THE time has come for Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd to quit his Cabinet post for clearly pursuing his presidential ambitions.
Opposition lawmakers Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna and Luz Ilagan of Gabriela made the call in light of Roxas’ intensified engagements across the country that included stops in vote-rich provinces such as: Cebu, Bukidnon, Davao and Cagayan de Oro.
Roxas, whose Presidential bid has been endorsed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd last July 31, to carry the torch of a good governance program, has already submitted his resignation to the Chief Executive.
Such resignation, however, is not irrevocable.
“As the so-called anointed one, Secretary Roxas is practically now at his disposal the vast machinery and resources of the government. Questions about the sources of his early massive campaign ads are not outlandish. That you already have the Presidential spokesman answering questions for Mar speaks volumes of how the ruling party takes advantage of the government machinery to push this early his candidacy,” Zarate, a lawyer, argued.
Zarate underscored that as appointed cabinet official, it is but expected that Roxas’ provincial sorties and high profile media ads will be subjected to close scrutiny, particularly during this budget season.
Bayan Muna earlier questioned the allocation of housing and water supply fund under the DILG headed by Roxas, referring to the budget of P7.2 billion for water supply and management, as well as the P1.2 billion assistance to informal settlers.
“The administration has strategically placed, budgeted, supported, and defended its allies in government. It is common knowledge among politicians that LGUs are the base in ensuring electoral victories for Presidential races,” Zarate added.
Ilagan, for her part, lamented that President Aquino would rather focus on campaigning for Roxas, rather than taking action on the alleged human rights violations committed by the Armed Forces and its paramilitary groups against indigenous peoples (IPs).
Ilagan was referring to the statement made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Dr. Chaloka Beyani who has expressed concern at the killings and violations that have targeted IPs, including the 100 IPs who were killed protecting their ancestral lands and the environment.
The President, according to Ilagan, should order the pulling out of troops from Lumad communities, as well as the disbandment of paramilitary groups.
“President Aquino is once more proving to be unmindful of the deaths, displacement, and destruction around him. It does not even concern him that there is now a clamor for the government to address these human right violations from the international community,” Ilagan added.