Mar Roxas, Presidential candidate

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IT was a relief when the President finally declared that Interior Secretary Mar Roxas was his anointed one. The one who would be star of Matuwid na Daan version 2.0.

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It was a relief because at least now we are able to speak of Roxas and all that he does to be about campaigning for President. Finally we are talking 2016 when we watch him turning over firetrucks to some province, or appearing at a huge gay gathering. Finally we see his wife Korina as nothing but first-lady-to-be, not a pretend-objective journalist delivering the nightly news.

Finally we can demand that Roxas answer questions and come clean, about what he had done in his different Cabinet posts, the ones he got after he lost the 2010 vice-presidential race.

Because one hopes that unlike the President, he can handle criticism better and can answer questions even when it might reveal his limitations. One hopes that unlike the President he can be humble enough to admit his mistakes, and apologize when he needs to.

One also hopes that Roxas proves to be bigger and better than the other Presidential candidate Vice President Jejomar Binay, because he will actually answer questions that hang like dark clouds over his candidacy, if only so we can move on and start talking of the future instead of the past.

Mar and the airport
The first time Roxas lost credibility to me was when news broke that he had dismissed the work of Kenneth Cobonpue, Budji Layug and Royal Pineda for the NAIA 1 rehabilitation project in 2011. This was after the public celebrated the planned redesign by the three consultants to the National Competitiveness Council (NCC).

The Economic Cluster of the President’s Cabinet had tasked the NCC to undertake the NAIA 1 rehabilitation. It was under the NCC that Cobonpue-Layug-Pineda worked for free to redesign and rehabilitate the NAIA 1. From March to October 2011, the three headed the team that worked on the architecture and design of the new NAIA 1. The promise was that at P1 billion pesos, the airport would be ready in a year.

But in November 2011, without explanation, the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) headed by Roxas declared that the three were out of the project. They didn’t have a contract with government anyway, it was said. Besides, what the three designed was mostly for the “aesthetic look and feel” of the airport. Their “suggestions” Roxas said, would be considered “after the more basic fundamental structural and electromechanical works” were done. (Inquirer.net, 26 Nov 2011)

This of course put into question the credibility of the Cobonpue-Layug-Pineda team, implying that they weren’t qualified to undertake such a project because what they focused on was mere aesthetics. It didn’t matter to Roxas that as early as May 2011, the Economic Cluster of the Cabinet and the MIAA Management itself had adopted the design concept of Cobonpue-Layug-Pineda. That in fact the NAIA Project Management Office itself, with its team of architects and engineers, had worked on the architecture and design with the three consultants. (Guillermo Luz Statement, 2 Dec 2011)

Roxas got his way of course. And we never found out what his reasons were for taking the NAIA 1 rehabilitation project from the NCC and its three consultants.

What we do know is that four years since, we’re still stuck with the worst airport in the world.

Mar and the storm
The worst storm to ever make landfall in the world happened in Eastern Samar in November 2013. Typhooon Haiyan (Yolanda) was a storm that government had prepared for: the President told people to evacuate because of storm surges, the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD) was in Tacloban with relief goods, and then Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Roxas was also in Tacloban beforehand.

Which begs the question: Why were they as unprepared as the rest of the province they were supposed to help?

The excuse has been that no government would’ve been ready for Typhoon Haiyan and the death and destruction it left behind. That’s well and good. But why did it take days before help was extended to those who had survived? Why did it take days before the dead were removed from the streets?

Why was there no plan for the dead? Why did survivors need to see their dead where the flood waters had left them, and why did they have to see their dead dropped in mass graves a week after the storm? Why did so many have to suffer the injustice of not knowing where the bodies of their loved ones were?

The stories are countless about Roxas’s (and DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman’s) display of insensitivity and lack of compassion the days following the storm. This much we know for sure: there was a system for distributing relief goods. The Interior and Social Work Secretaries insisted this needed to be followed.

