Mar Roxas’ Veni Vidi Vici Vs Grace Poe’s Cinderella Story

LET ME just zero in on two presidential candidates, not because they’re my favorite subjects but because their campaign approaches and communications efforts thus far are such polar opposites. These are Mar Roxas and Grace Poe. Roxas’ messaging attempts to use the Daang Matuwid platform of President Benigno S. Aquino III and the Liberal Party. He has no choice. He has to. To deny its successes and highlight its failure would be admitting that he himself has failed us in these past five years and thus would make a lousy president, given the chance.

Mar and Grace, a study in contrasting images. Photo from

Mar and Grace, a study in contrasting images. Photo from

So being stuck with that Roxas tries to work on two weaknesses: his connection with the masses and the justification of his idea of governance. First, Roxas tries to constantly communicate in Pilipino. He sounds pretty good at it. He also tried hard at being in places and sending out images of being one with ordinary folk with photos of  doing menial jobs and trading pleasantries with kids.

In his latest ads he tries to appeal to the public that government’s job is to ensure that everybody is in a level playing field, that governance is about making sure that whatever your status in life your chances for survival or even success in life is equal to the guy next to you.

Unfortunately, Roxas lacks one very important ingredient in his effort: empathy. This is the “ability to understand and share the feelings of another,” according to most dictionaries. This has been his problem all his life, having led a life of privilege not only as a rich kid, but a kid who grew up from a family whose roots as encomienderos (those given by the King of Spain the rights to claim and exploit large tracts of land in the islands in exchange for his share or their tributes) for centuries. They always had to have political cover as part of their family survival equation, and have been conditioned that they are entitled to this thing called “public service”. The cacique in them has been passed down through generations. They know no other way to live.

This is very apparent in Roxas’ action and attitude towards the Yolanda/ Hayian disaster. Yes, indeed he was there before, while and after the storm struck. And he reminds us of this in his campaign, that he was there, suffering through it all.

But rather than cutting an emphatic figure Roxas stood on top of the heap of storm surge debris and dead bodies like a conquering hero. In that first CNN interview with Andrew Stevens he argued with the newsman’s observation on dead bodies littering the streets. Roxas pointedly told him that he was wrong, that the dead bodies were different dead bodies, much to Stevens’ dismay and the people who were on the ground with the same observation.

In a subsequent interview with TV5, he insisted that the Leyte police officers should be taken to task for their absence from duty even as it was so obvious – and the news reports bear it – that these policemen themselves were victims of the devastation: searching for lost family members; physically, mentally, and spiritually drained.

What would Mar have lost if he humbled himself and admitted to the damage that the storm brought, that what hit them was so overwhelming that quick action was next to impossible, that he was himself tired and depressed? Nothing, really. In fact, he would have gained a lot of respect and even help.

But no. For Mar Roxas it was an opportunity for veni, vidi, vici.

And in his current campaign it’s still the same. He presents himself as the savior of the masses who knows better than anybody else how to do it, even as the net effects of the past five years of Daang Matuwid which he is very much a part of flogs the ordinary citizenry every minute.

In contrast, Grace Poe’s new ads and communications efforts are gaining attention. The country needs fixing, she says.

And everyone cannot help but agree. At its shallowest, Grace Poe’s campaign is the Cinderella story, bullied by the ones in power but later redeemed and triumphant, every bit appealing to the aspirations of the masses.

Poe’s communications speaks directly to what people want and what they need, not with authority but as one of the people who feeds on the hope that they will be led to the Promised Land. Yes, she has also lived a rich and privileged life. But not as a haciendero from a long line of hacienderos, but as a product of a family who worked hard at their craft and made it big.

And the more Roxas or any other candidate hits at Poe for whatever reason, the more her campaign grows. Nobody wants a bully, and certainly sympathy grows for the underdog, if not empathy.

I don’t know who will emerge victorious, but I see this pattern emerging as clear as day. But who knows? If Rody Duterte finally decides to run as President we’ll see a whole new show.

