administration at least as far as the House (of Representatives) is concerned, for a very long time. They have not taken a party decision. If the administration party and the NP-NPC have access to Comelec’s servers, why should the opposition not be worried?” Aquino said.
Roxas said all parties should be provided servers to monitor election results because these are not limited, unlike the election returns.
The Nacionalista Party welcomed approval of the merger, saying it would increase its chances of victory.
“We’re glad the Comelec made the right judgment. We are a true coalition. If you look at what NP and NPC have done, you will see that we are the true opposition,” NP’s Villar said.
NP vice presidential candidate Sen. Loren Legarda said the merger was forthcoming after she decided to run with Villar, and not bogus as claimed by the LP.
“From the time Sen. Villar and I became running mates in November, we never had any doubt that the alliance between NPC and NP would be formal,” Legarda said in Filipino.
NPC spokesmanValenzuela Rep. Rex Gatchalian expressed confidence that the Comelec will declare them the dominant minority party.
“While we’re confident that eventually, we will be able to secure the Comelec approval on the political registration for a coalition of NP and NPC, we don’t want to preempt the decision of the Comelec because they have yet to promulgate their decision,” Gatchalian said in a joint press conference at the Senate.
Gatchalian said the combined force of the NP-NPC boasts of an estimated 10,000 candidates nationwide, who will campaign for the Villar-Loren tandem as well as the NP senatoriables.
“We are confident though that our two parties will be declared the dominant minority because we’ve met the criteria as far as political history, number of incumbents, number of candidates deployed,” Gatchalian said.
NP spokesperson and senatorial candidate Adel Tamano said the granting of the dominant minority party status on the merger will greatly help the coalition in guarding its votes.
“We’re very happy about that and I think, this would be a big help in boosting our chances to win,” Tamano said. – With Christina Mendez