October 30, 2009 14:02:00
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Loren Legarda rejected on Friday calls for her to join the presidential race in 2010, saying she will stick to her decision to seek the vice presidential post.
Legarda claimed that her partymates in the People’s Nationalist Coalition (NPC) have been pushing her to run for president after its presumptive standard-bearer, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero left the party.
“Nagsabi na ako, pag ako’y nagsalita pinanindigan ko [I have spoken. Once I’ve done that, that’s it. I gave my word],” said Legarda, who declared her vice presidential bid last week.
“I have spoken and made my announcement before the people that I will run for vice president. We are still young and can wait. Why will I change my mind. They will only get confused,” she said in an interview over ABS-CBN’s morning show, “Umagang Kay Ganda.”
But while Legarda closed the door on the idea of running for president, the senator indicated that she was now open to be the running mate of either Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro or Senator Manny Villar.
Teodoro is the standard-bearer of the administration’s Lakas-Kampi Christian Muslim Democrats while Villar is the presidential bet of the Nacionalista Party.
“Maaari na sigurong mag-usap pero hindi naman ako mauuna di ba [Maybe we can talk now but I wont be the first to mention it, right]?” she said.
Legarda said she had not talked with any presidential candidate before because all the while she thought was that Escudero would be her tandem.
“Bakit naman ako makikipag-usap, meron na akong ka-tandem? Pero nasabi ko na nga na nirerespeto ko yung ginawa ni Chiz bagamat hindi nagpaalam [Why will I be negotiating when I am already part of a tandem? But like I said, I respect what Chiz did even when he did not inform us about his decision to leave],” she said.
Legarda had repeatedly stated that she would only run under the opposition ticket but with Escudero’s departure from NPC, she now seemed to have opened her doors even for the administration’s bet.
“If I answered your question, it’s like announcing what I would do,” Legarda said in Filipino when asked by TV host Pinky Webb about the possibility of a Teodoro-Legarda tandem in 2010.
“My answer here is my color is white, the color of white is neutrality and peace. What I really want is peace,” she said, adding that Teodoro and Villar were both good and competent.