Mar Roxas, the misunderstood?
Mar Roxas, the misunderstood?
'Being born rich doesn’t mean you’re only for the rich. It’s not his fault he was born with a golden spoon in his mouth,' says Manila Vice Mayor Isko Moreno in Filipino of DILG Secretary Mar Roxas
MANILA, Philippines – What was supposed to be a simple ceremony between the Interior and Local Government and the city of Manila Thursday, December 18, turned into a “praise session” of sorts for Liberal Party stalwart and presumed 2016 presidential bet Manuel Roxas II.

In a city dominated by politicians affiliated with the opposition, Roxas was at the receiving end of compliments – from no other than former-president-turned-Manila-Mayor Erap Estrada and his Vice Mayor, Isko Moreno.

Speaking before a crowd of informal settler families (ISF) from Baseco, Moreno said Roxas is often misunderstood and under-appreciated. (READ: How do you solve a problem like Mar Roxas?)

Ito pong taong ito minsan hindi natin siya maunawaan, hindi natin siya ma-appreciate, dala nang siguro hindi natin siya kabaro. Hindi naman ho kasalanan na yung isang tao, kapag pinanganak na mayaman ay pang-mayaman na lang. Hindi naman niya kasalanan na siya ay pinanganak na may gintong kutsara sa bibig. Eh tayo puro nganga, puro am ang tinitira natin,” said Moreno, introducing Roxas to the crowd.

(Sometimes we misunderstand him, we don’t appreciate him. Maybe it’s because he’s not like us. But it’s not wrong to be rich. Being born rich doesn’t mean you’re only for the rich. It’s not his fault he was born with a golden spoon in his mouth, while we were left with nothing but rice water.)

Some P100 million from the national government will be turned over to the city of Manila to fund housing projects for ISFs.


In a 5-minute introduction which teetered between a glowing endorsement and a deprecating speech, Moreno spoke of Roxas’ privileged roots – a Wharton education, a lucrative job in New York – and his eventual return to the country.

Until the end, most of the reporters present weren’t sure if Moreno was criticizing or praising the DILG chief. 

Estrada, who appointed Roxas Department of Trade and Industry Secretary during his presidency, credited the LP stalwart for jumpstarting the country’s business processing outsourcing (BPO) industry, echoing President Benigo Aquino III’s statements.

The Manila mayor and political powerhouse in recent months has had kind words for Roxas, even defending him from allegations he was behind a plot to sabotage the 2016 dreams of Estrada’s ally, Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Binay still leads in latest presidential preference surveys. Roxas is currently a far 6th.

Again touching on Roxas’ perceived inability to connect with the masses, Moreno said: “Bihira po iyon ha, yung kinukuha ka paulit-ulit ng iba’t ibang pangulo. Ibig sabihin, may angkin kang galing.” (It’s rare that you’re appointed Cabinet secretary again and again by different presidents. But that only means you’re really good.)

Maaaring kulang siya ng… kami ni Pangulong Erap medyo masang-masa. Maaaring hindi siya ganoon. But what is important, if you go back to records, ano ba ang performance? (He may lack in… President Erap and I are part of the masses. Roxas might not be like that. But what is important, if you go back to the records is one’s performance).”

Both Estrada and Moreno, however, brushed off speculation that their praises were political in nature.

Alam naman niyang may kanya-kanyang partido kami (Roxas knows we’re from different parties),” said the Manila mayor when asked if he was willing to “help” Roxas come 2016.

But without missing a beat, Estrada added: “Depende yan (But it depends).” – Bea Cupin/

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.