“Ma’am” Janet Napoles.
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas’ courteous reference to Napoles has caused a stir among netizens bitter about what they see as the special treatment Malacañang is giving to the alleged mastermind of the P10-billion pork barrel scam.
A video of Roxas’ interview with reporters has been shared on Facebook, drawing both angry comments and sympathetic reactions.
In the video, Roxas initially addresses Napoles as “ma’am,” but quickly changes the reference to “miss.”
“The lawyer of Ma’am, Miss, Janet Napoles, attorney Lorna Kapunan, sent a message to the Office of the President through Secretary Edwin Lacierda,” Roxas told reporters.
One Dale Gutierrez posted a copy of the video with the title, “Slip of the Tongue.” It had 395 “likes” as of Saturday afternoon.
“Goosebumps all over me; his subconscious gave him away,” he wrote, noting that the “sudden shift” in reference to Napoles was “unnecessary and can lead to a malicious conclusion.”
Another Facebook user commented, “It’s not really the people who are the boss of Malacañang, but Ma’am Janet!”
But others refused to read too much into Roxas’ reference to Napoles, explaining that addressing Napoles as “ma’am” was common courtesy.
“Roxas was bred to be a respectful person, regardless of whether he’s addressing an enemy or a friend,” wrote Bing Abrian Resurreccion.
Another Facebook user defended Roxas, saying, “There are so many conspiracy theorists and armchair generals!”
Malacañang has repeatedly denied extending special treatment to Napoles after President Aquino received the fugitive in the Malacañang, accepted her surrender and accompanied her to Camp Crame for booking.
Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco on Saturday said presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda had no business fetching Napoles and taking her to the Palace.
“He said he asked permission from the President, but take note that it was the court—not the President—who had ordered her arrest. Did he also ask permission from the judge?” Tiangco asked.
Tiangco said Lacierda should be held liable for “harboring a criminal” from the time he met with Napoles until she was brought before the President in Malacañang.