Former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas.
Former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas.

TACLOBAN CITY- Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas’ may face an uphill battle in courting voters from Eastern Visayas due to his alleged below par help to the survivors of the region.

But everything is not all lost to him. Thus said Bishop Oscar Florencio, auxiliary bishop of Cebu’s archdiocese who was once the head of relief and rehabilitation unit of the Archdiocese of Palo in Leyte.

Florencio said that while the “wounds” among Yolanda’s survivors remain “fresh,” President Aquino’s bet to succeed him has still time to redeem himself.

“I think Mar’s role during the Yolanda event could have some impact (on his presidential ambition). And somewhere along the way, there was a mistake (on his part).That “alright, I had shortchanged you. I could have done better,”” Florencio said.

“You know, we commit mistakes,” the bishop added. “2016 is just next year. The wounds as a result of his statement are still fresh. This could not be forgotten easily,” he said.

Roxas, anointed by Pres. Aquino as his possible successor, became a controversial figure during the Yolanda episode.

He figured in a confrontation with Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez and reportedly uttered “you’re a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino,” playing on the decades-long political rivalry of the two families.
He also reportedly asked the city mayor to resign from his post.

Romualdez is a nephew of former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, wife of dictator Ferdinand Marcos, accused by the President’s family to be behind the murder of senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino.

Bishop Florencio also said that it is not everything’s lost for Roxas for him to attract voters in the region which has more than 2.4 million voters.

Florencio also said that he “subscribes” to the observation of the United Nations rapporteur

that the rehabilitation being undertaken by the government was “inadequate.”

“I subscribe to that. I would like to believe the rehabilitation work has not reached its peak. This I would mean that we have yet to fully return to our normal life,” he said.

And one of the manifestations of this, he said, is the thousands of families still living in bunkhouses and temporary shelters.