While Mar Roxas snubs Metro Manilans
By Raïssa Robles
Just listen. Don’t ask.
Listen. Admire. Applaud. (or they came, they talked, they left)
Ask questions? Forget it.
This Wednesday at the University of the Philippines Visayas, vice presidential candidate and plunder beneficiary Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. appeared with his presidential running mate Miriam Defensor Santiago to tell students what he and Santiago planned to do if they’re elected to office.
They declined to take any questions from the audience. In fact there was no open forum at all.
This, one school official told me, was upon the request of Santiago.
According to Professor Liah Catedrilla, chief of the UP Visayas information and publications office, “there was no q and a. It was the request of a representative of Miriam Santiago that they will just present (their programs). That’s it.”
Prof. Catedrilla said they granted Santiago’s request because “she’s our alumna [and] we can’t do anything if they ask that.”
When I asked her if students and teachers from the university were among the protesters outside who had heckled Bongbong Marcos when he arrived, Catedrilla said “yes” and added that they were joined by representatives from other groups.
When I asked her whether UP Visayas had given the same accommodation to other tandems, she said that when Senator Grace Poe appeared at the university in the same forum, no such prior request was made and Poe readily answered questions from the audience.
The next scheduled candidate is Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on April 19. Duterte hasn’t confirmed yet but Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said he’s coming, she said.
Frankly, I find it astonishing that Senator Santiago – who lives and breathes sound bites – would not agree to an open forum.
What happened in UP Visayas was definitely not a forum where ideas are freely exchanged.
I would conclude that Senator Miriam’s representative asked that for Bongbong Marcos who must still be smarting from all the brickbats he got before and during the April 10 vice-presidential debate.
Marcos is trying his mightiest best not to be held accountable for the misdeeds of his family, which includes himself. No less than the Philippine Supreme Court appointed Bongbong as the “executor” of his father’s estate, which to this day consists of the fruits of the family’s ill-gotten wealth.
To those who are wondering why Senator Santiago paired herself off with the young Marcos, she herself once frankly said that she used to write speeches for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. She also worked under the late Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, younger brother of Imelda and uncle of Bongbong.
To read about this, go to Miriam Santiago on love, loss and her home, CYBER PROUST By Jojo G. Silvestre.
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If Senator Miriam Santiago was not running for president, Mar Roxas would be the bottom dweller in this presidential race.
I believe this is because Mar Roxas has failed to address two important issues that many people of Metro Manila are most concerned about – trains and traffic. The third issue – bullets being found in the luggage of departing airport passengers – has been addressed, but continues to be a wellspring of criticisms against Mar Roxas.
The lack of trains and too much traffic are a constant source of cursing for many, many residents of Metro Manila. And Mar Roxas and his handlers have not adequately answered why Mar Roxas, the former Secretary of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), should not be pilloried because there are so very few trains running and the roads are clogged with constant traffic.
Yesterday, Mar Roxas had an event inside Club Filipino. But I have yet to see him go around any urban poor community in Metro Manila shaking hands or doing a whistle stop. Or wooing middle class and rich voters to his side.
The votes for Duterte in Metro Manila, I believe, are protest votes against Roxas’ snub. He could lose the elections to Duterte or Jejomar Binay or Grace Poe mainly because of this. Metro Manila residents still affect the national debate on who deserves the presidency but Mar Roxas doesn’t seem to care.
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Why do I say he “could” lose the elections?
Think of the elections like a horse race around a track. Sometimes, one horse is ahead and sometimes another one noses forward.
The elections are on the last leg of the track and the horses are so close to each other that it’s really, really hard to say who will win next month.
If Roxas wants to win, he would have to do something really drastic and unexpected. He has nothing to lose, anyway, because he already lost in 2010 and people expect him to lose this one yet again.
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I have been often asked who I would vote for in the coming polls.
In all the years I have been a journalist I have never disclosed who I would or actually voted for the position of president and vice-president.
But later, I will disclose some of the names I will vote to the Senate and those I hope will not get re-elected.
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Insofar as the post of mayor of Quezon City is concerned, I am leaving that blank as a protest vote against the incumbent mayor who cannot even collect garbage properly. He is running unopposed.