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8 Responses to Mar Roxas’ Veni Vidi Vici Vs Grace Poe’s Cinderella Story

  1. To JPFenix:
    Just want to share with your this article forwarded to the
    Furthermore, your characterization of Sec. Mar Roxas lacking empathy is completely not true and out of line.
    Greg Mariano, Jr.
    posted November 11, 2015 at 12:01 am by Emil Jurado

    The citizenship and residency issues of Mrs. Mary Grace Poe Llamanzares, who became a senator in 2013, continues to be debated in coffee shops, board rooms and cocktail parties.
    While Senator Poe herself and her lawyers claim that they can answer all the allegations against her, the people have yet to hear explanations about her qualifications.
    There are now four cases of disqualification against Mrs. Llamanzares, first at the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Comelec, the latest one coming from the former dean of the College of Law of the University of the East, Amado Valdez, who certainly knows his domestic and international law.
    Valdez was clear and precise. The fact that Grace Poe had to perform an overt act to reacquire her citizenship by filing a petition does not qualify her as a natural-born citizen. The Constitution defines natural-born Filipinos as those who are citizens of the Philippines from birth without having to perform any act to acquire or perfect their Philippine citizenship.
    What strikes me as a strange, my gulay, is the reply of Poe that she would face all her accusers in reply to Valdez comments, and that Valdez was entitled to his opinion, but she hoped he would also focus on issues confronting society.
    Santa Banana, nothing could be more critical in the coming election! Imagine an alien becoming President of the Philippines. It would be a disaster worse than ‘‘Yolanda’’ or Lando to have an alien-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police.
    While the allegations of Dean Valdez are not new, he was clear about the need for Senator Poe to have 10 years of residency in the Philippines before Election Day next year. By Poe’s own admission, she will have resided in the Philippines for only nine years and nine months prior to the May 2016 presidential elections. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure this out.
    From the records, it was on July 7, 2006, when she took her oath as a Filipino citizen under Republic Act No. 9225, known as the Dual Citizenship Law, to qualify her as a chairman of the Movies & Television Ratings and Classification Board. When Poe filed her CoC or Certificate of Candidacy as senator, it was for the May 2013 polls. On Oct. 20, 2010, she renounced her American citizenship.
    Thus, Valdez said, the 10-year-residency period must be counted from Oct. 20, 2010 when she renounced her American citizenship, Valdez went for the jugular when he said that between July 7, 2006 and Oct. 20, 2010, Poe had dual allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America, making her still ineligible to hold public office.
    Poe’s lawyer claimed that Mrs. Llamanzares made a mistake of the date when she filed her CoC. My gulay, it is uncharacteristic of somebody as intelligent as Mrs. Llamanzares to commit a mistake in a document!
    Records also showed that Mrs. Llamanzares claimed in her notarized petition for reacquisition of Philippine citizenship under RA 9225: “I am a natural born Philippine citizen, born on September 3, 1968 in Iloilo City to Ronald Allan Kelly Poe, a Filipino citizen, and Jesusa Sonora Poe, a Filipino citizen; I became an American national on Oct. 18, 2001, thereby lost my Philippine citizenship. Pursuant thereto, I am a holder of a US passport with Passport No. 017037793, issued on Dec. 19, 2001, in Washington.”
    Santa Banana, that was a complete lie and misrepresentation. Poe could be jailed for perjury, contradicting her own claim that she was a foundling. And we all know that FPJ and Susan Roces were childless. Would we Filipinos want a President who lies about her citizenship? As a lawyer myself, my only interest in the issue of citizenship and residency of Poe is legal and constitutional. If the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the Comelec do not follow the Constitution on the cases filed against Mrs. Llamanzares, we may as well throw the Constitution into the trash can.
    I rest my case.

  2. mmagan says:

    I have a different view. A person like Roxas who perseveres in thankless jobs in the public service despite being literally born with a silver spoon in his mouth deserves admiration, not loathing. When one considers that in all his time in public service, he has never been once implicated in corrupt activities, that says a lot about his character and the fact that he can be trusted. Grace Poe-Llamanzares’s pr people are to be credited for playing the empathy card because, in the final analysis, that’s the only thing that she can bank on in her bid to win the presidency. She has no demonstrated competence in running projects, no experience in governance, and some say, she rates zero in the integrity department with her silence on the corruption allegations against high profile individuals and alleged attempts to obfuscate authorities in connection with her citizenship papers. The thing that voters need to keep in mind about Mrs. Llamanzares is that her promises will always remain nothing more than pies in the sky. Why? Because, unlike Roxas who has the support of the ruling LP/Coalition, she is running as an independent and lacks party support in the Congress. Without substantial party support, she will not be able to deliver on her promises. For me at least, Mrs. Llamanzares is a very risky bet.

  3. Ma. Dolores Mamaril says:

    Grace Poe is legally adapted by FPJ and Susan Roces. So she used their legal name as her parents. What is the rule in foundling? How would they represent their identity in legal matters? I don’t think Grace Poe lied and committed a misrepresentation when it comes to her documentations. Are foundlings should be considered stateless and stripped of their rights as citizen?

