LABAN MIGHT SUPPORT DANDING IN 2004  

Quezon City, Feb. 16, 2003 -- The opposition party Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) may support the candidacy of former ambassador Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco if he decides to run for president under the banner of the administration party in the 2004 elections.

"The LDP may join the Lakas-NUCD coalition if Cojuangco is selected to run under the administration party," House Minority Leader Carlos Padilla said during yesterday's weekly Balitaan sa Rembrandt hotel forum.

He said the LDP has not yet decided on its candidates for the 2004 elections, but they will support Cojuangco's candidacy should he be drafted by ruling administration party Lakas-NUCD.

Padilla said the Philippines needs a professional and economic manager like Cojuangco for the country to progress.

Deputy Minority Leader Constantino Jaraula, on the other hand, said Cojuangco "has the experience, as proven by the success of his business ventures. He is a successful businessman and at the same time a seasoned political leader. We will support him."

Jaraula added that Cojuangco would beat other candidates once he joins the presidential race in 2004.

Padilla and Jaraula are both members of the LDP's executive committee.

The endorsement of Cojuangco for President cropped up after 50 Lakas congressmen wrote him a letter urging him to run for president.

Sixty-three congressmen who belong to the Nationalist People's Coalition, of which Cojuangco is the party chairman emeritus, are expected to support Cojuangco should he decide to run in the presidential race.

Lakas Rep. Ace Barbers, for his part, said that should the LDP enter into a coalition with the administration party, it would mean a sure victory for Cojuangco.

"There will be no more opposition and progress will continue," Barbers said.

But Rep. Gerry Espina, a ranking NPC leader in the House, played down efforts to draft Cojuangco.

"I have talked to Danding and he told me he is not interested in the elections. He is busy with his business ventures," Espina said.( By Perseus Echeminada, Star)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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