THEN Sen. Mar Roxas was the presumptive presidential candidate of the Liberal Party for the 2010 election but he yielded the party nomination to fellow LP Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino 3rd. He was not only being realistic about his chances in the 2010 polls in sliding down to the vice presidency. Roxas kept in the back burner his personal interest, his life-long ambition to be president in favor of a friend who had better chances of getting elected.
In the 2010 election campaign, several family members and friends of Aquino junked Roxas in favor of then Makati Mayor Jojo Binay who eventually won. Aquino should have prevailed on his relatives and friends not to support Binay if he were a true friend of Roxas but didn’t. Yet, Roxas never took this against him and remained loyal to his friend, the President.
Roxas went to great lengths defending the President. I still remember with sorrow an interview by CNN’s Andrew Stevens where Roxas denied with a straight face the undeniably woeful and inadequate response of the government to victims of Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, including the collection of cadavers left rotting for days in the streets of Tacloban.
He was treated shabbily by the President in the plans to capture two terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. He was kept in the dark about this and confessed he learned about it only after the massacre of 44 Special Action Force commandos sent to capture the terrorists. He’s the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Governments and the Philippine National Police is legally under his wings. Yet, he was completely ignored by the President, as if he were a mere decoration at the DILG.
Roxas suffered in silence this virtual slap on his face. A different person would have raised Cain and resigned in a huff but not Roxas. He soldiered on, as if that insult to his person by a friend was something he should take with a grain of salt. Had he resigned, that would have precipitated a major political issue in the Aquino administration and how could he do so to a friend?
Maybe, Roxas was still keeping his fingers crossed that Aquino would go all-out for him this time in his renewed quest for the presidency come 2016. But, what’s this report that Aquino had virtually endorsed Sen. Grace Poe for president? The President said that Poe could be trusted to continue the “reforms” he has initiated.
And what about his friend, Mar Roxas? Unfortunately, Roxas has been languishing in the surveys so how could he carry Aquino’s reforms if he couldn’t win? Further, Aquino needs to support a sure winner to prevent his being imprisoned once he gets out of Malacanang. So, he’ll just allow the uncomplaining, ever-patient Roxas to stay at the DILG until his term ends.
President Aquino has shown loyalty to his friends like Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Transportation Secretary Abaya, Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman and former DILG Usec Rico Puno. Why can’t he shower the same support to Roxas who’s definitely more deserving of it than the others?
Speaking of standing by one’s man, I guess this is an attribute of many leaders, including the late President Ferdinand Marcos. This is a sign of good leadership, provided the men are well-chosen. Marcos had men of outstanding intelligence and competence in his Cabinet like Carlos P. Romulo, Bong Tanco, Rafael Salas, Claudio Teehankee, OD Corpuz, Blas Ople, Juan Ponce Enrile, Kit Tatad, and Roberto Ongpin.
The members of the Aquino Cabinet are like dwarfs compared to those of the Marcos Cabinet. Former Sen. Joker Arroyo made an apt description of the Aquino Cabinet: “student council.” Who among them have distinguished themselves in school or their chosen profession before they were appointed by their friend the President? Oh well, just the same, President Aquino stands by his men. Probably he wouldn’t want to be considered an ingrate to his loyal friends, their incompetence notwithstanding.
Yes that’s what friends are for. Except Mar Roxas?