Faustino Dy Jr.

NPC endorses Joey de Venecia

NPC endorses Joey de Venecia
By Jose Rodel Clapano
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) senatorial candidate Joey de Venecia got a big boost after the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), the second largest political party in the country, endorsed him.

NPC chairman Faustino Dy Jr. said the party decided to support De Venecia’s senatorial bid after realizing that his platform and vision were similar to the NPC’s.

Dy was joined by NPC president and Rizal Vice Gov. Frisco San Juan, NPC secretary-general and Rizal Rep. Michael John “Jack” Duavit and Pangasinan Reps. Conrado Estrella III and Mark Cojuangco.

The NPC leaders said De Venecia is “a clean, principled and capable candidate who will be an asset for the country in the Senate.”

“The NPC’s vision espouses a system of governance that will improve the quality of life of all Filipinos by addressing poverty, spreading prosperity and ensuring social justice. Joey de Venecia carries a similar vision as he believes that through information technology (IT), the Philippines can create millions of new jobs which would result in dramatic digit growth in GNP which will lift it out of Third World status,” Dy said.

He said the NPC advocates meaningful social changes and economic innovations.

“As such, NPC officers and members support creators of wealth and opportunity for all Filipinos like Joey de Venecia who is a tried and tested veteran in global business and finance,” the former Isabela governor said.

“Joey de Venecia’s track record is impressive. He has a long list of achievements and innovations that bore positive impact on the lives of our countrymen. He can do more for them if elected as senator,” Dy added.

De Venecia has achieved a number of “firsts” in Philippine business.

He successfully organized the first nationwide financial information paging network called “Index” in 1996; set up the first full-fledged call center with “Q” interaction; helped set up the National Bank of Equatorial Guinea in West Africa; and forever changed the Philippine business landscape when he launched broadband technology in 2000.

Dubbed the father of the Philippine call center industry, De Venecia, as president of Broadband Philippines, introduced the first mobile voice, data, Internet and fixed wireless voice service for business in the country, in partnership with US-West (one of the largest telecommunications company in the world), Bank of America, and George Soros.

As businessman, he brought in around $100 million of foreign direct investments into the Philippines.

The NPC is believed to command a lot of votes, especially because some of their big-name members are running in this year’s elections.

At the House of Representatives, the Lakas-Kampi-CMD is the dominant political party with 140 members, followed by the NPC with 26 and the Liberal Party with 18 members.

“Joey de Venecia has the full support of the NPC, as we assure him that our nationwide network will work hard to ensure his election as senator,” Dy said.

Dy noted the surging survey ratings of De Venecia that have constantly put him in the Top 12.

He said the latest data from the comprehensive Manila Standard survey dated April 18 to 20 have De Venecia in firm hold of 12th place.

The NPC has a longstanding nationwide presence up to the grassroots political level.

Supreme Court temporarily stops NP-NPC merger

Supreme Court temporarily stops NP-NPC merger
By Edu Punay
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday temporarily stopped the merger of the Nacionalista Party (NP) of presidential candidate Manuel Villar and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) headed by businessman Eduardo Cojuangco.

The Court issued a status quo ante order stopping the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from implementing its earlier decision allowing the merger, according to Court administrator and SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez following the full Court session of the magistrates in Baguio City.

The Court granted the relief sought in a petition filed by the Liberal Party (LP) led by presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Aquino III seeking to scrap the merger, which it branded as “bogus.”

Marquez said the Court at the same time directed the Comelec, the NP and NPC to comment on the petition filed by the LP, the oldest political party in the country.

In its petition for certiorari and prohibition with urgent application for temporary restraining order/status quo ante and/or writ of preliminary injunction, the LP stressed that the alliance was a “bogus coalition formed solely to rob from the Liberal Party the recognition as the dominant minority, which it held during the 2007 senatorial elections.”

The LP said the merger was a “sham, highly dubious and shameless.”

It noted that even NPC chairman Faustino Dy Jr., who signed the resolution for the NP-NPC alliance on behalf of the NPC, had admitted under oath before the Comelec that the merger was not approved by the NPC National Convention, which is a requirement under its constitution and bylaws.

The LP added that Dy acknowledged that there was no consultation made with the members of the NPC prior to its decision to merge with NP.

