TODAY I learned a new term: “Mar Stupid.”
It was used – in all caps – by one of his rabid supporters to describe Secretary of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas’ act of firing the Tacloban police chief for not accounting for his missing policemen about a week after Yolanda devastated the city and subsequently getting angry at these cops for not reporting for duty, despite knowing that they were either dead or searching for missing family or putting their lives back on track.
The guy was defending Roxas against the negative publicity generated by the statements of Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez before Congress, who in so many words accused Roxas of injecting a political agenda into the crisis situation and insinuating that help was held back because of their political differences with the President.
Okay, Romualdez claimed that Roxas said: “You have to remember, we have to be very careful because you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino.”
So the Roxas supporter answered me in the Facebook post that while the Leyte police incident was “Mar Stupid,” the statement of the SILG was not “Mar Stupid.” He kept repeating the term in all caps that I thought it was political jargon they use in the inner sanctum of the SILG’s communications operations… and by the looks of the people who used it goes way back to his Vice Presidential campaign days and his Senate campaign days.
I guess it has to have some history to it for it to become official jargon.
In any case, the guy deleted his comment, probably realizing that Christmas bonus is just around the corner.
But it’s just as well because a few moments later Roxas went on a rampage with his own press conference, calling Romualdez a liar.
That, of course, was turned around almost immediately after when a YouTube video went viral showing Roxas – Romualdez meeting showing what Romualdez said Roxas said. It is an 18 second clip posed by one Jose Mari Gonzalez, which, if it is indeed that guy, is supposed to be the father-in-law of Romualdez.
Roxas’ spinmasters then countered that it was an edited video cut and polished to make Roxas look bad, that the full video will reveal what really happened.
True enough, the full video of the meeting soon surfaced in YouTube and Facebook, unenhanced audio and all 42 minutes and 55 seconds long.
And here I must say, I had to suffer through 42 minutes and 55 seconds of Roxas officiously sermonizing to Romualdez about legal propriety and political and image cover for President Benigno S. Aquino III.
Roxas’ message was: You failed as Tacloban’s chief executive from the start, now sign a document to turn over the whole city and your constitutional authority for us to use or you and your city will be left to fend for yourself. “Kung ayaw ninyo, bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo…” Classic Roxas.
To my mind, Roxas’ message should have been: Mr. Mayor, what do you need to resurrect your government, feed your people, clean up the dead bodies littering the streets, restore peace and order…?
It seems that Roxas forgot that Romualdez is the duly elected and constitutionally mandated official of the city. Roxas is just an appointed government official.
It just keeps bringing me back to the time when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey in October 2012. President Barack Obama immediately called Republican NJ governor Chris Christie – his political foe with whom many heated words were exchanged in the past – and simply asked: “What do you need?” Next thing, Obama flew to NJ and followed up on Christie. Even the NJ governor acknowledged the president’s magnanimity. According to one news report: “The storm, which hit the United States one week before its general election, affected the presidential campaign as well as local and state campaigns in storm-damaged areas. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, one of Mitt Romney’s leading supporters, praised President Barack Obama and his reaction to the hurricane and toured storm-damaged areas of his state with the president.”
Fast forward to 2013, SILG Mar Roxas in his media blitz further said that his sympathies go to Romualdez who may be suffering from post traumatic stress syndrome thus getting his facts, details and timelines all mixed up. Yet in the same breath he calls Romualdez a liar, asserts that the mayor twists facts around to suit his political agenda and tells media again that Romualdez has PTSD and lets out a hearty laugh – humahalakhak to be exact.
Maybe Roxas’ media operator is right: this goes beyond “Mar Stupid.” Way, way, way, way beyond.
POSTSCRIPT: I can just see the Roxas media machinery — operators, paid hacks and internet and social media trolls — coming together to label me a Romualdez lover. I would like to state here and now that I am not. In fact, I’ve been a critic of how they’ve run Tacloban and Leyte even during the time of the dicatator. So, no, your stupidity will not infect me.