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De Castro: Arroyo stepping down in 2010

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By Joel Guinto
First Posted 15:58:00 11/20/2008

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Noli De Castro said that, contrary to fears raised by her critics, he believes President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will step down when her term ends in 2010.

At the same time, De Castro said that, while he is “inspired” by his strong showing in surveys, he would rather focus on his work than his political plans in 2010.

“I believe that, yes [Arroyo will step down]. I think she has proven herself in the past nine years,” he said.

The latest Pulse Asia Survey showed De Castro on top of potential presidential candidates, but only with a one percentage-point lead over Seantor Manuel Villar, the recently ousted Senate president, and former president Joseph Estrada.

“For me, I use surveys as inspiration to work harder, especially now that we are facing these problems, not only climate change, [but] what’s bigger is the global financial crisis,” De Castro said in an interview with reporters on the sides of the Carbon Cutting Congress in

Asked if has received feelers from the administration party for him to be its standard bearer, De Castro, an independent, said: “We don’t talk about politics, even the President, we don’t talk about politics. We talk about solutions to the country’s problems.”

De Castro was also evasive when asked what he was waiting for before he declares his political plans.

“What I’m thinking about is the time I have left to serve. I have barely two years left as Vice President, to prove to the 16 million Filipinos that voted for me that they made the right choice,” he said.

Lakas Christian Muslim Democats vice president Heherson Alvarez acknowledged that while De Castro is an independent, he is “closest” to the party and to the President.

“He [De Castro] is an ally, although he’s not a party man…In all the party’s problems, he was there, and that has to be considered in the final analysis,” said Alvarez, who was at the congress in his capacity as presidential adviser on climate change.

Aside from “winnability,” Alvarez said a candidate’s ability to continue with the Arroyo government’s projects will be part of the criteria in selecting the country’s standard bearer.

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Written by joelguinto

ThuUTC2008-11-20T08:34:54+00:00UTC11bUTCThu, 20 Nov 2008 08:34:54 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am11

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