Cojuangcos vow to deliver votes for UNA

The Philippine Star

TARLAC CITY, Philippines -  Blood is still thicker than water. 

The Cojuangco couple vowed to deliver votes for the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in this province but  said that political differences would not affect their relationship with the Aquinos.

Former Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco said he and his wife, UNA senatorial bet Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, still have supporters, having served as local officials for a long time.

"I was congressman here for five terms. Tingting was governor for eight years. I think we have enough supporters who still believe in us,” he told reporters in their residence in the sprawling Hacienda Luisita here.

Peping, nevertheless, said he does not believe in the concept of bailiwicks, where political figures dictate upon the electorate.

“It's not that the votes here are controlled.  It's a matter of the leadership of each individual. The people that have performed here, the people who have helped us are recognized by the province,” he said.

Tarlac, also the home province of President Aquino, has about 700,000 registered voters.

When asked whether it is crucial for UNA to win in Tarlac, Peping said: “No. You know why? Because the people here know that UNA is not against P-Noy.”

Peping and Margarita are part of UNA, the rival coalition of Team Pnoy, which is being endorsed by their nephew, President Aquino. Peping is the vice president of UNA while Margarita is part of its nine-man senatorial ticket.

The president’s cousin, Bam, is also running for senate under Team Pnoy.

Margarita said the political rivalries should not affect their relationship with the Aquinos.

“We should not be divided. The power of the president stems from this – if the family is united. We will not destroy the programs of Noynoy. We put Noynoy there (in the presidency),” she said in a chance interview in Concepcion town.

This was echoed by Peping who said: “The family is okay. We have no problem. We still sleep together in the same compound.”

Margarita claimed that she  still talks with Paul Aquino, father of Bam and former campaign manager of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. 

“I am very close with the Aquinos,” she said.

Peping, however, said he would stick with the nine candidates of UNA and has no plans to endorse three more bets. He said there is no need to campaign for Bam in Tarlac.

Peping believes Team Pnoy’s goal to achieve 12-0 in Tarlac would not be achieved. However, he declined to predict how the voting would go in the province.

“When you start predicting something like that, sometimes it doesn't pay then the people will say why are you assuming so much? It's like you're telling them it's your command that will be followed,” he said.

Six of nine UNA senatorial bets – Cojuangco, former Sen. Ernesto Maceda, Sen. Gringo Honasan, Zambales Rep. Milagros Magsaysay, Nancy Binay and Cagayan Rep. Jack Enrile were present during the coalition’s sortie here.

UNA candidates wooed voters in this city as well as in the towns of Concepcion, Tarlac City Camiling, Moncada and Paniqui. – Alexis Romero

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