  4. Caedmon says:

    These mental calisthenics gives me creeps you can be technical all you want but for me sen.grace poe is the best bet for president next year. She is more than a filipino among others who are running. Her integrity and compassion simply infecting many lives. And i will be more than glad to witness how she will organize our government.

  5. Sharing with you an article that clearly shows the empathy of Mar Roxas – the kind of a leader we want to lead our country in 2016 In the Eye of the Storm

    I’m posting the story to commemorate typhoon Yolanda, which struck Nov. 8 two years ago, and to belie allegations that Mar Roxas and the government were slow to respond to the tragedy. I’m doing so also at the promptings of my friend and, decades ago, my editor Daisy Amos at the Subic Bay News in the US Naval Base, Subic Bay. – Roly E. Eclevia
    In the Eye of the Storm
    A first person account by Jonathan Ronquillo,
    DILG staff member, as told to Roly E. Eclevia
    “Take cover,” DILG Secretary Mar Roxas barked. “The ceiling fan could fall.”
    Ex-Alaminos Mayor Nani Braganza and I dived and sought refuge under a table. Not that we needed to be told. The hotel seemed to be caving in. We were right smack in the path of the strongest typhoon ever to hit land in recorded history. It also turned out to be the most destructive and the deadliest.
    It was 8 a.m., Nov. 8, 2013. From where we cowered we could see, through the glass windows, branches torn from their trunks and blown all over the place. The monster—for it was a monster—hurled them at the hotel as if to flush us out.
    The last bulletin we heard was at 4:30 a.m., when Typhoon Yolanda made landfall in Guian, Samar.
    In the past three days SMAR (Secretary Manuel Araneta Roxas) had been conducting frenzied preparations. From the DILG Operations Center at Camp Crame, he fired orders in quick succession to governors and mayors in the typhoon’s path. He told them to preposition rescue personnel and equipment and to carry out emergency relief operations at a moment’s notice.
    Then, on the eve of that great weather disturbance, SMAR left the comfort of his office and flew to Tacloban, to make sure his orders were carried out to the letter. There he planned to set up a command post for the rescue and relief operations during and after the typhoon.
    He and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin checked in at the Leyte Park Hotel to sit out the howler.
    Nani, with me in tow, joined them later. He was to assist SMAR in his dealings with local politicians. A former congressman, Cabinet secretary, and mayor, he was perfect for the job.
    Sitting It Out
    “Stay away from the windows,” SMAR again shouted. He and Nani were herding the guests and city residents who had sought refuge in the hotel, into the basement.
    It was 10 a.m. The might of the monster was on full display.
    The one-inch thick glass door was swinging like crazy, making a fearful crashing sound each time. Windows shattered, letting in all kinds of debris: tree branches and leaves, sand and tufts of grass, mud and rain. They hit and stung us in the face, swirled around us. Outside, cars, vans, delivery trucks were being thrown every which way.
    I felt like I was watching a Hollywood horror movie, only this time I was in it.
    At SMAR’s instructions, I called Col. Jojo Angan, who was left behind at Camp Crame. I was to tell him the situation on the ground and relay SMAR’s orders for appropriate government agencies to get ready to move in. It was no use. All manners of communication were out. No power.
    Through it all, SMAR was calm and collected. I could sense from his voice, however, that he was under tremendous pressure. The lives of people were in his hands, and he fully realized that, with other officials, civilian and military, deferring to his judgment and awaiting his orders.

    SILG Tacloban pics15
    The typhoon began to let up at 10:30 a.m.
    SMAR asked the hotel management for dry sheets and towels for the locals and their children who had sought refuge in the hotel. They were all soaked to the skin and shivering. He also requested food and water for everyone.
    Against the advice of everyone, SMAR, Gazmin, and Nani went out for to survey the damage. It was surreal outside. Otherwise sturdy structures had toppled over, their steel reinforcements bent like paper clips. Houses were flattened to the ground.

    There were bodies strewn in the streets, and SMAR ordered that they be collected and brought to the undertaker and gave them the dignity they deserved. However, the priority now was to bring aid and comfort to the living, who were just beginning to emerge, cold and hungry, frightened out of their wits.

    Nobody could show us around. We had counted on Mayor Alfred Romualdez to help us make the initial assessment. He was supposed to set up a quick response command center, but he was nowhere to be found.

    Luckily, the structure housing the police sustained only minor damage, and, most important of all, 30 cops had reported for duty. The precinct had more than 250 personnel, but most of them were victims too. They needed to secure their families first.

