Filipinos jokingly call their vice-president a 'spare tyre', who only comes in useful should a mishap befall the president. In the case of new Vice-President Noli de Castro, the nation had better hope he is not called into action as even he admits he is not yet up to the rigours of the job. 'Correct, I am not ready,' he said in December to a reporter who doubted the former newsreader was fit for high office. 'Never in my life have I thought about becoming president or vice-president.' But Mrs Arroyo's deputy might come in handy with his talent for reading the public pulse, government sources said.