No praise of Mar from Aquino at mayors' event

MANILA, Philippines – There was much praise for Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II at the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) general assembly – just none from the President.

On Wednesday, April 15, President Benigno Aquino III addressed hundreds of mayors across the country in their second to the last general assembly before the national elections in May 2016, but made no inkling of endorsement for the presumed Liberal Party (LP) bet, Roxas.

The Chief Executive did not mention Roxas, nor the upcoming polls, anywhere in his speech.

In the same event last year, Aquino praised Roxas’ initiatives to help local officials and his expansion of the Seal of Good Housekeeping program.

"He (Roxas) did not only continue this, he strengthened and expanded it in order to ensure the agenda of reform can be done quicker and more effectively," Aquino said in 2014.

But while Roxas was not mentioned by Aquino, he was widely hailed by LMP President Mayor Leonardo Javier Jr. 

Javier called Roxas the “big brother” of mayors, and called attention to his availability to help and preparedness for disasters, and his initiative to build new police stations and give new vehicles to local cops through his role as head of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The LMP magazine released during the event also featured a story backing Roxas, entitled, “Municipal mayors: Roxas is a ‘man of integrity, fearless fighter for reforms.’”

The article said “municipal mayors from Mindanao and key officials of the League of Municipalities crossed party lines in declaring support recently for the leadership of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.”

It added, “In what could define Roxas’ qualities for higher leadership, they (mayors) also pointed out his adherence to the ‘rule of law, observing only the highest norms of public service in the interest of the Filipino people.’”

Asked about the polls, Roxas said he would do whatever Aquino decides. 

The LP has yet to announce its presidential candidate for 2016. Roxas, who gave up his candidacy in 2016 to let Aquino run, is suffering from low ratings, with only 4% of Filipinos saying they would vote for Roxas in the latest Pulse Asia survey. –