Comic book ‘shameful,’ Binay derides Roxas
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay ridiculed his opponent, Liberal Party standard-bearer Mar Roxas, for depicting himself in a comic book as a hero during the onslaught of the strongest typhoon ever to hit land.
“Nagpagawa pa ng komiks (He came out with a comic book). Oh my God! How shameful. He was a hero in ‘Yolanda’? Oh my God! He was outstanding in his incompetence in trying to become a leader to rehabilitate Tacloban,” Binay said at a campaign rally attended by more than 2,500 people on Wednesday night at the Tacloban Convention Center.
The convention center was the same one that served as an evacuation site after the city was devastated by Supertyphoon Yolanda in November 2013, leaving more than 6,000 people dead and thousands of families displaced.
In his speech, Binay lambasted Roxas and the Aquino administration for mishandling the relief and rehabilitation operations in the aftermath of Yolanda in Tacloban, which was ground zero or the area hardest hit by the typhoon.
Posters bearing Binay’s face and name with the words “Yolanda survivors para kay Binay” were put up all over Tacloban.
When asked about it, Binay said he had no idea where the posters had come from.
“To be honest, I traveled from Ormoc City to Tacloban. I didn’t see the posters. But thank you to whoever put them up,” he said in a news conference originally scheduled for 5 p.m. but which started at 11 p.m. on Wednesday.
Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez, who was at the press conference, described Roxas’ comic book as “very fictional.”
He, however, admitted that he had neither seen nor read the comic book.
“I don’t read comics. But I heard nothing good about it. [To me] it was very fictional, it was not factual. There was no basis,” said Romualdez, who had engaged in a word war with Roxas over national government assistance to his city in the aftermath of Yolanda.
‘Let’s just tell the truth’
“I was here the whole time. Alam mo, pangalawang buhay ko na ito kaya magsabi na lang tayo ng totoo kung ano ang nangyari para sa ganoon marami tayong matututunan (You know, this is my second life so let’s just tell the truth about what really happened so we can learn from it),” Romualdez said.
Tacloban Vice Mayor Jerry Yaokasin had earlier come to Roxas’ defense, saying the magnitude of the disaster made it a no-win situation for Roxas who was in Tacloban before, during and after the supertyphoon struck.
“Whatever we say now will be prone to misinterpretation because it is the campaign period, Yaokasin said.
“But I stand by [my statement] that Secretary Mar and the national government did their best and all they could during the catastrophe, he added.
In the comic book titled “Sa Gitna ng Unos (In the Middle of the Storm),” Roxas was portrayed as a hero who led people to a safe place while the ceiling of a building was about to collapse.
Apparently, this was in reference to the Leyte Park Hotel where Roxas stayed with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin while they were in Tacloban to monitor the arrival of Yolanda.