MANILA - "Hindi nga! (No, I'm not!)"
This was Vice-President Noli de Castro's succinct reply to questions that he is being wooed to become Sen. Manuel Villar's running mate for the 2010 elections.
De Castro was visibly irritated during Thursday's commemoration of the 394th Founding Anniversary of Los Baños, Laguna. At least 50 militants conducted a protest rally in the area to remind de Castro of his failed promises in bringing adequate housing to citizens.
De Castro earlier turned down the invitation of the Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats to become the party's standard-bearer for the 2010 polls.
Villar said he is open to inviting de Castro to be his running mate in the 2010 elections, but stressed that he will not preempt the vice-president's plans. He said that de Castro had previously indicated that he might run for president or return to the private sector.
"Kabayan [de Castro] and I have not talked...To be fair with him, I don't know if he wants to run for vice-president or if he wants to return to broadcasting or if he wants to run for president. I expect to talk to him in the coming days..Ayaw kong pangunahan kung ano ang kanyang magiging plano," Villar said in an ANC interview.
Villar visited Albay province on Thursday to lead the oath-taking of over 300 leaders in Bicol, including two incumbent vice-governors, at least 13 mayors and 12 vice-mayors, to the Nacionalista Party. Sen. Pia Cayetano, who is widely rumored to be one of those being considered to be Villar's running mate, was also at the oath-taking.
"I have always been a running mate of Sen. Manny Villar in a sense that I believe in his programs, but if you are referring to being the vice-president, nagulat ako when I first heard of it from him," she said.
She added that she is still mulling over Villar's offer.