INTERIOR Secretary Manual “Mar” Roxas 2nd may be enjoying the support of top officials of the Liberal Party (LP) but his bid to replace President Benigno Aquino 3rd may be dampened by the lack of backing of party officials in the grassroots level, according to a lawyer who is closely associated with the camp of Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source, interviewed by The Manila Times on Wednesday, said unless the camp of Roxas changes its “teledrama” approach in packaging him, it would be difficult to “sell” him to voters.
In fact, the source noted that Roxas has yet to maximize the regional, provincial and even lower divisions of the administration party. Roxas, the source added, should have gone down to the grassroots as early as last year to determine who among his partymates will support him.
“We conduct our own analyses and we are of the belief that something is wrong with his packaging. His handlers are missing the point that the teledrama approach would not work. It will not sell,” said the source, adding that Roxas still lacks the enigma or persona that could relate him to the poor.
“His Mister Palengke image once worked but for one reason or another, they tried lacklusterly to re-invent him as pedicab driver, kargador and even a traffic enforcer. Hard sell,” the source pointed out.
Although Roxas has the ability and integrity to lead if given the chance, poor acceptance by the public may shatter his dreams of becoming president. In fact, the source claimed that while Roxas controls the “head” of the LP, the rest of the “body” seems to be moving out of sync.
“The machinery is on a wait and see mode. If things do not turn out well for them, we expect many to bolt from the party come October and join another that they see as more formidable. That is the biggest challenge for Roxas,” the source explained.
President Aquino had said that Roxas remains the top pick from among party stalwarts although he continues to tail other prospective presidential candidates in surveys.
Roxas has been expecting the “anointment” of President Aquino which, many believe, could boost his chances in the 2016 polls.
But the Speaker had advised Roxas not to rely on the president’s endorsement.
“I think kung ma-anoint ka man, that’s just a small matter; it should not be a major consideration…You have to rely basically on your own self,” Belmonte, a vice chairman of the LP, told House reporters in a recent interview.
The Times source agreed, noting that it is only Roxas who can prove his worth and mettle as party standard bearer, especially in the light of the presence of other “shoo ins” like Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares and Francis Escudero, both of whom have been interviewed by President Aquino.
Meanwhile, militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) said Roxas should have resigned from his post following the deadly Mamasapano encounter in January.
Speaking on the eve of the fifth month of the carnage where 44 elite Special Action Force commandos were killed by Muslim insurgents, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes “would have gained much respect had he resigned in the aftermath of the incident.”
“He chose instead to stick it out with Aquino in the hopes of securing an endorsement for his presidential bid. It smacks of trapo politics and crass opportunism,” the Bayan leader stressed.
“Tomorrow June 25 marks 5 months since Mamasapano. Mar Roxas has yet to resign from his cabinet post despite what was done to him by Aquino and (resigned Philippine National Police chief Alan) Purisima. Mar has not protested being kept in the dark,” Reyes said.