HISTORY OF NATIONALIST PEOPLE’S COALITION (NPC)

(by Jerry Barican)

The Nationalist People’s Coalition was born out of the 1992 Presidential Campaign.

Sometime in 1990, a group of private and individual political figures worried over the national, political and economic disarray, approached former Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco to ask him to lead a national coalition in the forthcoming presidential elections.

Although Mr. Cojuangco was still weighing the offer, these “Friends of Danding” proceeded to informally organize in view of the limited time left before the polls.
One consideration was under what banner Ambassador Cojuangco would run in case he made the decision to enter the race. He intimated to his supporters that he has always belonged to the Nacionalista Party and that he wished to run under its banner if the selection process were free and fair.

The two other candidates seeking the NP nomination were Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and then Vice President Salvador “Doy” Laurel. Vice President Laurel was president of the party and claimed control over its rules and procedures. Challenging this claim to unilateral control was former Rizal Governor Isidro Rodriguez the grand old man of the NP.

Anticipating the likelihood that the 3 candidates would be unable to resolve the question of what rules would determine the selection of delegates, some of Mr. Cojuangco’s supporters decided to form and register a new political party with the COMELEC in order to offer the Ambassador the widest possible options.

These individuals, including Antonio “Butch” Valdez, Antonio Gatmaitan, Jerry Barican, Gabby Villareal and others, now proceeded to draft the Constitution and By‐Laws of a new Partido Pilipino and to organize its incipient chapters in provinces and cities nationwide.

Following this process, hearings were held by the COMELEC en banc on the petition to recognize Partido Pilipino as a national political party. The
COMELEC issued that formal registration on February 5, 1991. The founding officers were Jerry Barican as President, Tony Gatmaitan as Secretary‐General and Butch Valdez as treasurer.

Meanwhile, attempts to resolve the nomination process at the NP proved futile. Sen. Enrile withdrew declaring the rules unfair. The NP broke up into two, the Laurel wing, and the Rodriguez wing. The former nominated Vice President Laurel; the latter supported Ambassador Cojuangco. The issue of what wing had legitimate control over the NP name ended up in court. Much later, the held the Laurel wing to have the better claim.

Consequently, those supporting the candidacy of Mr. Cojuangco coalesced under an umbrella group, the Nationalist People’s Coalition. This umbrella covered those who belonged to the NP Rodriguez wing, those from the KBL, members of the Partido Pilipino regional parties like BALANE of Nueva Ecija, sectoral groups and individuals with no political affiliations and others. However the NPC was not then registered as a separate political party.

When the NPC fielded its candidates in 1992 from president down to local candidates, they filled their certificates of candidacy under their own parties usually in coalition with Partido Pilipino under the NPC umbrella. Then Sen. Joseph Estrada whose Partido ng Masang Pilipino coalesced under NPC won as Vice President in the 1992 election.

Following the election the NPC continued to meet and organize until it was thought time to formally register it as a political party with COMELEC. Instead, the suggestion was made by its organizers of the Partido Pilipino to change its name to the NPC, a far simpler procedure, and to turn over the leadership of the organization to the newly elected leaders of the NPC.

The interim officers were: Ambassador Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., Chairman of the Central Committee, Sen. John H. Osmeña, President, Assemblyman Gilberto M. Duavit, Secretary‐General, Mr. Douglas Lu Yu, Treasurer, and Minister Estelito P. Mendoza, Legal Counsel.

 

The true Advisory Council was composed by the following:

Speaker Wilma G. Yniguez ‐ Chairman
Minister Conrado E. Estrella
Minister Estelito P. Mendoza
Cong. Jose D. Aspiras
Cong. Manuel M. Garcia
Cong. Leonardo B. Perez
Cong. Fernando R. Veloso
Cong. Jose R. Zubiri, Jr.
Gov. Faustino S. Dy, Jr.
Gov. Ignacio Santiago

The exterior Secretariat:

Assemblyman Gilberto M. Duavit
Secretary‐General

Deputy Minister Ramon B. Cardenas
Deputy Sec. General for Luzon and Metro Manila

Cong. Rosette Y. Lerias
Deputy Sec. General for Visayas

Vice‐Gov. Rufus B. Rodriguez
Deputy Sec. General for Mindanao