BYGONES are not necessarily bygones for Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd.
In an interview after the first-ever presidential debate in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday, Roxas remained evidently combative, saying his administration wouldnot just draft former political foes in the Cabinet.
“Hindi naman ito parang kindergarten eh na mag-shake hands [lang]tapos okay na. Importante na naniniwala kami sa parehas na mga batayan, parehas na diwa, parehas ang aming isinusulong. At hindi naman ito na dahil lamang sa pulitika, ‘You scratch my back, I scratch your back,’ na isasama sa gabinete [This is not kindergarten that after you shake hands, it’s all over. What is important is that we believe in the same standards and advocacies. This is not politics where we just exchange favors],” he pointed out.
Roxas likened the presidential race to choosing a driver for a car that would take the children to school, and as such, should not be entrusted to someone facing graft charges, hot-headed and a newbie—an apparent dig at Vice President Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte and Grace Poe.
“We are serious on good governance and I am serious in steering our country to progress,” he said.
During the debate, he vowed to modernize the agricultural sector by reducing interest rates on loans, investing in fish finders that utilize global positioning satellite technology to increase fishermen’s catch, constructing post-catch facilities like chillers and refrigerated vans that would maintain the freshness of fishermen’s catch and implementing more infrastructure projects so fishermen would be able to bring their harvest to markets.
Rep. Romero Quimbo of Marikina City (Metro Manila), Roxas’ partymate and LP spokesman for the party’s Senate slate, is unapologetic of Roxas’ combative stance.
Roxas ranked fourth in the latest Social Weather Stations survey with 18 percent.
He is behind Binay (29 percent), Poe (24 percent) and Duterte (24 percent).
“He was just speaking from the heart, and sometimes, a lot will be run over but a President needs to be like that, you have to be straight to the point. And when you need to criticize, you don’t think twice. You can’t be avoiding issues like [what]some of the other candidates were trying to do,” Quimbo said.
“Mar came in a fighting form because he knew it was a serious debate and this is a serious venue to give people the choices that they need. Wanting to be gentle and avoiding issues are different. Other candidates need to be called out if they are not doing anything good. A candidate should speak up, and Mar delivered,” he added.