NPC meets Poe, Escudero for third time

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Members of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) met with Senators Grace Poe and Francis "Chiz" Escudero for the third time to talk about plans for 2016.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - Senators Grace Poe and Francis 'Chiz' Escudero, yet again, met with members of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) on Thursday (August 27).

This was their third meeting with NPC members.

Poe and Escudero joined the lunch meeting with about 40 NPC members in attendance. Most of them city mayors, congressmen and governors who failed to attend the previous meetings but still insisted on having their chance to meet the senators, particularly Poe.

Poe said she's always glad to join meetings with NPC.

“When I’m here at NPC I feel like part of a family because I’ve known them for a long while since they’ve been with my father,” said Poe.

The meeting at the NPC Clubhouse in Quezon City, which showed apparent interest of NPC members to get to know Poe more than the other presidential aspirants, somewhat bolstered earlier statements of NPC officials saying that the party is likely to support the Poe-Escudero tandem in 2016 if they decide to run for higher office.

Party spokesman and Valenzuela Mayor Rex Gatchalian, however, said their meetings with Poe and Escudero are still part of their ongoing consultation among their members. 

According to Gatchalian, they will likely have more meetings with the senators. He also said meetings as such will help them decide on who they will support.

Gatchalian emphasized, though, that the party has yet to set a deadline on when they will announce a formal endorsement.

Interior Secretary Mar Roxas also met with a number of NPC members a few weeks ago. That meeting just happened once, and was initiated by Roxas. But it did not spark much interest from the NPC members.

NPC spokesman and Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga said Roxas “gave a very general statement in terms of his platform".

Vice President Jejomar Binay, on the other hand, have not formally met with NPC as a party.

Some members still pitch for Binay, Roxas

Gatchalian stressed that though many of their members support Poe, some of them are still trying to make a pitch for other candidates who have already declared their presidential bid.

He said their Negros-based members, for instance, have expressed support for Roxas, while former Pangasinan Rep. Mark Cojuango is batting for Binay.

Despite the support for other presidential aspirants though, Gatchalian said that the party has no scheduled meetings with Roxas or Binay anytime soon.

Senatorial lineup

LP member and Pasig Rep. Roman Romulo and Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Neri Colmenares, who are both considering to run for senator, sat at the same table with Poe.

The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) earlier said Colmenares is welcome to join its ticket if he decides to run. Romulo, meanwhile, is said to be among those being considered in the Liberal Party's (LP) slate.

For Colmenares, their presence at the NPC meeting could possibly mean that they could end up in a senatorial ticket under the Poe-Escudero tandem.

While Romulo was non-committal when asked if he would agree to run under a Poe-Escudero ticket.

So far, there are two NPC members who are certain of running — Sen. Tito Sotto who will run for re-election, and Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian who earlier expressed his plans to join the senatorial lineup of Binay's UNA.

Gatchalian was also at the lunch meeting with Poe but he declined to be interviewed.

NPC, to date, is still with the administration coalition.

With 2,400 incumbents, NPC is the country’s second biggest political party next to LP.

CNN Philippines' Ina Andolong contributed to this report.