Supporters trumpet 'Grace-Chiz' tandem for 2016

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Sen. Francis Escudero (R) announced that he will run as vice president on Thursday (September 17), a day after Sen. Grace Poe (L) said she will be joining the presidential race.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Sen. Francis Escudero's vice presidential declaration on Thursday (September 17) brought out another group of supporters, politicians, and celebrities.

Rows of supporters filled Club Filipino, surrounded by banners trumpeting "Grace-Chiz 2016."

Related: Escudero declares bid for vice presidency, teams up with Poe

Among those present were House Deputy Speaker Giorgidi Aggabao, Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, and Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian.

Aggabao, acting president of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), said most NPC members came on their own since there was no party decision yet. He added, however, that majority of NPC members supported the Grace-Chiz tandem.

The NPC was expected to make a party decision next month.

According to Aggabao, the NPC was still in talks with other parties, including the Nacionalista Party and the National Unity Party.

The NPC had three senatorial candidates so far: Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, Valenzuela Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian, and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.

But even without an official party stand, Aggabao said the NPC would leave it up to Poe and Escudero to firm up the ticket.

Related: Sen. Grace Poe declares 2016 presidential bid

"What we will offer them is only the apparatus of the party but they can remain as independent if the decision comes that we will be supporting them... What's important is we consult the members. So we have to listen to the sentiments of the members," he said.

Meanwhile, former Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Romeo Jalosjos Sr. practically guaranteed a win for the Grace-Chiz tandem in his province.

"Since we hold majority of the elected officials in the province, we can use that clout to ensure that the tandem Grace and Chiz will definitely win in Zamboanga del Norte," Jalosjos said.

Escudero's wife, actress Heart Evangelista, said she was happy and proud of her husband.

"Basta nandito ako para sa asawa ko. Desisyon po nila kung sino gusto nilang suportahan sa eleksyon."

[Translation: "I'm here for my husband. It's up to them to choose who they will support for the coming elections."]