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                                                                                                           Ms. Ronadale Zapata



26 October 2005

VICE-President Noli 'Kabayan' De Castro declared
yesterday he is not an option for the presidency but
the successor to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in case she leaves Malacanang.

De Castro raised anew his constitutional mandate as an elected vice president of the country to replace the president amidst mounting calls for her to resign.

The vice president made the statement in response to several groups' pronouncements that he is being considered as an option to take the place of the president.

“I believe its wrong for them to consider me merely an option because I am the sole constitutional successor to the president if President Arroyo resigns.  If they disregard the Constitution, I should remind them that they are disregarding the voice of the majority of our people who respect and abide by the Constitution,” De Castro said.

Talking to reporters during his surprise market visit to monitor prices of basic goods and commodities at a private market in Karuhatan, Valenzuela yesterday, De Castro also found it wrong for the group to set a deadline for him to respond to their offer.

“ It is highly improper to give me a deadline.  And most importantly, it is also not proper to consider me a mere option.  The law clearly states that the vice president shall succeed the president if she steps down from power, and the sovereign Filipino people already decided that to be me,” De Castro said.

“I am the constitutional successor, if and when there
is a vacancy in the presidency,” the Vice President pointed out.

Earlier, several groups such as the Black and white,
the Makati Business Club, and those aligned with
former president Corazon Aquino said they are considering De Castro as an option to replace Arroyo in an apparent presumption that the latter's stay in Malacanang is coming to a near end.

The group set a deadline for De Castro to give his
response; otherwise, the vice president would be taken out from their list of options.

Asked whether he is being pressured  in any way by the group, De Castro said he refuses to be affected by politics since it would not do any good for the country.

“Hindi ko pinapansin ang pulitika. Magtrabaho na lang tayo para sa ikagaganda ng buhay ng ating mga kababayan,” he said.


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