This was why people who had walked into Tacloban in the hope of getting help were told to go back to their barangays, so that they could be checked off a list of people who were to receive relief packs. This system, we were told, would keep the relief operations from becoming chaotic. It would ensure that no one got more than what they needed, or deserved.

Yet if there’s anything this system proved, it was that the Interior Secretary could look at such unbelievable hunger and need, and think: no, no, there’s a system these people need to follow before they are fed.

We never found out why Roxas did not rise to the occasion of this province in dire need. He never answered the question of why he couldn’t decide right there to change the system of relief and rescue given the urgency of the victims’ needs. After all, if the breadth and scope of the Haiyan aftermath was so unexpected, we would have all understood some radical action from the Interior Secretary.

But alas, what we got was just the firm stance that no one deserved more than their fair share of relief goods. What we got was Roxas making a fool of himself on global television, coming out arrogant and insensitive as he tried to explain why the members of international media were still seeing people begging for food and water on the streets. What we got was Roxas revealing that just like the current star of Matuwid na Daan, he isn’t one to operate on kindness and compassion because the rules are more important.

Not quite the President I’d want to vote for. But heck, let me hope that he can rise to the occasion of being candidate and finally try to explain. It’s never too late to change one’s mind.

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40 Comments

  1. malapit na mag file ng mga candidacy ang mga politicians natin. but still I will support sec mar for president

  2. ang aking candidate sa 2016, mas pinakita ni sec mar ang pagkaisa ng buong bansa nung last long weekend and hindi pumapanig sa isang sector ng bansa lang

  3. upon the 2 sure candidate that will run for president for the 2016 election, I will choose sec mar.

  4. waiting for sec mar to state all his plan, but so far he is may candidate for the 2016 election unlike the other candidate

  5. madami din nagawang maganda si sec mar bilang usec ng dilg. kaya naman ni sec mar ipagpatuloy ang daan na matuwid na programa

    • rodolfo r.legrama on

      Mar Roxas is inefficient ,no leadership quality,can’t make decesion by himself.

    • Straight path to ruin. Another 6 years of that straight path crap using the media to lie about how concerned they are and then doing nothing.

      Another 6 years of destroying what little infrastructure that is left will not help.

      Another 6 years of the Dept of Justice and Ombudsman office protecting the liberal party thieves while they steal 40% of the budget.

      Another 6 years of the straight path to ruin…

  6. why i will not vote for Marred Roxas in 2016 presidential election? if he could not resolve the MRT problem during his stint as DOTC secretary, how would he resolve the bigger problems of the government?

  7. Dapat si Lacson o Duterte and kumandidato so we can get things done. Maybe Duterte more than Lacson because he is a no nonsense guy who can get things done
    which what we need instead of a weak leader like Aguino and now Roxas who will
    copy what Aquino has done – nothing. I am sick and tired of TRAPO’s

  8. angel paredes on

    a quick test how well mar roxas can handle presidency is looking beneath the door mats of DOTC and DILG offices…plain and simple!

  9. angel paredes on

    with regards to yolanda issues… public must not forget that davao city r. duterte was first to respond to help the devastated area and people…the mark of a true leader. They (davao city rescue composite group) came in first and fade away silently without fun fare and drum beating.

    • angel paredes on

      in the coming days — the BBL, issues therein, is not only important
      but critical to future of this nation.We must expect to hear more from him otherwise it maybe to hot for him to handle if ever elected president.

  10. Elmermbeltran23 on

    4 way test to 2016 presidentiables
    Base on 10 minimum in government service
    1.Honesty
    Roxas > no accusation or record of corruption

    Binary> all front and record of corruption

    Poe > not been tried ,Questionable

    2.Integrity
    Roxas> BPO proponent,Prohibit his family to engage
    Binary>senior citizen gift cake,marked up the price
    Poe> Questionable
    3.Capability
    Roads> experience in both legislative as congressman and senator,and executive ,cabinet Secretary,CAPABLE
    Binary> CAPABLE
    Poe> Questionable
    4. SACRIFICE
    Roxas >bayan nina Bali sarili
    Binary>sarili nina bago bayan
    Poe> have yet to show,,Questionable
    What this country need is Selfless leadership, not selfish and questionable leadership :-) :-):-)

    • Why don’t you look at what Roxas accomplished as the head of the departments he was given by Aquino.

