Roxas’ vindictive politics

As if DILG Sec. Mar Roxas’ popularity has not been wrecked enough by the government’s ineptitude in the Yolanda situation, along came a video this week showing him telling off Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
In the video, Roxas uttered clearly and plainly “You’re a Romualdez, and the President is an Aquino,” dragging into the situation the long-winded, bitter antagonism between the two political clans. To his credit, Roxas’ sound bite rivals the President’s own insensitive “But you’re still alive, aren’t you?” quip a few weeks ago in its tastelessness, so Aquino cannot really slap him with any form of ascendancy.
The video immediately went viral, with netizens blasting the blatant vindictiveness which drips from Roxas’ words. In his defense, Roxas claimed that the video was edited in a malicious way, and that he was merely misconstrued. Unfortunately for Roxas, the full, 42-minute video of the meeting is also available online, showing in even more detail the context of his statement.
Editing or no editing, what Roxas meant with his words was clear as daylight. Its implication was perfectly understandable for anyone who knows even the slightest smattering of Philippine history.
In a ridiculous twist of irony, Roxas’ words comes shortly after NDRRMC’s Voltaire Gazmin called for the setting aside of politics in the relief efforts. Roxas’ words, however, shows that such admonition is not only insincere, but also selective. It appears to be directed to anyone but themselves who may very much let their political agenda take over the reins.
As the alter ego of the President, Roxas should be more careful with what words he spits, especially now when the devastation has caused emotions to become heightened among Filipinos. Of course, this is not to say that what Roxas said would be forgivable at any other time when things are more normal; it would have been equally despicable at any other occasion. However, it is worth pointing out that people, particularly the youth who played a large role in spreading the video, are not merely reacting so passionately because the statement was said in the wake of Yolanda. Rather, they are voicing out their dismay at the utterance because of how it exposes the horrendous nature of our government, which is to be blinded by political affiliations even during a disaster.
For Roxas, the sentence may have been a slip of the tongue. However, as psychologist Sigmund Freud would argue, these accidents in speaking often reveal concealed beliefs that are planted firmly in one’s subconscious. He said what he meant and meant what he said.
What is perhaps even more repulsive about the issue is Roxas’ continued insistence that he had only been put in a bad light. He could have humbled himself and apologized for his words instead of trying to convince anyone who would listen to his pathetic excuse for an explanation. By doing so, he could have rectified the situation (to the extent that it can be corrected) and granted some modicum of integrity to this morally-deprived government.

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