PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — ASIDE from the purported administration support, business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco has reportedly begun to woo the blessings of influential El Shaddai leader Bro. Mike Velarde for possible endorsement of one of the so-called two presidentiables of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), particularly Sen. Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
A reliable source said that Cojuangco met Velarde last Monday at San Miguel Corporation (SMC) office in Ortigas Center supposedly to court the support of the influential religious leader.
The source said the meeting was about the fast approaching 2010 presidential elections.
“It was a political meeting in preparation for the 2010 presidential elections,” the source said.
The source expressed belief that the meeting was only one of the future meetings between the two.
“Hinatid pa nga ni Boss Danding si Bro. Mike sa kanyang sasakyan. Isa lamang iyan sa mga susunod pang meetings,” the source added.
It will be recalled that Cojuangco, who lost in the 1992 presidential elections, is the chairman emeritus of the NPC where Escudero and Sen. Loren Legarda are being eyed as the party’s presidential candidate.
Reports disclosed that the SMC of Cojuangco has bought the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) shares in the Lopez-owned Manila Electric Company (Mealco) and government’s shares at Petron Corporation and reportedly eyeing an international business contract related to technology.
But the source admitted that Cojuangco has a “big heart” for Escudero than Legarda who postponed announcing her presidential plan during her birthday last month apparently for fear that it might complicate the selection process of NPC for presidential candidate.
Aside from Cojuangco, the source added that Escudero has been enjoying the wide support of big businessmen like Lucio Tan and among others.
“Ang problema lamang talaga, angat na angat si Sen. Escudero kumpara kay Loren lalo kung si Boss Danding ang mamimili ng standard-bearer,” the source said.
Cojuangco’s support to Escudero’s political plans has allegedly irked Defense Sec. Gilberto Teodoro, a stalwart of NPC and nephew of the business tycoon, who is said to be joining Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) for his reported presidential bid.
Earlier, Speaker Prospero “Boy” Nograles Jr. has expressed his intention to include NPC in President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s call for the merger of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) and the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi).
Last Monday, Escudero denied the text messages that circulated that he talked with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in their recent United States trip for a possible alliance for the 2010 elections.
President Arroyo and Escudero have attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington last week. The President stood as one of Escudero’s wedding sponsors before.