Despite giving their endorsement to Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno last September 16, the administration party is courting another more popular politician to become the running mate of their presidential aspirant, Defense Secretary Gilbert "Gibo" Teodoro.
Multi-awarded actress and public servant Vilma Santos-Recto, a member of the merged political party Lakas-Kampi-CMD, is reportedly being primed to be the party's vice-presidential candidate for next year's elections.
Prospero Pichay, one of the party's vice presidents, told a daily broadsheet that Vilma's "beauty, brains, and experience" would strongly complement Teodoro's presidential bid.
The statement floated assumptions that the VP slot is still open to speculation, even though the political party had already endorsed Puno, an administration ally and political strategist who successfully managed the campaigns of eventual presidential winners Fidel V. Ramos, Joseph Estrada, and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
But Pichay added that Vilma's name had already been tossed around the table a few weeks before Puno's endorsement, and that Vilma's two-year experience as Batangas Governor was enough for the vice presidency.
Vilma Santos has yet to receive a formal invitation from the party to be able to join the selection process. Pichay said a "recommendation" from Teodoro could "seal the deal" on who the VP aspirant would be.
Pichay added, "Vilma is very popular and very acceptable to [our] party... And definitely, she can help prop up the ratings of Gibo."
"ALL OPINIONS ARE WELCOME." In a statement published in the same paper, Puno said his endorsement is not yet final.
"Everyone knows the straw vote [during the Sept. 16 meeting] was just a consensus exercise and that the final decision will come at the party convention," he said. "Until then, all opinions are welcome."
Puno added that he believes in Vilma's competence as a politician.
"Governor Santos is a competent public official with a proven and unblemished record of performance. If she declares her availability for any national office, I'm sure the party, in its collective wisdom, will make the decision at the proper time," he said.
NOT YET READY. But in a previous interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), the Star for All Seasons said she's not yet ready to seek a national position. (Click here to read related story)
"Kung tatakbo man ako uli, another term as governor, but definitely not as vice president," she declared. "Kung papipiliin, ang focus ko lahat nasa Batangas, hindi yung national position na vice president. Hindi ako handa para diyan."
She also clarified that she wants to seek a second term as Batangas governor.
"Kung tatakbo man ako, second term as governor of Batangas," Vilma said.