Atienza: Roxas should seek forgiveness for remarks on video
MANILA, Philippines—Buhay Representative Lito Atienza said Wednesday that if he were in the shoes of Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, he would admit his mistake for making controversial remarks during a meeting with Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez.
Hopefully, he said, the admission would put an end to the issue.
“Kung ako si Secretary Mar Roxas, sabihin ko na lang ‘pasensya na kayo . . . pagkakamali yun.” [Edi] Tapos na ’di ba? Pero pag idepensa mo pa, eh palagay ko lalong sumasama (If I were Secretary Mar Roxas, I would ask for forgiveness. The more you justify your actions, the more it creates complications),” said Buhay Representative Lito Atienza.
Atienza was asked to comment on a video that has gone viral in which Roxas can be heard saying, “You have to understand. You are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino. So we just want to legalize . . . If it’s not legalized, well OK. You are in charge. We can’t help you. Bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo.”
Being a former mayor himself, Atienza said that while local government units should always be in the forefront of every movement, especially when there is a disaster—in this case, Supertyphoon Yolanda—the response of the national government should be “automatic.”
In a joint hearing attended by Romualdez, he said: “I don’t see anywhere in the law that you need a letter . . . an ordinance from me for you [national government] to come in.” Atienza shared the same thought.
“Ngayon lang ako nakarinig ng ganyang attitude towards calamity handling. Pag may calamity . . . aba hindi pwedeng sabihin na “hoy, sumulat ka muna sa’kin bago ako tutulong sa’yo . . . parang nakakahiyang marinig na nanggagaling sa isang mataas na opisyal,” he said.
(This is the first time I heard that kind of attitude towards calamity handling. When there’s calamity, you can’t argue about formalities like ‘write a letter to me first before I help you.’ . . . it’s shameful to hear that from a ranking government official.)
Atienza said it was a “heartless” move as Romualdez could not do the job alone.
Furthermore, assisting local government units, Atienza said, is part of the duty of an Interior secretary.
“In the midst of calamity, politics has no place whatsoever. Yung pulitiko na nalalagay ng pangalan nya sa mga relief doon masama na ang itsura. Yun pang . . . ganyang klaseng salita?” Atienza said.
(In the midst of calamity, politics has no place whatsoever. That when you label your name on relief packages you send to calamity victims would look bad, what more if you utter those unkind words?”
For the full interview, listen to the attached audio clip from Inquirer Radio 990AM.
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