Villar-Legarda tandem in the works?

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 02 2009 10:57 PM | Updated as of Nov 03 2009 09:00 PM

MANILA - Nacionalista Party (NP) standard bearer Sen. Manuel Villar has not announced his running mate for the 2010 polls, but he has been dropping hints about his possible choice.

Villar is said to be choosing between Sen. Francis Escudero, who has bolted the Nationalist People’s Coalition and Sen. Loren Legarda, who remains as the NPC’s vice-presidential candidate.

Villar on Monday said he has already chosen his running mate.

“Mayroon naman na kaming napili na, kaya lamang ay di natin pwede sabihin sa ngayon iyan,” said Villar in an interview.

While he refused to yet divulge his choice, he gave a clue on who he has chosen.

“Siyempre may mga nangyari na, in the end, na-decide nila na di muna panahon. Maaaring bata pa sila, di muna panahon,” the NP standard-bearer said in an interview.

Escudero is the youngest presidential aspirant after turning 40 this October.

Last week, Villar faced members of the Manila Overseas Press Club (MOPC) and also dropped some hints on his runningmate.

“Environment is a very serious, is a very important objective, but that is not the only objective. Capability as a president is also very important. So I would not want to immediately rule out the other possibilities,” said Villar at the forum.

Legarda is an environmental advocate, especially on climate change.

Escudero and Legarda both sent text messages when asked about the possibility of running with the NP standard-bearer.

Escudero said he has not yet talked with Villar.

“Nope. Haven’t even spoken with him since I left NPC,” said Escudero in his text message. He bolted NPC last October 28 and asked for time to decide whether he would still pursue his presidential bid.

Legarda, for her part, did not answer directly.

"I am willing to work with anyone who agrees with my agenda of enhancing the environment fighting adverse climate change. reducing disaster risk and poverty, creating employment, protecting OFWs,[overseas Filipino workers], women and children and combating corruption and injustice," said the lady senator in her text message.

Should Legarda be the one chosen by Villar to be his runningmate, both would complement each other’s needs.

Legarda’s NPC does not have a presidential candidate to support after Escudero left the party while Villar and the NP are in search for a vice-presidential candidate, which they plan to announce on November 15. Ricky Carandang, ABS-CBN News