Mayor Romualdez says Roxas’ comics ‘fiction’
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Mayor Alfred Romualdez on Wednesday scored Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas over his comics depicting him as a hero during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda.
In a press conference late Wednesday night with Vice President Jejomar Binay, Romualdez, who earlier got embroiled in a spat with Roxas, said the comics was “fiction.”
Romualdez criticized the comics while admitting that he never read it.
“Unfortunately, hindi rin ho ako nagbabasa ng comics. But masasabi ko lang, I’ve heard many things about it and up to now nothing good about it. It is very fictional,” Romualdez said in the briefing with his wife Cristina.
“It’s very fictional. It’s not factual… There’s no basis,” he said.
Romualdez and his wife were themselves victims of Yolanda because they were in Leyte when the storm struck, destroying their house.
In the comics titled “Sa Gitna ng Unos,” Roxas, who was then an Interior Secretary, was portrayed as a hero when he facilitated relief operations in Leyte in the onslaught of Yolanda, the monster typhoon that killed over 6,000 people, mostly in Tacloban, when it struck Central Philippines on Nov. 2013.
Tacloban is the most severe-hit in Leyte, after storm surges flattened houses and drowned everyone in its wake.
While saying the comics was not approved by his camp, Roxas fended off criticisms, even saying the scenes portraying him as a hero were accurate.
The comics became an online ridicule on Roxas, who was criticized for the slow government response in the aftermath of Yolanda.
Romualdez and Roxas got into a spat after Yolanda when in a meeting, Roxas supposedly told Romualdez: “You’re a Romualdez, and the President is an Aquino.”
Roxas made this statement when Romualdez refused to cede the control over Tacloban to the national government.
A spliced video taking Roxas out of context circulated online supposedly from the camp of Romualdez.
Roxas defended that he only reminded Romualdez of the latter’s family’s bitter history with that of Pres. Benigno Aquino III to avoid the relief operations from being politicized.
Roxas’ complete statement was: “You have to understand you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino. He has to be very careful. The national government, we have to be very careful just taking over because the President does not want to be misconstrued na nang-aagaw ng kapangyarihan (as usurping power).”
Romualdez is the nephew of Ilocos Norte Rep. and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, the wife of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The Aquinos and Marcoses have been political rivals because of their shared history during Martial law.
Aquino’s father, the opposition senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was assassinated during the brutal Marcos regime. His mother Cory Aquino was swept to the presidency after a people power uprising toppled the dictatorship.
Romualdez urged the campaign handlers and supporters to refrain from using the plight of Yolanda victims for political ends just to make a candidate win.
“Ang masasabi ko lalo na sa mga handlers ng mga kandidato na mag-dahan dahan naman dahil I do not want people in Eastern Visayas, and especially in Tacloban, to relive that horrible experience again and bringing out the issues that are uncalled for,” Romualdez said.
“Please, especially people who were not here, and for the sake of having your candidate win, to come up with stories like that, maraming nasasaktan dyan. Huwag naman sana po,” he added.
Romualdez said the more important issue at hand is to institutionalize the lessons learned in Yolanda, and share the experience to the rest of the world.
“What is important pagkatapos ng Yolanda is that we institutionalize our learnings… The learnings are what we should really brag about, and which we should spread to the world, para bigyan naman natin ng kahulugan yung mga namatay nung bagyong yun,” he said.
During his campaign rally at the Tacloban Astrodome before the press conference, Binay described the comics as “shameful,” and chided Roxas for claiming to be a hero when he was criticized for the slow government response.
“Ang yabang-yabang nito, sabagay e ngayon ho nagpagawa pa ng comics. My God! How shameful it is,” Binay said, rousing an applause from the audience.
“Nakow! Bayani siya, he was a hero in Yolanda, oh my God! I think he was an outstanding in his incompetence in trying…to rehabilitate … the people of Tacloban,” Binay added.
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