MANILA, Philippines - Business tycoon Eduardo ''Danding'' Cojuangco's Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) vowed unconditional support to at least three would-be senatorial bets - Senators Francis ''Chiz'' Escudero, Loren Legarda, and Cagayan Representative Jack Enrile as hopes remain high for the possible forging of ties between the NPC and the ruling Liberal Party (LP) for the 2013 midterm elections.
Valenzuela Representative Rex Gatchalian, NPC spokesman, made the assurance as the three have yet to decide on which ticket they would join for next year's senatorial polls, but he said they are hoping that they would be included in President Benigno S. Aquino III's LP slate.
''We will be supporting these candidates no matter which coalition they decide to join. As a party, we will be supporting them. I am not aware though which slate they will decide to join,'' he said.
The trio were included in the initial list of United Nationalist Alliance's (UNA) senatorial candidates.
A reliable source said Escudero is personally talking with the President for his inclusion in the LP ticket.
Gatchalian was quick to say that that ''it is still premature to say'' that Escudero, along with Enrile and Legarda, would run under the LP banner.
''Let's just wait for the outcome of the ongoing talks,'' he said.
''(But) Senator Loren Legarda, Representative Jack Enrile will run as NPC members, and the NPC machinery will be supporting them,'' he said.
Gatchalian noted that Escudero, who left the NPC to become independent, has the backing of his former partymates should he vie for his second and last term in the Senate.
''Senator Escudero spent the greater part of his political career with the NPC. During that time, he built and fostered friendships with the members of the party. These friendships still last up to now. Thus I'm sure a lot of NPC members will be supporting and pushing for his candidacy,'' he said.
Among those being eyed to run under the LP banner are Technical and Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) Director-General Joel Villanueva, Aurora Representative Sonny Angara, former Akbayan Party-list Representative Risa Hontiveros, Senator Antonio Trillanes, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, former Las Piñas City Representative Cynthia Villar, Escudero, Legarda, Senator Koko Pimentel, Customs Commissioner Ruffy Biazon, former Senator Ramon Magsaysay Jr. and President Aquino's cousin, Paolo Benigno ''Bam'' Aquino IV.
Also considered to be included in President Aquino's Senate line-up are ex-Surigao del Norte Governor Robert Ace Barbers, Deputy Speaker and Quezon Representative Lorenzo ''Erin'' Tañada who is the spokesman of LP, and Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairperson Grace Poe Llamanzares.