2022 Philippine senatorial race

[WATCH] Noli de Castro says he’s neither opposition nor administration

Asked how he would grade President Duterte's governance, Noli de Castro deflects and points to 'unhelpful' Cabinet members

Veteran news anchor and former vice president Noli de Castro doesn’t want to be identified with either the opposition or the administration, even if it was during President Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency that his home network, ABS-CBN, lost its franchise.

De Castro, in a press conference right after filing his certificate of candidacy on Friday, October 8, said he instead wants to be considered as a “candidate of the people.”

“No, candidate ako ng taumbayan. Kung ang oposisyon ay maganda ang ginagawa, maganda ang mga plano para sa ating mga kababayan, kasama nila ako. Ganoon din sa administrasyon,” said De Castro.

(No, I am a candidate of the people. If what the opposition is doing is good, if their plans are good for Filipinos, I’m with them. Same with the administration.)

De Castro echoed the line of presidential bet Isko Moreno, whose senatorial slate he has joined, and is trying to project himself as a candidate who “can work with anybody.”

Critics, however, have accused Moreno of fence-sitting on issues where there is a clear right and wrong. Others say Moreno and similar politicians are just being strategic, given the consequences of alienating administration supporters in an electoral race that promises to be tight.

Deflects question about grading Duterte

De Castro also deflected a question from Rappler reporter Dwight de Leon who asked him to assess President Rodrigo Duterte’s governance and to explain the score he would give.

Instead of giving a categorical answer, the news personality said if there were bad decisions made by the government, it could be the doing of Duterte’s Cabinet members.

Kung minsan, ‘yung mga miyembro ng Gabinete mo, ‘pag ikaw binobola ka lamang, maniniwala ka, hindi magiging maganda ang resulta nga. Baka ganoon din ang nangyari sa Presidente mula sa kanyang gabinete,” said De Castro.

(Sometimes, the members of your Cabinet can be fooling you and you believe them, the results will not be good. Maybe that’s what happened with the President, from his Cabinet.)

Asked if he was thus blaming Cabinet members and not Duterte himself, De Castro said, “Hindi naman, hindi naman.” (Not really, not really.)

“Because the President cannot do everything…. If those helping him aren’t being helpful, of course, the results will not be good,” he continued in Filipino.

Supports new ABS-CBN franchise

But what the news anchor made clear was that if elected, he would push for a new franchise for his home network ABS-CBN.

He said he would “whisper” to members of the House of Representatives, the chamber that would be the first to tackle franchise bills and then take up the cudgels for the embattled network once the bill reaches the Senate.

De Castro said he decided to run under Moreno’s slate because his advocacies matched those of the Manila mayor, particulary his advocacies on helping the poor and affordable housing.

Moreno was also the first presidential aspirant to reach out to De Castro about his 2022 plans. – Pia Ranada/Rappler.com