Noli stays mum on 2010 presidential bid

MANHATTAN, New York—Days after Philippine senator and presidential candidate Manny Villar met with Filipinos in New Jersey, Philippine Vice-President Noli de Castro appeared before kababayans at the Philippine consulate in New York.

But the Vice-President remained coy when asked if he would run in the 2010 presidential election.

“No, I’m here for Independence Day!” remarked de Castro. “I was invited three years ago, but I wasn’t able to make it…Then, I’m going to Boston for the Gawad Kalinga conference. So I’m not campaigning, I’m not a candidate yet.”

Despite being a frontrunner in presidential preference surveys, de Castro refuses to say if he will run. Filipinos attending the Independence Day activities at the consulate were relieved that de Castro did not dispense any campaign rhetoric, and instead delivered updates on the Philippines.

“Because many of our countrymen may have political fatigue,” de Castro said, “they don’t want to hear government officials campaigning this early. So I only tell them what I’m working on.”

The Vice-President’s reticence to campaign may be working to his benefit.

“I heard a lot of good things about him, but I don’t know if it will translate into votes. I hope it will,” said New Jersey resident Romulo Luz, who says he will vote for de Castro if he runs.

“He’s a very good speaker, and looks very intelligent,” said Isidra Rivera, another de Castro supporter.

If he decides to run for president in 2010, de Castro said he might run as an independent, and would welcome Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan as a running mate.

Other presidential aspirants include Senator Francis Escudero, former president Joseph Estrada, Senator Manuel Roxas, Senator Loren Legarda and Makati City mayor Jejomar Binay.


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