      DOTC head, the running trains went down from 73 to just 16 (incompetent)

      DILG head – SAF 44 massacre, Typhoon Yolanda, Manila shoe factory fire.
      (incompetent)

      Mar Roxas is the poster boy for incompetent.

  11. I hope if MAR will win the 2016 Pres there will be only one Madam. Only Asiong can do it..Asiong has a Madam in the palace and a Madam in the senate. MAR lovelife must be opened to public as this early. Unlike Asiong open machissimo, come the time he will have to answer questions the same those thrown to InFidel…and what is your relation to Miss __? Should there be..ask Madam K.

  12. Mar couldn’t do the job as head of the DOTC, the running trains went down from 73 to just 16.

    Mar couldn’t do the job as head of the DILG, The SAF 44 massacre Mar took a tour and had lunch while the SAF were being killed.

    He did txt General Napenas at 7:12pm
    “Keep calm and keep your head.
    We will not abandon the troops.”
    Of course this was hours after the 44 commando’s were already dead.

    As DILG Chief he is in charge of

    Bureau of Fire Protection, Manila business not in compliance,result 72 dead, no fire doors, metal grills over the windows. Ain’t that Mar’s job to inspect business for safety issues ?

    Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, everyone knows the state of the Jails.

    Philippine National Police, SAF Massacre

    Mar Roxas is the poster boy for incompetence.

  13. Mar Roxas talking to the Mayor of Tacloban. “”You have to understand you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino so so we just want to legalize if not legalized well ok you are in charge we can’t help you bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo.”

  14. Let’s make this simple…..can anybody suggest alternative one who is upright enough than Mar?

  15. What a writing piece by Katrina S. Santiago! It is a painful truth that Mr. Roxas would be haunted with during the campaign period and beyond. He would of course defend himself. I also agree with Norodin Lucman that Roxas was also involved in Mamasapano operation. Roxas is even seen usurping the functions and power of the secretary of defense Voltaire Gazmin in many occassions. And to suggest Roxas was kept in the dark about the Mamasapano impending operations is unbelievable and without merit. Aquino who is ultimately responsible for that operation SHIELDED Mr. Roxas because the Aquino was already looking forward to anoint him as administration’s candidate for 2016 presidential election.

  16. Amnata Pundit on

    So pano yan? Binay o Grace Poe nalang tayo? Di ka ba nasisiraan ng loob sa nakikita mo? Maski na tadtad ng kapalpakan ang dilaw na gobyernong ito, pagdating sa kandidato na gusto ng taong bayan para sa pangulo, eh yun paring mga kandidato na tinutulak ng mga dilaw ang nangunguna ayun sa surveys. Dalawa lang yan: niloloko tayo, o mga loko-loko tayo. Kung niloloko tayo, katungkulan natin na ipa-alam yan sa lahat imbes na lamonin natin ang dilaw na ebak na pilit nilang pinapalunok sa atin ( false reality being forced fed to us by yellow propaganda). Kung loko-loko naman tayo, eh para kanino pa tayo nagsusulat? Don’t get me wrong by the way, I think you are one of the most level headed and brightest writers of the Times. May the force be with you.

  17. Marites Teves on

    He will never win the election. He has always been mum in all thenwrong doings made by this administration, just shwing where his loyallty lies, but he almost break in the mamasapano incident thinking that his candidacy will go down the drain, apparently he knows whisch side of his bread is buttered so he persevered, knowing he was one of those who put this president in power and he was also part of this mistakes. But if he thinks this president who annoited him is still popular, you will make the biggest mistake of your life and all will be paid for.

