Friday, December 4, 2009

‘So why not Noli?’

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:53:00 12/05/2009

Filed Under: Politics, Elections

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines - Vice president Noli De Castro chided Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez for insinuating that the country would be worse off if President Macapagal-Arroyo resigns from her post and he becomes the head of state.

Reacting to Suarez’s remarks that the Philippines would be in a dire situation if he becomes president in a time of an economic crisis, De Castro said he has a constitutional duty to perform if the President steps down.

“Recession or not, that duty remains,” De Castro said.

“Assuming she would have to resign—I’m not belittling the capacity of Vice President De Castro [to take up the reins of government]—we’re now facing a recession, bank run, collapse of financial giants. I think Vice President De Castro would have a problem in confronting these issues,” Suarez had said.

De Castro also slammed those who look down on his capabilities, saying they should worry about their performance instead of scrutinizing him.

“Rather than cast doubt on constitutional succession, those who question my capability should perhaps look at the mirror first to see what they have done for their constituents,” De Castro said.

He also stressed that he had been a public servant ever since he joined the media and until he became a senator and then a vice president in 2004.

Apparently irked by Suarez’s pronouncement, opposition Sen. Pia S. Cayetano yesterday took up cudgels for De Castro.

“So why not Noli?” said Cayetano, who is running for reelection in 2010, said in a statement.

“So why not give Noli a chance to prove his worth and run the country, even in the last days of this regime? They’ve insulted and belittled his position and capabilities too far,” said the senator.

She disagreed with Suarez’s stance that De Castro would be incapable of leading the government if the President steps down to campaign for her congressional bid in Pampanga.

“Vice President Noli de Castro was elected to his post by the Filipino people. He is the constitutional successor to the President in the improbable scenario that Ms Arroyo suddenly decides to resign out of delicadeza after casting her candidacy for a congressional seat in Pampanga,” she said.

Calls for Ms Arroyo’s resignation surfaced after she filed her certificate of candidacy for congresswoman last Tuesday.

Former President Fidel V. Ramos said Ms Arroyo should step down as she has undue advantage over her opponents. Her move to seek a lower post also diminishes the presidency, he added.

Cayetano added that unlike Ms Arroyo, De Castro had decided not to run for any position in next year’s elections, thus making him an ideal “transitional leader” until the reigns of government was handed over to the next President.

With a report from Michael Lim Ubac.

Original Story:

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