Mar Roxas clings to strong women
THE MOST important individual who publicly declared that Mar Roxas was running for the presidency even before President Aquino announced that he was the administration candidate, was his mother, Judy Araneta Roxas. Last May, she made this known at a dinner hosted by the National Federation of Sugar Cane Planters in Bacolod City. It signaled the start of a campaign to bring back the Roxas brand of public service that began with Mar’s grandfather, Manuel A. Roxas, the first president of the Third Republic, and his father, Gerardo Roxas, the topnotcher in the 1963 senatorial elections.
Judy Roxas is the eldest child of J. Amado and Ester Araneta, of Negros Occidental. She sits as vice chair of the Araneta Group, the umbrella organization that brings together under one roof the key investments and businesses of the Araneta family. For basketball aficionados in particular, the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City, is the most prominent symbol of the family’s affluence and power. For more than half a century, the coliseum has been the site of some of the greatest sporting events held in the country.
Judy Roxas is also chair of the Gerry Roxas Foundation that has provided educational opportunities to more than 50,000 high school graduates from all over the country. In 1987, Pope John Paul II bestowed on her a papal award, one of the highest honors an individual can receive from the Catholic Church. In case you have forgotten, she is one of the survivors of the grenade attack on Liberal Party candidates during a Plaza Miranda rally in August 1971. She continues to be a source of strength for the party that her husband nurtured through many political battles.
* * *
Trinidad de Leon Roxas of San Miguel, Bulacan, was the wife of President Manuel Roxas. She served as first lady from 1946 to 1948, and was succeeded in this position by Victoria Quirino, daughter of President Elpidio Quirino. As I mentioned in an earlier column, my father Modesto Farolan served as press secretary during the early days of the Roxas administration. I recall, vaguely perhaps, some of his anecdotes concerning life in the Palace and I got the impression that Doña Trining was not to be taken lightly. The slightest misbehavior could result in a reprimand at the very least.
* * *
Korina Sanchez Roxas is a prominent broadcast journalist with the ABS-CBN television network. She was born on Oct. 4, 1964, in Hong Kong and completed her studies at St. Theresa’s College Quezon City. In a report by Marlon Ramos in the Inquirer last month, Korina is quoted as saying in jest: “I don’t want to be called ‘first lady.’ I am allergic to that term because it connotes that there is a second, or third, lady.” After years on a number of radio and television programs, Korina has her share of critics and defenders. Some people say the Roxas-Sanchez wedding in 2009 was part of the groundwork for Mar’s presidential run in 2010. The death of Cory Aquino brought about a change of plans, but the goal of capturing Malacañang remained on the horizon.
* * *
For some time, Mar Roxas had been wooing Grace Poe to be his running mate. But after paying obeisance to the Iglesia ni Cristo, Senator Poe proceeded to announce her own candidacy for the presidency. She faces two questions at the Senate Electoral Tribunal: One concerns residency, and the other has to do with citizenship requirements. The residency issue has been thrown out, but the matter of citizenship is still under consideration.
There is another matter about which all of us must be concerned. Should Senator Poe be elected as our next president in 2016, we shall have as first gentleman an American citizen who will be only a pillow away from the levers of power of the presidency. He may not be in line of succession, but as we all know, what is whispered in the bedroom can sometimes be more powerful than the word of Cabinet officials and assorted advisers. We have had Cabinet members with foreign spouses—Carlos P. Romulo and Beth Day, for example—but so far no one among our presidents was married to an alien.
* * *
Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo is the widow of Jesse Robredo, who was interior secretary when he died in an aircraft accident in 2012. She currently represents the third district of Camarines Sur in the House, after defeating the powerful Villafuerte clan that has been lording it over the province for many years.
Two days after Senator Poe formally declared her intention to run for president, Mar Roxas made a formal offer to Leni Robredo to be his running mate. The fact is, she already turned down the idea of running for vice president when it was brought to her attention earlier. A lawyer by profession, she is a lovely lady with great potential for higher office. But this is not the time, and as we all know, timing is everything whether in business or in politics.
Leni Robredo has been given several days to make up her mind. I personally believe she has already reached a decision. Her family is foremost in her thoughts—and how can she possibly leave her province mates so soon after she was chosen to be their representative?
* * *
So what are the other options for Mar Roxas?
My suggestion—unsolicited, of course—is that he go for a running mate who stands for ORDER, a no-nonsense SOB who will provide the muscle and the force to instill discipline among the people. The main task of his partner in government will be to go after the crooks and drug dealers in our communities, the car thieves and human traffickers who prey on our women and children. He will lead the drive to regain our streets from those who have turned them into private parking lots.
Roxas can choose between Rodrigo Duterte and Panfilo Lacson. These two men are feared, but that is precisely the quality needed for the leadership to get people to toe the line. In Singapore, as in Davao City, people enjoy peaceful lives because they are willing to accept the harsh realities that call for certain unconventional methods in exchange for security and progress.
Order and peace in our daily lives—that is what the silent majority yearns for. We have had enough of traditional politicians and their traditional promises.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.