Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Suarez apologizes to De Castro

By Jess Diaz
The Philippine Star
Updated December 09, 2009 12:00 AM

Original Story: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=530803&publicationSubCategoryId=63

MANILA, Philippines - Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez apologized to Vice President Noli de Castro yesterday for questioning his capability to lead the country in case President Arroyo steps down.

“That was not my intention,” Suarez said in a radio interview.

He claimed that journalists “twisted” the statements he made in a Quezon City news forum last Thursday.

However, Suarez insisted that the country would be in better hands if Mrs. Arroyo remains in office since De Castro would have a hard time handling the financial crisis that the country is facing.

“Let’s face it, each of us has his own strength and weakness. I think the vice president is weak when it comes to confronting financial and fiscal issues. His strength lies in the area of fighting corruption and promoting peace and order,” he said.

Asked what the situation would be like if De Castro assumed the presidency, Suarez, a staunch ally of Mrs. Arroyo, said “The first two months would be very, very difficult for the vice president.”

“His advisers might take advantage of his weakness. For instance, if he is asked what currency basket he likes, it would take a while for him to understand that. For the President, it would take only an hour. She’s an economist. She has a grasp of financial and fiscal issues,” he said.

The vice president has not taken Suarez’s statements lightly. In his radio program over the weekend, he asked, “Who is he?”

He said what he knew of the Quezon congressman is that he footed the $15,000 bill for a sumptuous meal of steaks and lobsters and expensive wine that Mrs. Arroyo and her entourage enjoyed at the Bobby Van’s restaurant in Washington in August.

He also heard about a large bank foreclosing the lawmaker’s house in North Forbes Park in Makati City.

De Castro urged Suarez not to ingratiate himself with Mrs. Arroyo at his expense.

His friends also ganged up on the Quezon congressman.

“The President’s defenders can think of many reasons why she shouldn’t resign, but the bogey that Kabayan (De Castro) is ill-prepared to be President is certainly not one of them,” former Sen. Ralph Recto said.

“We can prop up the president without putting down the vice president. VP Noli has done well as housing czar and as overseer of OFW (overseas Filipino workers) affairs,” the former economic planning secretary said.

Recto served in the Cabinet with the vice president when the former was economic planning secretary. They belonged to the so-called Wednesday Club in the Senate when they were both senators.

Last Thursday, Suarez asked if former President Fidel Ramos, who has asked Mrs. Arroyo to resign, wanted De Castro to assume the presidency.

He said the country is facing a serious financial crisis as evidenced by the ballooning budget deficit.

“I am not belittling Vice President Noli, but he will have difficulty in confronting this problem,” he said.

Original Story: http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=530803&publicationSubCategoryId=63

No comments:

Post a Comment