Last month, I suggested that the Nationalist People’s Coalition could imagine a viable political future without Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo or her two political parties.
But now the NPC has Sen. Loren Legarda, who topped the Senate elections twice; the young Sen. Chiz Escudero, who came in second to Legarda in the 2007 polls and enjoys a rock-star appeal among younger voters; and (on the other side of the political fence) Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Cojuangco’s nephew. Teodoro does not enjoy any significant name recall to speak of, but he does have operational control of one of the few truly nationwide organizations: the military. (Cojuangco controls another one, the far-flung San Miguel Corp., which like the Armed Forces has one of the country’s largest transportation fleets.)
If the NPC is interested in shaping a post-Cojuangco future favorable to itself, it will contest the 2010 race. Given its advantages, the party would be foolish to entrust its future to yet another coalition with the Lakas-CMD and Kampi parties — when the upside to finally going it alone is clear.
Early this month, Rep. Mark Cojuangco, one of the NPC founder’s sons, told reporters the following:
Pangasinan Representative Mark Cojuangco, the son of NPC chair and business mogul Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, said on Monday the NPC was not interested in changing the form of government or in extending the terms of incumbent officials, as it had a winning presidential team in Senators Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Loren Legarda for the 2010 elections.
“My party has very strong presidential candidates for 2010: Chiz-Loren, Loren-Chiz. So, why would we want to upset our chances? We believe we can win,” Cojuangco said in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“Why would we want to upset our chances to have our party’s candidate sit as President? Why would we want to shoot ourselves in the foot?” he said.
That, I would think, takes us another step closer to May 2010.