AFTER all the videos of his meeting with Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez (short, edited version, 43 minute version and whatever else ), after his two press conferences clearing the air, putting in context the statements he made on the video about the mayor being a Romualdez and the president being an Aquino and after running through a long list of all the tons of assistance, aid, relief and man hours he had poured on the Leyte city despite what he called an unsigned letter from the city government, Manuel Roxas II, secretary for the interior and local governments department, said he sympathized with mayor Romualdez because, after what the latter had been through he most likely suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and this may be confused about details, facts and timelines.
Until, of course, his next interview where he followed up the point with a TV interview where he says that if he bumps into Romualdez he would say “Tatanungin ko siya, nagpa-stress debrief ka na ba? Baka tumino, luminaw and paningin mo.” (I will ask him, have you undergone stress debriefing? Perhaps your view will straighten up, become clearer.)
What this simple transcript does not show is his laugh – some sarcastic guffaw – and his facial expression captured clearly in this following video.
Ateneo School of Government dean Tony La Viña pointed out in facebook that I used “harsh words” in my last blog on Mar which he did not agree with, but did confirm the point that there was no need for the SILG’s insistence for a legal cover for the national government to act:
I do think its really important to say, for purposes of the future because this will surely repeat itself, that there was absolutely no need for an ordinance or permission by the national government to come in to Tacloban. In massive disasters and in all emergency situations where the national government is needed, there is no need to wait for the local government to invite the former to come in and respond. The powers of the national government and the LGUs are not contradictory or in conflict and actually complement each other. That is my reading of the constitution, local government code, and the DRRM Act – all of which I teach year in and out. In fact I dare say that a resolution or an ordinance doing that (yielding power to the executive branch) is not only unnecessary but it is downright illegal and unconstitutional. Only the Congress can provide for this and it has to by law. And if in fact the crisis manual of the national government provided this, they better change it. Otherwise, Tacloban will happen again.
For the life of me I still cannot see my words as “harsh,” but if they were then I guess I must apologize to anybody who was offended by my choice of words, whatever they may be. However, it does not change the way I view the whole situation and of Mar Roxas’ actions.
At this point it has nothing to do with his intelligence or competence. It has everything to do with leadership – true leadership, servant leadership, humility, sensitivity, sympathy, empathy… the works. That’s why, when Mar Roxas’ own people coined that phrase “Mar Stupid” I said it goes way beyond that because it calls for character and values that he has not displayed at all. At least, not in those videos with mayor Romualdez. Ceratinly, many others have pointed out more similar circumstances.
Amid my own processes in studying and digesting this I was touched by a message by Peter Tan-chi, senior pastor of Christ Commission fellowship. He had pointed out in a Facebook post that if there is any Bible verse so powerful and easy to remember it is in the book of John, chapter 11, verse 35 (Jn 11:35): “Jesus wept.”
This verse is within the story of Jesus raising his dear friend Lazarus from the grave. What is really compelling in this story is how it led from Lazarus’s sickness and passing and burial before Jesus up and went to his friend’s grave and called him out.
Imagine, Lazarus was ill, his sisters Mary and Martha went to Jesus to heal their brother. He wasn’t far away, yet he told them to just wait, have faith and trust. Next the sisters went to Jesus because their brother was dying and basically he said the same thing. Then he died and still Jesus didn’t go, not until the fourth day when Lazarus was already dead and buried.
When Jesus finally came it was like Winnie Monsod’s “would have, should have, could have.” Jesus could have just signalled and Lazarus would have come flying out of the tomb, alive and well. He is, after all the Son of God… all powerful, all mighty God.
But no, Jesus wept. He felt their pain, and he felt their loss. He shared their love for their brother, his friend. He reminded them of who he was and what he could do, but he did not castigate them for their waning, faltering faith. And in all power and majesty of the Lord, Jesus then raised Lazarus from the dead.