    SMAR, grateful for the little resources he could muster, set up the command post. He instructed Col. Bong Cabillan, the chief of police, to find all DILG, PNP, BFP, and BJMP officers and men and get them to report to him.

    He had two objectives: 1) establish communication with the national government and dispatch search and rescue teams, and 2) clear the airport and major roads so that help, when it came, could reach the victims.
    SMAR dispatched two teams of policemen on bicycles, one to the airport to see what could be done to clear the runway, and another to Palo, Leyte, for a much needed satellite phone.
    Then he and Gazmin commandeered the two working police cars to see things for themselves.
    On Real Street, the city’s main road, they ran into broadcast journalist Ted Failon and his team. In tears, Failon narrated how they had been trapped in the Fishermen’s Village in Barangay San Jose. They were on their way to the ABS-CBN field unit nearby.
    Clearing Operation
    Farther afield, SMAR and Gazmin caught up with city administrator Tecson Lim. At last they could talk to someone who knew the area. They told him to get city hall employees to help clear the roads.
    Near the Coca Cola plant, SMAR saw a fleet of heavy equipment. He told the foreman to begin the clearing operation, assuring him rental and manpower expenses would be paid for, even if he had to advance the money personally.
    A contingent of the 81st Storm Troopers Brigade came into view. He instructed them to get to work too. To the people he met around the city, he said help was coming.
    At 4 p.m., Mayor Romualdez finally showed up. SMAR and Gazmin ran into him at the Junction/Rotunda. The mayor and his wife and children were with the family dogs. He said they almost drowned in their beachfront home. Informed that the family was headed to city hall, Gazmin instructed the driver of an Army truck to bring them there.
    Now the clearing operation was in full swing, with the PNP and the Army leading the way.
    At about 5 p.m., the cops who had been dispatched to Palo arrived. Now with the satellite phone, SMAR and Gazmin could talk to President Aquino.
    Here’s what I remember SMAR telling the President:
    “Sir, all communications systems are down, most government infrastructure are badly damaged, rescue personnel and equipment could barely cope. We need all the help we can get to jump-start the relief operation. We are clearing the runway now and the main roads leading to the airport so planes from there (National Capital Region) can land.”
    SMAR and the cops worked until 11 p.m., to get the generators working. Then we went back to our hotel by car and, where it was impossible to go farther because of the debris, on foot.
    Initial Relief Work
    The next day, at 8 a.m., we were back to the police station-turned-command post. Soon we heard a C130 plane approaching and several Huey helicopters. They were carrying rescue personnel, equipment, and foodstuffs. Help was starting to arrive.
    SMAR’s efforts paid off handsomely. The runways had been cleared. The Leyte Plaza had been turned into a helo pad, and choppers came and went throughout the day, all carrying more personnel and relief goods.
    There was no lack of volunteers. There were SMAR’s friends in Tacloban, led by Lenny Banez and others. They offered to provide us with water from a groundwater pump and placed several heavy equipment at our disposal.
    A Chinese shop owner gave us chainsaws to use, if we could assemble the kits. His technicians had not reported for work, so we put together the parts ourselves, using the Chinese language instruction manual, to SMAR and Gazmin’s amusement.

    On Nov. 10, President Aquino arrived. He had been preceded by DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman, whose team was to take over the relief operation.
    After lunch the President and SMAR boarded a military plane for an aerial inspection, not only of Tacloban but also of the other typhoon-devastated areas.
    Help started coming in earnest, from the government and the private sector, from the US and other countries, from the UN and from international humanitarian groups.
    The Blame Game
    SILG Tacloban pics11
    Only after two weeks, when DPWH and DSWD were firmly in place, did SMAR leave Tacloban for the rest he so richly deserved.
    Ironically, he was criticized for “the slow response of the government.” He was the face of the relief operation—and the subsequent rehabilitation and reconstruction program—so his political enemies found it convenient to blame him for everything that went wrong.
    Never mind the fact that the tragedy was of such magnitude it was impossible to bring relief to everyone all at once, even with the help of the international community. Close to a million families with 4.5 million members were affected. That’s why a lot of people had to endure days, even weeks of waiting before help could reach them. Some 6,300 died and an undetermined number were injured.
    “I was there the day before the typhoon struck,” SMAR once blurted out in exasperation. “How much faster than that can you get?”
    No good deed goes unpunished!
    This article was originally posted in the personal Facebook Account of Roly E. Eclevia.

