Mar Roxas Yolanda casualty?

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Sunday, December 15, 2013


LOCAL Government Secretary Mar Roxas wasn’t, thank God, among the Yolanda casualties whose bodies were collected from Tacloban City streets.

The death his web critics refer to is a figure of speech: his chances of running and winning in the next president’s race. One graphic and cruel lash is a Facebook meme showing a tombstone: “RIP: Mar Roxas 2016 elections.”

Mar tangled with Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez shortly after the super storm left, a conversation spread and perpetuated on the net.

Roxas wanted to define legal boundaries in the relief work, fearing the nationals might be blamed for the locals’ job. The mayor is a Romualdez and the president is an Aquino, a line that has gone viral with its twin sound bite: “Bahala ka sa buhay mo.”

What has stuck in the public mind is not the legal nuance on turf but a suspected political intent and insensitivity to the devastation and suffering.

Mar might have been set up by P-Noy’s political enemies. The mayor himself could’ve been sloppy in preparing for the calamity and seized Mar’s slip to cover up, aided by tears, his own lapses.

Yet it’s Roxas who’s seen by many people as the villain whose presidential goal overwhelmed duty to help people in distress.

Other stars

He could bounce back. The election is still three years away. But by then, new or old political stars could shine brighter than Mar’s flickering light.

Whatever lies ahead, Roxas’s “Bahala ka” pitch is firmly in the nation’s memory just as Cebuanos can’t forget two local politicians’ lines: “Magpu-asa mo, weder-weder lang” and “Magbuot mo?”

[paseares@sunstar.com.ph]

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 16, 2013.

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