“The NP-NPC was never formally, and much less, genuinely organized by the NPC. It was but a mere piece of paper purposely designed to emasculate the chances of other registered political parties who rely on their own truthful qualifications in their application for the dominant minority party status,” it argued.

The LP, for its part, hailed the High Court’s decision saying that “ a coalition of political parties must not be just a piece of paper that can be registered whimsically, most especially when such purported coalition is not only dubious in its existence but is also severely tainted with bad faith and is intended to have undue advantage against those who are faithfully complying with the law.”

“We stand firm in our belief that this supposed coalition serves only the interests of those who wish to remain in power and preserve the rampant system of corruption in our country. The party remains vigilant in light of this decision, and is hopeful that the Supreme Court, in situations that might later arise, will continue to uphold the truth and deliver judgments that are fair, just, and have only the people’s interests at heart, as is its duty,” LP president Sen. Manuel Roxas II said. – Aurea Calica

GMA to party mates: Let's stick together

GMA to party mates: Let’s stick together
By Paolo Romero
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – President Arroyo directed yesterday her party mates to “stick together” and ensure the victory of administration presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro and the Lakas-Kampi-CMD with the elections just three weeks away.

Mrs. Arroyo gave the orders during a closed-door meeting of some 120 administration congressional candidates and top Lakas-Kampi officials at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City.

Mrs. Arroyo is president emeritus of the party.

The President arrived at around 2 p.m., shortly after Teodoro left to lead a campaign sortie in Antipolo City.

“As your President, I think I have given you good performance in the last nine years. I hope we will continue this. Let us unite so we can have continued growth,” presidential adviser for political affairs Prospero Pichay quoted Mrs. Arroyo as saying during her 30-minute meeting with the lawmakers.

“Gibo Teodoro understands the economic problems of our country. Let us unite and stick together and make Gibo win on May 10,” she said.

Pichay said Mrs. Arroyo wanted to ensure that Lakas-Kampi remains as the dominant party.

However, there was no mention of the recent high-profile defections from the party, Lakas-Kampi president Francis Manglapus said in a news briefing.

Pichay said those who attended were part of the 160 administration congressmen or half of the membership of the House of Representatives solidly backing Teodoro.

He said the party was expecting a “10 percent fatality” or defections but less than one percent left.

Former Presidential Management Staff director general Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who is running in Pangasinan’s 6th district, said Mrs. Arroyo was upbeat.

Many congressional candidates took the floor and told the President that they will not abandon Teodoro, Manglapus said.

“We are firmly convinced that he has the character, honesty, integrity, competence and high intellect that the next president of our country must possess in order to face the immense challenges facing our country and the global community in the next six years,” the lawmakers said in their manifesto.

Teodoro, in the meantime, belied reports that another mass defection of key party members is in the offing, describing this as more political black propaganda.

The administration bet issued the statement in Antipolo City before meeting with local officials led by Mayor Danilo Leyble in what observers said was a show of force.

Among the lawmakers present at the Dusit meeting were some from the so-called Northern Alliance.

There were earlier reports that Rep. Eric Singson got the Northern Luzon lawmakers to shift loyalty from Teodoro to Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Sen. Manuel Villar Jr.

“While their personal commitment is important to me, it is also equally important to show the public that reports of the looming defections of key party members are not all true,” said Teodoro.

After meeting with his supporters at city hall, Teodoro, running mate Edu Manzano and senatorial candidate Rey Langit proceeded to the Rizal provincial capitol where they were welcomed by Rizal Gov. Casimiro Ynares for a closed-door meeting.

Ynares is a stalwart of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).

Head count

The administration party is trying hard to solve the problem of defection that has been hounding them in the past weeks.

Banking on unopposed bets

What makes the administration party movers optimistic of a victory is the fact that aside from the categorical support, at least 26 mayoral and vice mayoral bets in Cagayan Valley, most of them Teodoro supporters, are assured of victory because they are running unopposed.

Records obtained from the Commission on Elections showed that of the 13 unopposed mayoralty candidates, six are from northernmost mainland Cagayan province, four are from Isabela, two from Nueva Vizcaya and one from Quirino.

The same number of unopposed bets for vice mayor is noted in the region’s four mainland provinces, and most are also allied with Teodoro.

