The real Mar Roxas: a kind, intelligent, earnest man
We have been snookered by the tabloids once again. The sensationalist rags have relentlessly portrayed Mar Roxas as a goof, a man directing traffic in the rain or hauling bags of rice for the camera or doing a nose dive into the mud from a motorbike. A man totally out of the loop on the planning of a police operation in Mamasapano.
We fell for it. We were the gullible in a land of manipulators. We were fools for the skilled and self-serving game-players at the editorial desks of the nation’s tabloid newspapers. And for the talking heads preening before the cameras snickering their private jokes that we commoners can’t get. Peacocks in Armani suits.
Ha, yes. And a bejeweled lady not exactly dressed in a rice sack.
The 67 deaths at the Battle of Mamasapano were tragic. Well, one was not. His was worth celebrating. But any war waged over misunderstandings is tragic. The aftermath has been horrible, the nation losing its collective cool in an apoplectic moment that threatened to unseat its honest, productive President.
President Aquino made a mistake by not meeting the coffins and the raging population would not forgive him. The Pope’s message of mercy and compassion dissolved in an angry blaze of righteous indignation.
This led to efforts to try to nail the President personally for the outcome of the terrorist raid. The rats in the Philippine pantry pounced upon the wounded presidential prey. Lunatic leftists and political priests demanded his resignation, crooks and opponents revived impeachment talks, ancient generals ran around looking for coup partners, and Vice President Binay started moralizing as if people actually wanted to hear what he had to say.
Binay to Chief Purisima: “Why resign if you are innocent?”
That’s like Beelzebub counseling a mischievous imp.
“Why not show up at the Senate if you are innocent?” the people roared back at Binay.
Then, a few days after the memorial ceremony for 44 of the dead 67, after the President’s third speech about the incident, calm started to settle back over the nation. Well, sure, the tabloids continued to paint their sharp and angry pictures, leaping on the complaints of those grieving, manipulating them into into headlines to build their circulation. The tabloid rags of the Philippines know no tenderness, for sure. No patriotism, either, from all that I can tell.
They will thrust their dirt on anybody for an additional thousand rags peddled. They will undermine anybody if it provides a good headline.
Well, this time, it didn’t work. The tabloid Inquirer tried dumping one family’s grief onto Roxas, a masterful guilt trip that would have worked except that people knew that Roxas had been genuinely sympathetic where the President had failed. We had seen, over the course of several days, pictures of the Secretary giving the kind of genuine, touching care to the grieving that President Aquino has never learned to master.
It was a wake-up call for this blogger. It cut through all that manipulative tabloid crap like enlightenment blazes through ignorance.
Secretary Roxas is a genuine man, of the Filipino kind. Big of heart, generous of spirit, sincere in his humanity. He is for sure truer to the Filipino ideal than that guy Binay who pretends to be one of the poor while going home to plot new ways to steal taxpayer money and build estates with air conditioned piggeries.
Mar Roxas is a rich guy in a genuine man’s predicament: how not to be seen as pompous or privileged or arrogant or a lackey of President Aquino.
I think he has finally figured it out.
“Hey Mar, just be yourself.”
Mar Roxas can get mad. He can do that. He is honest enough to do that.
Do you know a Filipino who can’t?
Mar Roxas has delicadeza. He stepped down from a presidential run so as not to hurt Noynoy Aquino’s better chance. Do you know a Filipino who does not appreciate that kind of personal grace?
Mar Roxas has kindness for the suffering. Do you know of any Filipino who would deny help to someone in need, if they had the ability to provide?
Filipinos are outrageously generous. They are generous with their labors around the world, their adaptability, their food at fiestas, their kindness toward guests. That was Mr. Aquino’s mistake. He was not generous on a day that demanded it.
Mar Roxas can give, and has been giving his entire time in office. On the day the nation ridiculed him for falling on a motorbike, he was single-mindedly determined to get to the heart of where the storm had hit, road or no road. He got there. He did not brag or strut or hand out rice bags with his name on them. He started working to get real help into the community.
You know what?
Maybe we should stop playing the fool for the tabloids.
Maybe we should stop ridiculing those who are kind.
And earnest at doing good works for the Philippines.
Maybe we should start looking at Mar Roxas as a genuine Filipino, the real deal.
Addendum 8/1/2015: A short testimony that means more than anything I could write. JoeAm