Vilma looms as Lakas-Kampi-CMD VP

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — BATANGAS Gov. Vilma Santos may yet be the vice presidential bet of the merged Lakas-Kampi- CMD party.

Thus indicated Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita.

Ermita, however, clarified that the ruling party is leaving it up to Ms. Santos, wife of outgoing National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) chief Ralph Recto, to decide for her political plans and options in 2010.

He said that so far as he knows, the Star for all Seasons-turned- Batangas- governor is being rumored to be eyeing the vice presidency.

“I really do not know. Siyempre nasa kanya ’yon kung ano ang nasa hilig niya. Ang dami naman ng nangyayari,” Ermita told Palace reporters in an ambush interview after his regular press briefing.

Ermita also bared that the ruling Lakas-Kampi- CMD will not await for Vice President Noli de Castro’s decision on whether he would want to be part of the selection process.

De Castro has yet to be sworn into the party in contrast with Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro who is already a partymate of Ermita.

He said that choices for the party’s standard- bearer would come out between this month and September as the bets for president, vice president and senators are narrowed down in consultation with local officials.

He said the party is confident that Teodoro would gain strength and improve his standing in survey results especially after formalizing his membership in the party and throwing the hat in the presidential derby.

Ermita said that the party will have its executive committee meeting on Aug. 17.

On Recto’s decision to quit his post, Ermita said the President did not stop him from his move since Mrs. Arroyo does not want to get in the way for the latter’s aspirations in 2010 as he wants “sweet victory” this time after a terrible loss.

Ermita said that he is crossing his fingers crossed that Recto would carry on in staying in the fold of Lakas-Kampi- CMD despite speculations that he would jump ship.