“This is what will make Gibo very strong in Isabela with all the mayors behind him. As far as we are concerned Gibo will take Isabela,” said three-term Rep. Faustino Dy III, now running for governor under the administration party.

“We are still 110 percent behind Gibo,” stressed Dy amid the defections of some administration stalwarts to other political parties.

Governors Cua of Quirino and Antonio of Cagayan said that a majority of their provinces’ mayors, including those running unopposed, are also rooting for Teodoro.

“Our support for Gibo Teodoro has never waned. We have been consulting our constituents and we can say that most are for Gibo,” said Cua, now running for congressman while his father, Rep. Cua, is seeking the governorship. Charlie Lagasca, Jaime Laude

Aquino or Villar? NPC may soon have to choose–Sotto

Aquino or Villar? NPC may soon have to choose–Sotto
No more fence-sitting

By Cathy C. Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—Stalwarts of the Nationalist People’s Coalition may soon be forced to choose a presidential candidate to support due to the clamor among members who are either for Benigno Aquino III, Liberal Party candidate or Manny Villar of the Nacionalista Party.

Lone NPC senatorial candidate Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said the party had remained neutral up to this point following orders from its chair emeritus Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco.

Sotto noted that many NPC members were becoming restless because they were not allowed to openly support any presidential bet.

NPC members split

“But the neutrality could change in favor of a candidate once Danding gets back from Australia, maybe by the end of the week,” Sotto said in a telephone interview.

“Only a meeting of the national executive committee will determine whether we should support a presidential candidate,” he added. “As it is, there is a group within the NPC that wants to support Noynoy. There is another group that is pro-Villar.”

Sotto said party members expected the NPC to be the next target of recruitment efforts especially by the NP since NPC Sen. Loren Legarda is the running mate of Villar.

Raids won’t work

“We expect that once they’re done raiding Lakas-Kampi, we could be next because the NPC can provide the tilting balance that would favor a presidential candidate,” he said. “Remember that next to the administration’s Lakas-Kampi, we are the second biggest party in terms of local bets which is a factor essential to victory.”

Sotto, former chair of the Dangerous Drugs Board, said the NPC fielded 105 candidates in the 230 congressional districts all over the country.

It also had candidates in “more than 50 percent” of the 1,634 mayoralty and 80 gubernatorial slots nationwide.

Sotto expressed confidence that efforts to raid NPC would not succeed.

“We take good care of our members. That’s the difference between NPC and Lakas. We are confident that no one among us will bolt. But it would not be surprising if we are the next target. That’s why we need to address the [polarization] stemming from [conflicts] in the choice of which presidential candidate to support,” he explained.

Sotto said there were local NPC candidates who had entered into coalitions with the NP like Gov. Faustino Dy of Isabela and Gov. Manoling Ortega of La Union.

“The executive committee needs to thresh out these coalitions that local bets are entering into with the NP. Of course, these are local alliances. Once we choose a presidential candidate, the whole party would have to support him,” he said.

‘No blessing from Danding’

‘No blessing from Danding’
By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

A MEMBER OF THE Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) said its merger with the Nacionalista Party (NP) that was upheld by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) did not have the blessing of NPC chair emeritus Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr.

In a press conference in Tupi, South Cotabato, General Santos City, Rep. Darlene Antonino Custodio said, “The merger is not official; this did not come from our chair emeritus so there is no order from the NPC to support Sen. Manuel Villar (NP standard-bearer) as of the last time I visited our headquarters.”

Custodio said that NPC members were not consulted about the coalition that was endorsed by party chair Isabela Gov. Faustino Dy Jr.

NPC members still believe, Custodio said, that they have a free hand in choosing their candidates.

Custodio said that most NPC members were for Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, making an NPC-NP coalition untenable.

In a statement, lawyers of the LP, the NP’s main rival, have asked the Comelec en banc to immediately release its formal decision on the NP-NPC coalition, stressing that “unnecessary further delay of the release of the allegedly already-signed resolution…may frustrate the right of the Liberal Party to take the appropriate remedy.”

The approval of the merger would allow the NP to wrest the dominant minority party status from the LP. The dominant minority party gets a coveted copy of the election returns and access to an electronic server on May 10.