GOLFERS always shout the word “fore!” to warn players ahead of them or anyone else within the range of the ball’s flight as a warning to keep them from getting hit. But in our column today, we will use this golfing term to warn the public of a possible freak accident that might occur when we choose our next president in 2016.
Just before the Lenten break, news broke out that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas allegedly cursed employees of the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club for asking him to pay the P5,100 green fee of a golf pro whom he had invited to give lessons to his guest.
According to media reports, the normally unflappable Roxas, who is the putative 2016 presidential candidate of the Liberal Party, apparently flew off the handle after being told that he had to pay extra.
If media reports are correct, Secretary Mar behaved in a manner that would put any fishmonger to shame. He allegedly berated a poor club employee, “T___ina! Kailan pa nagkaroon ng ganyang rules? (Since when did the club have these rules)?”
When one of the club’s staff told him firmly that he had to pay up, the DILG chief reportedly shot back: “T____ ina! Walang presi-presidente sa akin!” Loosely translated, it means “no president can touch me.”
The hapless club personnel informed Roxas that they would just call the general manager to help clear things up but Roxas allegedly shouted, “T____ ina! Walang bawal-bawal sa akin (Nothing is prohibited with me.)!”
When a spunky club employee insisted on seeing the green fee receipt as the secretary was about to tee off again, Roxas reportedly let loose another mouthful of colorful language.
It’s appalling that Secretary Mar, an affluent member of this exclusive golf club (where shares reportedly go for P16-million apiece) can behave like an ill-mannered boor in an unguarded moment.
This is totally unexpected coming from the blue-blooded scion of an illustrious political clan that includes former President Manuel Roxas, his grandfather, and his father, former Senator Gerry Roxas.
It’s unfortunate that ugly incidents like these involving Secretary Mar keep leaking to the press. His public relations handlers can keep crying “political harassment” and “demolition job” until they’re blue in the face but the public is left wondering if his genteel image is for real.
As a public official, Roxas’ actions do not speak well of him. Why should he be upset over a policy that is followed by all other members of the golf club? His excuse that he didn’t have prior knowledge of the new rules doesn’t exempt him from following it.
He ought to know better as head of the police force. What if every rule-breaker were to follow his example? Could you imagine if every citizen who refused to follow rules were to invoke the alibi that they were not aware of such a policy. We’d have anarchy and lawlessness on the streets.
Roxas in his apology admitted that he got upset and “would settle the green fee as required by the house rules of the golf club.” Does this mean that despite being told to pay before playing and being reminded of it in the middle of the game, Roxas still did not pay for his guest?
This is certainly not the proper behavior expected from club members, even more so because Roxas is a public official who should serve as a good example.
What’s more, everybody knows that he wants to be president in 2016. He’s not yet chief executive and he behaves like this already? What if he becomes president? Is he expecting a freebie from every establishment he patronizes?
I am quite sure the Palace will just gloss over this issue and consider it a non-event. But Malacañang should not underestimate public backlash because this incident concerns a high-ranking government official who is casting a moist eye on the presidency.
Mar’s behavior is in sharp contrast to that of the sitting president. In fairness to Aquino, he still manages to get high approval ratings despite the brickbats thrown his way partly because he personally remains untainted by any scandal.
Roxas’ apology after the incident is quite revealing. He said: “If there is something wrong in what I did, I sincerely apologize for hurting someone.” It appears that Secretary Mar has not fully accepted that what he did was wrong and unacceptable for a government official.
Roxas also released a press statement late last week saying he accepts his 2-month suspension from the upscale golf club. But that won’t fix his tattered reputation since he really doesn’t have a choice but to accept the penalty, right?
Haven’t we Filipinos had enough of people in high places who think they can get away with anything?
For sure, Mar Roxas is acting like a spoiled brat with a classic anak-mayaman (rich kid) attitude.
And he wants to be President?!!!