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Free zone for NPC on presidential bet – Sotto

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

It will be a “free zone” for members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition nationwide on the presidential candidate they will support for the May 9 elections, declared yesterday by NPC president Senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto.

Twenty eight of the 31 mayors in Negros Occidental, including NPC members, earlier pledged their support to the tandem of presidential bet Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.

Sotto is the vice-presidential candidate of Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson.

The “free zone” declaration on the presidential bet of NPC members was arrived at after Sotto admitted that it is very difficult for them to come up a single presidential candidate, noting that some of their members already made a commitment to support other vice-presidential candidates.

“To each his own muna,” Sotto, who met yesterday with NPC members led by former Kabankalan City Mayor Isidro Zayco, including Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson in Bacolod City, apparently referring to the presidential position.

But as for the vice-presidential candidate, it will be the party chairman, Sotto stressed.

There are eight mayors in Negros Occidental, including San Carlos City Mayor Renato Gustilo, Escalante City Mayor Melecio Yap, Bago City Mayor Nicholas Yulo, Valladolid Mayor Enrique Miravalles, Kabankalan City Mayor Pedro Zayco, Ilog Mayor Paul Alvarez, Cauayan Mayor John Rey Tabujara, Sipalay City Mayor Gina Montilla Lizares, and Reps. Gerardo Valmayor and Genaro Alvarez Jr, as well as Bacolod Rep. Greg Gasataya, who are NPC members.

Sotto admitted that some of NPC members who already pledged their commitment to other vice-presidential candidates have opted to be quiet about it.

Asked if they will discipline members who will not support him, Sotto said there will be none.

As far as the VP position is concerned, the mandate of the party is to support the chairman, he pointed out.

I don’t think most members of NPC in Negros Occidental will not follow, Sotto said.

Asked if there is a need for NPC members in Negros Occidental to sign a manifesto, expressing their full support to his vice-presidential bid, Sotto said there is no need.

“We know each other. We are party mates. We rubbed elbows each other, and mostly all of us are veteran politicians,” he added, stressing that he also done a lot for Negros Occidental, citing his sponsorship in the cityhood of Kabankalan, Talisay, Victorias and amendments of the Silay City charter.

Gov. Lacson said it is now up for NPC members to decide.

Lacson, who already expressed his support to the vice-presidential bid of Sotto and presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo, said this is a rare occasion where NPC has a candidate for a higher position.*

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