MANILA - Vice-President Noli de Castro on Saturday said it would not be fair to say that he is already the administration candidate for the presidential elections in May 2010.
Despite President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's official statement on Friday that he would "make a good President," de Castro said the fact is, he is still just one of several who are being considered to be the candidate of the ruling Lakas-KAMPI-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-KAMPI-CMD).
"Wala pa akong final decision. Unfair naman sabihin na ako na...Isa lang ako sa kino-consider," de Castro told ABS-CBN News.
The others vying for the ruling party's endorsement are Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) chairman Bayani Fernando.
De Castro reiterated that he has not yet joined any party and has not decided whether to run for president.
"Kung sakasakali at ako's sasama sa Lakas, at ako'y kakandidato, idadaan nila sa proseso, yun ang alam ko, yun ang nababasa ko. At yun din ang sinasabi sa akin ng mga opisyal ng Lakas. Idadaan sa proseso sapagka't meron din naman ilang mga interesadong tumakbo," de Castro said.
He said it would not be fair to the other aspirants, especially those who are really Lakas-Kampi-CMD members, to say he is already the ruling party bet.
Fernando has long been a member of the Lakas-CMD party while Teodoro recently joined the Lakas-Kampi-CMD.
Asked if he will be able to unite the ruling party behind his possible presidential bid, de Castro said it's possible, but he does not want to think about it yet.
'Noli would make a good president'
On Friday, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo refused to confirm or deny reports that she has asked de Castro to be the administration bet in May 2010, but added that the broadcaster-turned-politician "would make a good president."
In a statement, Arroyo said she does not "want to get ahead of VP Noli who said he is nearing a decision" on whether to run for president in 2010.
She reiterated that the ruling Lakas-KAMPI-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-KAMPI-CMD) has an "ongoing selection process for its standard-bearer based on democratic consultations."
"Members of the Lakas-Kampi executive committee have reported to me the progress of this process, and they have also conveyed to me the sentiments of party members," she said.
"I do not want to get ahead of VP Noli who said he is nearing a decision. But I do thank him for acknowledging the value of the administration party's support and for attesting to the earnest work that we do in the Cabinet as well as its significance as 'on the job training' for the presidency," Mrs. Arroyo said.
"The party, the Cabinet, and I regard VP de Castro as a leader imbued with the decency, capability, dedication to public service, and a genuine sensitivity for the Filipino masses. These traits will make a good president," she added.