Aquino’s marching order to Roxas: Reach out to all local execs, friend or foeBy Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
RUSSKIY ISLAND, Vladivostok – President Benigno Aquino III said on Sunday that reaching out to all local government officials, whether members or rivals of the ruling Liberal Party ally, would be the biggest challenge of incoming Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
In a briefing Saturday night, the President said: “We had a heart-to-heart talk. Obviously, the most difficult to talk to are the mayors who are very popular in their areas. I told him you will be forced to meet a lot of mayors.”
The President told Roxas, the LP president, that he was on top of his list of nominees to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on August 19 or a day after the former DILG Chief Jesse Robredo’s airplane crashed off Masbate.
“I didn’t ask him (Roxas) if he wanted it (DILG). I asked him to think very hard if he will accept it,” said the President. “He did not answer immediately. (He answered yes) probably not less than five days after.
The President was forced to confirm Roxas’ appointment as DILG Chief on August 31 a day after LP members in Congress leaked the news out . In his Twitter account on August 30, Roxas claimed: “Aaminin ko nabigla ako. ((I have to admit I was surprised). Anyway nandito na tayo (we’re already here). Big tsinelas to fill (Big slippers to fill). Will give it my all.”
The President said: “When he agreed to accept it, he told me about his considerations. He told me his patience would be tested to the limit but he committed to pour all of his patience in his job. But he also stated that it would not be the same as the patience shown by Jesse Robredo.”
During his stint, Robredo has been credited for expanding the LP’s presence among governors, mayors and councilors with his “tsinelas” brand of politics (slippers being a symbol of casual, accessible persona to Filipinos), where he made it a point to pay a visit to LGU officials in their own towns or municipalities wearing jeans and flip-flops
Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo, a son of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, paid homage to Robredo’s mass appeal with his tweets — “It was never politics for Sec Robredo. Despite being on different sides politically, he’d always talk to me and help me out when he could” and “I remember when we got a place in Naga in ’04, then-Mayor Robredo even dropped by and had dinner with me and my wife. Kwentuhan lang kami (We just talked)”.
The President reckoned that Roxas would do the job because he was immersed in politics. “He’s a politician anyway and he will talk to fellow politicians. In my opinion, he is one of the most competent persons in office or to be appointed in office. It would be foolish of me to put a person there who cannot do his job and add more to the burden I have to carry,” said the President.
Tags: Benigno Aquino III , Department of Interior and Local governments , government appointments , Liberal Party , Local authorities , Local Governments , Mar Roxas , News , Philippine Government , Politics , Presidency