Roxas: Now is time for candidates to 'tell whole truth' about selves
CEBU, Philippines – On the sidelines of a day-long campaign in Cebu province on Friday, April 8, Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II was asked to react to news that presidential rival Senator Grace Poe's husband, Teodoro Misael Daniel Vera Llamanzares, served in the United States Air Force from 1988 to 1992.
Roxas seemingly backed off from the question at first, telling reporters: "Alam 'nyo, hindi ko gustong mag-komentaryo sa mga bagay na 'yan dahil… sasabihin na tayo nanaman ang nasa likod nitong mga salitang ito o sa mga website na ito."
(You know, I'd rather not comment on that because they're just going to say that I'm behind these things or these websites.)
Last week, a report surfaced online about Llamanzares' service in the US Air Force. Poe would later confirm the report on Thursday, April 7, while dismissing it as a "non-issue." Llamanzares has held two citizenships since birth – Filipino and American.
The senator, one of the front runners in the 2016 presidential race, has been hounded by citizenship issues. Her presidential bid was once in peril because she supposedly failed to meet the requirements to run for president – 10 years of residency and natural-born status – but the Supreme Court allowed her to run.
Poe once acquired US citizenship but later renounced this when President Benigno Aquino III appointed her as chairperson of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
Transparency, FOI bill
Roxas did not speak about Poe's predicament but went on to talk about the importance of transparency, the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, and the need for candidates to tell "the whole truth about ourselves."
"Ngayon ang panahon para ilahad, para sabihin ang buong katotohanan tungkol sa amin, sa aming pagkatao, sa aming background sa buong sambayanan. Lalo na nung nakaraang debate, 'di ba, lahat ng kandidato, nagsasabing susuportahan ang Freedom of Information Act, na siyang ang layon ay para malaman ng buong sambayanan kung ano ang mga katotohanan, kung ano ang datos?" said Roxas
(Now is the time to reveal, to tell the entire country the whole truth about ourselves, our personalities, our backgrounds. Especially in the last debate, didn't all candidates say they support the FOI Act that aims to make sure the entire country knows the truth, what the facts are?)
"Sabihin na ang lahat tungkol sa lahat ng bagay tungkol sa atin para malaman ng mga kababayan natin 'yung ating karanasan, 'yung ating kakayahan, at higit sa lahat, 'yung ating pagkatao. Dahil sa dulo, 'yung pagkatao natin ang kanilang garantiya kung ano ang ikikilos natin sakaling tayo'y palarin na manalo at maging pangulo o pangalawang pangulo," added Roxas.
(We should say everything that needs to be said about ourselves so our countrymen know about our experience, our capabilities, and most importantly, our character. Because in the end, it's our character that will guarantee how we'll govern should we be elected president or vice president.)
Political observers had earlier criticized Poe, a staunch FOI advocate, for keeping the information away from the public eye.
The Llamanzares couple, in a 2013 interview with entertainment website PEP, once mentioned they had lived inside a Washington air base shortly after getting married in 1991.
Asked if the ruling party knew about Llamanzares' service in the US Air Force, Roxas said it was never raised. "Hindi niya nasabi 'yan, at siguro siya ang dapat na magpaliwanag nun," he said.
(She never mentioned it, and maybe she should be the one to explain it.)
After her MTRCB stint, Poe ran and topped the 2013 senatorial elections as a guest candidate of the LP-led "Team PNoy."
Pressed on whether he thought Poe should have disclosed her husband's work history early on, Roxas let out a hearty laugh. "Siguro tanungin niyo na lang 'yan sa mga nag-o-operate sa kanilang kampanya. Para sa akin ay hindi napag-usapan 'yan. Never nasabi ‘yan," he added.
(Maybe you should ask those who run her campaign. As far as I'm concerned, it was never discussed. She never mentioned it.)
Roxas, who ranks third in the latest polls behind Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Poe, then thanked reporters and started to make his way to his vehicle when he suddenly paused and started speaking again.
"Ang maaasahan po ninyo, sakaling ako'y palarin na maging pangulo, 110% ako po'y Pilipino, at buong buhay, lahat ng oras ko, ilalaan ko sa kaunlaran ng mga Pilipino at ng sambayanang Pilipino. Maraming salamat," he added.
(You can expect that should I be fortunate to be elected president, I'm 110% Filipino and all my life, and my time, will be devoted to ensuring the betterment of the Philippines and the Filipino people. Thank you.) – Rappler.com
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