Editorial: Freedom of expression vs delicadeza and Mar’s greatest enemy

DAVAO City Rodrigo R. Duterte brushed off criticisms against former television news anchor Korina Sanchez-Roxas, wife of Liberal Party candidate Manuel A. Roxas, saying it is her right to freedom of expression to campaign contrary to the statement made by the Duterte camp’s spokesperson questioning Korina’s presence in Department of Agriculture (DA) events where farm equipment and other forms of assistance are given out.

But for presidential candidate Mar Roxas such comments deserve his typical hot headed reply, and so videos of him ranting against a reporter in his Davao del Norte sortie.

Unmindful that there were journalists and regular folks with their cellphones and tablets, Mar ranted on as if ready to challenge anyone to a fistfight: "Ano ang sinasabi mo... deretsuhin mo ako, misis ko ito. Sinasabi mo ba na ginagamit ng misis ko ['yung Department of Agriculture]? Una, pribado ang kanyang sasakyan. Pribadong pera ang kanyang ginagamit. Inaanyayahan siya. Ang sinasabi mo ba ay hindi siya pupunta sa kung saan siya ikinukumbida? 'Di ba? Baka ginagawan mo lang ng issue ito na wala namang issue."

"May ano ba na hindi siya pwedeng magbiyahe at mangampanya para sa kanyang asawa? Ano ang issue? Siya ang nangangampanya para sa kanyang asawa. 'Yan ba ay tama or mali? Or illegal, di ba? So ano ang tinatanong mo?"

"Yun ang usual pero 'yun ang sinasabi ko [na hindi] dahil lamang na may mga binabato na paratang, mga binabatong akusasyon, hindi ibig sabihin na totoo iyan.” These were the mouthful the presidential candidate rattled off in defense of his campaigning wife.

We understand if you lose your cool because it’s your wife under attack, but if it is about the delicadeza of wearing your yellow campaign shirts during a government event that highlights giving out assistance, then indeed, the public and the voters have all the right to ask. In this case, the question that is in everybody’s head was asked by a journalist.

Indeed, all of us have the constitutionality guaranteed bill of rights, but there are also norms that manifest how good a person is, one of which is delicadeza – a finesse, a refinement, a manifestation of a good upbringing that very few politicians now live up to. True, there will always be invitations, but that is the very essence of invitations, it can be accepted or it can be declined. An opportunist will see vast opportunities in such invitations.

Indeed, if Korina did use her own vehicle and went there on her own accord because of an invitation, then she has all the right to be there. But wearing the yellow color is enough to communicate that she is there to remind all those receiving the assistance that she is of the yellow party that is fielding her husband as its presidential candidate. Even the lowliest farmer can read such message.

But since we are supposed to believe that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, then okay, let us let it pass, as if we are lowlier than the lowliest peasant ever (sarcasm here).

But we end this by saying, this is not the first time Roxas has been caught rattling off in sheer disregard of what he is saying and we have long realized, as many Filipinos have long realized that the greatest enemy of Roxas in this election is not any of the three candidates, not even Vice President Jejomar Binay who connects to the masses and has a lot to distribute as well. Rather, Roxas’ greatest enemy in this election is his own self. Not any of the three contenders need even resort to black propaganda against Roxas as the presidential candidate can generate it all by himself.
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