  18. you forgot to include MRT and LTO mess! Mar used to be the DOTC secretary. Instead of solutions, things got even worst. As DILG secretary, all day crimes and rampant criminality continues. Despite increasing crime rates, Mar’s defense………(It only shows that we have a more correct/accurate crime reporting) Is this guy serious??

  19. When korina challenged her critics on live tv to bring it on she has wrecked whatever little hope there was for her husband to win. It was insensitive, arrogant and stupid for her to take that stance but sorry for roxas if he thought marrying korina will boost his chances he thought wrong

  20. Roxas lost as a VP candidate. Since then he has only done things that have lowered his appeal. Common sense tells us he is a loser and will lose badly in 2016, to every other candidate. He will place last.

  21. Norodin Lucman on

    It is not in Mar Roxas’ mind set to exercise humility. He never apologized to the Mindanaoans for provoking a violent war in 2008 as a result of the rejection of MOA AD by the Supreme Court. He lost the VP under the weight of this terrible mishap. He orchestrated an impromptu war in Zamboanga City which left thousands dead and wounded including civilians. And who will believe the tall tale that he was not involved in Mamasapano tragedy? This and other tragedies will hound his presidential campaign. If anything, his candidacy is a scam to use public funds to be distributed among his new sidekicks, KKKs and Matuwid na Daan disciples.

  22. Don’t forget that Roxas cancelled the contract of Sumitomo which maintained the MRT. What stood out in his tenure as DOTC head and as DILG secretary were his Keystone Kop response to: 1) Daylight robbery at SM North Edsa (he and the president ran off to the scene like Batman and Robin) 2) the Serendra blast. Roxas was there on the scene ASAP. When it came to the final report, we first got a long-winded preface to the obvious findings.

  23. You can never change Mar.. As the dog returned to its vomit, so as the fool return to his foully. Walang trabaho si Mar sa gobyerno na hindi palpak. Laging may question ito.

  24. The first time Marred Roxas lost credibility to me was when he became a DOTC secretary and he could not improve the operation of MRT. If Marred Roxas wins the next presidential election, expect the worse conditions of MRT to continue.

  25. Maligayang-maligaya po ako para kay Mar Roxas sapagka’t siya po ay pinayagan ng kanyang mommy na tumakbo sa 2016. Salamat , mommy!

  26. I’m glad that since Mar Roxas started public service in 1993 up to present there was no mention of stealing money or abuse of his position. He remained quiet and just worked hard. For 22 years and in those sensitive positions that he held, no politician can be perfect and prone to enrich themselves as we see normally to public servants.

    I just hope that you also mentioned what i said above and his brainchild, the BPO (call centers, etc). He made the country more competitive and gave hundreds of thousands of jobs to Filipino people. India woke up not knowing what hit them. Hindi perpekto pero mapapagkatiwalaan dahil hindi nang-abuso.I just want to balance the negatives with some positives.

    • he he he, secretary sya nuon ni arroyo, natandaan mo?? ung arroyo na sinabihan nya ng p_tang In_. kaya nya nagawa ang project na iyon ay may blessing ni arroyo. tanungin mo rin si cesar purisima sa pag unlad ng call center industry. isa si cesar sa nagsimula nito. itong datos na ito ay nakasulat pa nga sa isang white paper na laban kay purisima. si boy pickup ay laway lang ang investment kung baga pero si cesar ay sumosyo, silent partner baga, sa isang kumpanya na call center at tuloy nyang sinuportahan. ang talagang sariling kayod ni boy pickup ay ang cheap medicine law nung senado sya. yun lang. ANG MABIGAT NA TANONG VHIN AB AY ANO ANG NAGAWANG MABUTI NI BOY PICKUP MULA NG MAUPO SYA SA DOTC AT DILG SA KKK ADMIN. WALA YATA HINDI BAGA??