A year later, Mar Roxas enjoys the quiet of private life

Bea Cupin

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A year later, Mar Roxas enjoys the quiet of private life
The former LP president has kept mostly to himself, save for the occasional camping selfie and food recommendation, and when he had to speak up about the hero's burial for the dictator

MANILA, Philippines – From #DaangMatuwid to #ItsAWow.

A year after losing in the 2016 presidential elections, former Liberal Party (LP) president and standard-bearer Manuel “Mar” Roxas II has enjoyed a quiet life, away from the often harsh glare of the public eye.

After placing 2nd in the presidential contest, Roxas withdrew from most public engagements, save for appearances in protests against the burial of a dictator and in a fiesta in his home province of Capiz.

Roxas and the LP ran a campaign on the promise of continuity – that he and running mate Leni Robredo would sustain and improve on the legacy of former president Benigno Aquino III.

2016 CANDIDATE. Roxas during a campaign sortie in Quezon City. File photo courtesy of the Roxas campaign

Although he no longer wears yellow, the party color, on a daily basis (as he did during the campaign period), Roxas remains an LP member. 

According to party sources, the former LP president has also taken a more subdued role even behind the scenes – he attends major meetings when called, and provides advice when asked.

Other than that, he has allowed LP members in elected posts to decide on the day-to-day and strategic direction of the once-ruling party.

We list down the more notable events in Roxas’ life since losing the elections – from a quick tour around the country to personally express his gratitude to his supporters, to interesting food combinations, and new additions to his family.

‘Thank You Tour’

After non-stop stints in both elective and appointive posts, Roxas took a year-long breather. He’s apparently used that time to experience the smaller wonders of life (like Starbucks drive-through) and give interesting food suggestions to his social media friends and followers.

Shortly after the new administration officially began, Roxas also went on a “Thank You Tour” around the country, visiting provinces where he got a lot of support during the 2016 elections.

He’s done two “seasons,” so far – no news if a third one is on the way. 

The “tour” also turned into something of a food blog for the former interior secretary, as he posted photos of food in the areas he had visited.

The break from politics also showed the lighter side of Roxas, which was rarely seen during the campaign, when he spent most of the time fending off allegations and promoting his platform and vision for the country.

In January 2017, Roxas and several other Aquino administration officials were charged with plunder before the Ombudsman for allegedly authorizing the illegal transfer of 3,500 metric tons of gold from Switzerland to Thailand.

The complaint was a joke, of course, apparently stemming from a fake news site. Roxas wasted no time poking fun at the charge, which labeled him the “Secretary of Department of Nutrition and Local Government.”

Life after public service has also given Roxas more time to do camping and other outdoor activities. He has been on several diving trips with his wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez-Roxas. He’s also been on camping trips apparently by his lonesome.

Roxas has also paid visits to his home province of Capiz. Most recently, he and Korina were guests at a fiesta.

One of Roxas’ more adorable life changes happened in November 2016 when Goya, one of their dogs, gave birth to a litter of puppies.

The birthing process was well-documented by Korina, and even by the former government official himself.

PUPPY TIME. One of Roxas' dogs, Goya, recently gave birth to several puppies. Photo from Korina Sanchez-Roxas' Instagram account

Silence broken

While Roxas has notably decided not to comment on politics and current events in public, there was one issue that made him break his silence – the sudden burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The  hero’s burial for Marcos, which caught many by surprise, led to pocket protests all over the country. Roxas was vocal in reminding people of the hardships during the Marcos era, which was marred by human rights abuses and the plunder of government coffers. 

On November 8, 2016, the day the Supreme Court (SC) allowed the hero’s burial for Marcos, Roxas posted on his social media account: “30 years erased!” 

Roxas’ father, the late senator Gerardo Roxas, was an LP stalwart who fought the Marcos dictatorship. His mother, Judy Araneta-Roxas, was among those hurt in the 1971 bombing of an LP rally in Plaza Miranda. The attack was initially blamed on Marcos but the communist movement later claimed it to be its handiwork. 

Roxas also joined the November 30 protests against the Marcoses. While he wasn’t able to snap a photo of himself at the events, Roxas posted a photo of one of the many signs and placards used during the Bonifacio Day protest.

It was a dig at Palace Communications Secretary Martin Andanar. In a newspaper column, the former newsreader said those opposing Marcos’ burial were “temperamental brats,” eliciting censure from both allies and critics of Duterte. – Rappler.com

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.