Marcos claims NPC did not endorse Poe, Chiz

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

TARLAC - Vice-presidential aspirant Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Monday claimed the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) did not endorse any candidate for president or vice-president in the May polls.

This, despite the announcement of NPC President Giorgiddi Aggabao that the party had chosen to back independent candidates Grace Poe and Francis Escudero for the presidential and vice-presidential elections.

READ: NPC endorses Poe, Chiz

Marcos said it was the NPC patriarch himself, Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, who told him that the Grace Poe-Chiz Escudero endorsement was not entirely true.

"Yung announcement na yun, hindi iyon official. Wala iyong authorization from the leaders of the party," Marcos said. "Sabi ng ninong ko, si ninong Danding, open sila sa lahat."

Marcos is wooing several officials allied with the NPC in Tarlac to back his candidacy in the May elections. The senator attended the flag-raising ceremony in San Manuel town on Mopnday.

San Manuel Mayor Benjamin Tesoro, a retired colonel and classmate of the senator in Scout Ranger training, said he could not say no to Marcos. Tesoro, an NPC member, said that while they have been separated by political boundaries, no such divide exists in terms of their love for country and personal relations.

He noted Marcos is the godfather of his eldest child.

In Moncada, Mayor Benito Aquino also said he would endorse the candidacy of Marcos.

Camiling Mayor Neil Agustin, who is also an NPC member, vowed to support Marcos. Agustin joined Marcos in meeting the 61 barangay captains and their officials in Camiling Sports Complex.

Marcos said some NPC members who are backing his campaign are actually former members of his father's political party. "Marami sa kanila dating [Kilusang Bagong Lipunan]. Last year pa nag-uusap na kami," he said.

Paniqui Mayor Miguel Cojuangco Rivilla,the second cousin of President Aquino, is also backing Marcos. Rivilla is running for vice governor of the province as an independent candidate.

Marcos told the crowd at the municipal hall that his family treats Rivilla like their youngest sibling.

Marcos said he got a warm reception in Tarlac, which is the home province of President Aquino.

"Maganda ang reception sa atin. Marami tayo kaibigan dito. Nandiyan pa rin ang suporta na panahon pa ng aking ama, maraming lider na kaibigan tayo dito," he said.

He also said he is elated by the endorsement of former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada. "Malaki ito, bumoto sa kanya noong 2010 marami-rami, muntik pang manalo. Malaki ang dala niyang suporta. Hopefully, malaki ang maitutulong nito sa ating kampanya," he said. He added that he was invited by Estrada to attend the latter's proclamation rally in Manila.

Marcos also sees a "pretty good chance" of being endorsed by One Cebu party due to his friendship with the Garcias.

"Chances are pretty good. I worked with their patriarch si Pabling Garcia, and also Congresswoman Gwen (Garcia). Lahat sila nakasama ko na. Marami na kaming nagawa. Tingin ko naman malaki ang chance," he said.