Mar Roxas: I don’t pay attention to surveys

Ayee Macaraig
'I am focused on work and I do not pay things like these,' says Roxas, who got a 6% rating in a presidential preference poll against Jejomar Binay's 40%
WORK'S FOCUS. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas says his focus is on work, not surveys for the 2016 elections. Photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Interior Secretary Mar Roxas is trailing behind in a presidential survey, but the potential administration bet said he is more focused on online subpoenas than election polls.

Roxas dismissed a Pulse Asia survey showing him ranking 5th among possible presidential candidates for 2016 with a 6% rating – a far cry from frontrunner Vice President Jejomar Binay’s rating of of 40%.

The reported standard bearer of the ruling Liberal Party (LP) said he is more concerned about his work than his popularity for the election. He referred to the launch the so-called e-subpoena, a system that allows subpoenas to policemen be sent online.

Nakatutok naman tayo sa ating trabaho at hindi ko naman pinapansin at binibigyang pansin itong mga bagay na ito. Nakatutok tayo dito tulad ng nakita natin dito sa e-subpoena, kung saan nakita natin na naging mabilis ang pagsasagawa ng hustisya sa ating bansa,” Roxas told reporters in Camp Crame, Quezon City on Wednesday, April 30.

(We are focused on our work and I do not pay attention and give attention to these kinds of things. We are focused on things like this e-subpoena, where we see that carrying out justice in our country becomes faster.)

Asked if the survey results affected him, Roxas said, “Nasa trabaho tayo ngayon.” (Our mind is focused on work.)

Roxas was responding to the survey reported by Rappler that showed Binay ahead among possible presidential bets if elections were held today. Binay was followed by Senator Grace Poe with 15%, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago with 10%, Senator Francis Escudero with 9%, Roxas, and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr with 5%.

Binay camp: They’ll attack us more

United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general Toby Tiangco said the Binay camp is not complacent despite the Vice President’s huge lead.

“Even if we have 40%, the challenge for us is to improve. There is still room for improvement and we can go 50% or 60%. The Vice President will work harder in the responsibilities given to him because the only way [to win] is to perform your job well. In the end, it’s performance,” Tiangco told Rappler in a phone interview.

Asked about Roxas’ numbers, the Navotas representative said UNA does not focus on the ratings of Binay’s rivals.

“I have been consistent in saying that more important for us than the lead or the number of our opponents is the performance of official functions. That is always the basis. If you want a promotion – in this case from vice president to president – you have to prove you are capable in your current job so we concentrate on the tasks of the Vice President: housing, overseas Filipino workers,” Tiangco said.

Binay is the chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, and the presidential adviser on OFW concerns.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV of the Nacionalista Party (NP) said his party is not daunted by Binay’s lead.

The NP has yet to name a standard bearer, but its secretary general, Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano, already announced his ambitions. Cayetano ranked 7th in the survey with 4%. Trillanes is reportedly eyeing the vice presidency.

“Historically, back in 2002, the late Senator Raul Roco had similar figures. It was the same in 2008, [former vice president] Noli de Castro was ahead with those figures. At this point in time, there are just top-of-mind choices of the public, but once they see the alternatives, look over their credentials, programs, they will see who deserves to be president,” said Trillanes.

In response, Tiangco said Trillanes’ statement only indicated one message.

Sa simpleng salita, ‘Hahanapan namin kayo, gagawan namin kayo, ng isyu.’ We will just have to prepare ourselves for more vicious attacks. How will they bring our numbers down? They will attack us more. Mark my word.” (In other words, he is saying ‘We will find an issue to attack you with.)

Binay has repeatedly warned against supposed black propaganda against him, like the revival of graft cases against him and his wife when they were mayors of Makati. (READ: Binay on 2016: Cannons ready to be fired)

Grace: I haven’t proven myself

In the vice presidential poll, Senator Poe also ranked highest with 24%.

Still, the neophyte senator stuck to her position that she is not yet ready for higher office.

“It is a tremendous honor to have the trust and confidence of our countrymen. But as I’ve mentioned, I consider it as a great privilege to be chosen to serve in the Senate and I feel I have yet to prove myself worthy of the mandate entrusted to me before I can aspire for higher office. Our countrymen deserve no less,” Poe said in a text message.

After Poe, Escudero ranked second in the vice presidential list with 20%, followed by Roxas with 8%, Trillanes with 7%, and Cayetano with 6%.

Trillanes took his ranking in stride. He said he would decide on his 2016 plans by the end of the year.

“That’s a welcome development. Alam nating mahina tayo. You know your place in the sun. Alam mo kung kailangan mo pang magsumikap at gumawa pa ng maraming kabutihan para ma-recognize ng tao. Reality check iyon eh. Tuloy lang kung ano ang kailangang gawin,” he added.

(We know we are weak. You know that you need to strive harder and do more good for people to recognize you. It’s a reality check. We just continue what we need to do.)

'NATIONAL RECONCILIATION.' This is how Senator Loren Legarda describes the photo she snapped of the two bitter rivals. Photo by Senator Loren Legarda

Trillanes and Roxas also commented on the photo of the Interior Secretary with Binay showing them shaking hands and smiling while waiting for US President Barack Obama on Tuesday. Senator Loren Legarda snapped the photo after asking the two to pose together. 

Trillanes, who was also present in the event, said the gesture seemed natural and the two did not look awkward. 

Totoo naman. Basta nakita ko walang hesitation, so probably sanay na sila sa ganyan,” Trillanes said. (It seemed natural. I didn’t see any hesitation, so probably they are used to those things.) 

Roxas said it was no big deal. 

Well, magkasama kami sa Gabinete. Nagkataon na sabay kami doon na sa departure ni President Obama. So, Senator Loren was there at sinabi niya, ‘O kukunan ko kayo, kokodakan ko kayo.’ Kami naman ay okay naman sa amin na magpa-kodak.”

(We are together in the Cabinet. It so happened we were together in the departure of President Obama. So Senator Loren was there and she said, “Oh, I will take your photo.” We agreed to have our photo taken.) – with a report from Bea Cupin/