BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer said yesterday that the National Unity Party provincial chapter will follow party decisions, should it decide to support Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio if she will run for president in next year’s elections.
This was after NUP deputy secretary general for political affairs, Reggie Velasco, said they are now ready to sign another alliance agreement with the Hugpong Pagbabago, a regional party formed by the presidential daughter in 2018.
“If NUP will decide to support Sara, so be it, there is no problem. We will support as party members,” Ferrer, who is also the president of the United Negros Alliance, a provincial political group founded by the late former ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco said.
NUP used to be known as the Kabalikat ng Masang Pilipino that, together with the Lakas-CMD, is identified with former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Aside from the NUP, led by political strategist Ronaldo Puno, the Lakas-CMD, led by Arroyo, the Nacionalista Party, led by former Senate president Manuel Villar, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino of former president Joseph Estrada, and the People’s Reform Party founded by the late senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, also sought to renew alliance with HNP.
Ferrer, however, said UNegA members, who are also affiliated with different national political parties, have yet to discuss whom to support for president, vice-president and senators.
Members of Love-Negros, also a political group in Negros Occidental, with former Rep. Alfredo Benitez among the convenors, also have yet to meet to discuss whom they will support in the May elections.
In the 2016 presidential elections, Negros Occidental officials, led by the late Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr., supported the bid of Mar Roxas. However, majority of them later joined the PDP-Laban as a sign of support to the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, UNegA secretary general Salvador Escalante Jr., who is the mayor of Cadiz City, had said.
While it does not follow that UNegA members are also supporting the decision of NUP, Escalante admitted the decision of Ferrer will have weight and can influence the members.*