  6. Mike says:

    You’re impressed by the image of Grace Poe as someone who knows what the people want and need. But she lacks the depth of experience to understand what the country needs. She thinks that what the Philippines needs is to negotiate with China who has made it clear that any negotiation is premised on acceptance of their sovereignty over the entire South China Sea. That’s just an example.

    You describe Mar Roxas as lacking empathy and a connection to the masses. Your conclusions about him are about as shallow as your perceptions. The truth in my opinion is that Mar Roxas is both a strategist and a man of action, not words. He’s not really that eloquent in verbalizing his emotions and deep thoughts. But he has that singular ability to visualize a problem, whereevr he is or whatever challenge he faces, he takes it apart piece by piece, sees what the missing, needed, part is, then puts it back together again in his head, essentially the same but completely different. Mar’s connection and empathy to the people lives in his actions, not his words. He doesn’t talk about it, he acts it out, he lives it every single day. he knows little else because that’s how his parents raised him. The weight of his father’s and grandfather’s legacy weighs heavy on his heart and spirit.

    Between the 1997 and 2000, the country’s economy had gone down the tubes. Business was down together with employment and with it, national morale. Then he “saw” how the BPO industry could change the game. He took what was already there, modified the PEZA law to allow it to apply to separate floors of buildings to accomodate BPO investments, coupled it with the innate traits and abilities of Filiponos to be brilliant, engaging, hospitable, easy to train, teachable, humble, loyal, kind and honorable, traits that he himself carries and therefore recognized in his race, and wove it into the BPO formula. He then took this recipe and aggressively sold it to the world.

    Today, over a million Filipinos are actively employed and that number is projected to grow to a million and a half by middle of 2016, perhaps more. In 2014 the BPO business brought in $18.75 Billion into the economy. In the same year, OFW remittances reached $24 Billion. OFW inflows helped keep the peso stable despite volatile financial market conditions.

    The BPO sector’s prospects, however, are much brighter. BPO revenues are expected to grow by at least 15 percent,according to the BSP, while OFW remittances would grow by 6 percent, at most, in 2015. The BPO has given the country another leg to stand on, insulating it from the Chinese stock market meltdown. Industry estimates show that by 2016, BPOs would earn $25 billion annually, and would overtake OFW remittances.

    Did Mar ambition for the financial heights the BPO industry would attain? No. He had only one thing in mind: Employment. How to create jobs for people, the same people you say he has no connection with, no empathy for.


    All the acts and deeds of Mar Roxas have benefited the men and women in the streets, the unemployed, out-of-school youth, the farmer and his family, children, students, the elderly. Those who have less in life. The prosperity that you claim desensitizes him from the masses has served to magnify and focus his vision on their poverty and their needs. His prosperity has equipped him with the skills, the abilities, the knowledge he has placed at the service of the people to address those needs.

    Cheaper vital medicines. Generic medicines. Water supply in outlying areas (Salin-Tubig Program, Performance Challenge Fund project). Tax exemption for all minimum wage earners (RA 9504). Laws that attracts investments & business which creates jobs & generates employment, i.e. Special Economic Zone Act, Public Employment Service Act, Magna carta for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, crime reduction (Oplan Lambat Sibat). There’s more where that came from.

    The point is here that Mar Roxas has talked less and has done more to establish a body of work that clearly proves his connection and empathy for the Filipino people.

    It makes perfect sense for Mar Roxas to carry on the legacy of Daang Matuwid. This philosophy was born because of the maxim, “Bayan Muna Bago ang Sarili” which has been embraced, not only by Mar, or by his father and his grandfather before him, but by our immortal heroes, Rizal, Bonifacio, Luna, Mabini, et al, who have passed the true test of character and gave their lives for us.

    When Mar Roxas gave way to Noynoy Aquino, the two of them agreed to forget themselves and lift the people and the country above themselves. Daang Matuwid is the successful philosophy of governance while Bayan Muna Bago Ang Sarili is its driving spirit. Mar Roxas is every bit a part of Daang Matuwid as Aquino is.

    People need to be reminded that the successes of the Philippines in the last 6 years has been due to the spirit and the discipline that moves Daang Matuwid and will continue its success because of its principles. It is only right and just that Mar Roxas, its co-author, continue wielding it for the good of the people and the country.

    Long live Daang Matuwid! Bayan Muna Bago ang Sarili!

  7. Rosita Conde-Buenaventura says:

    There’s a saying, “silent water runs deep”..this too aptly describes mar roxas..let’s join hands for daang matuwid!

  8. john4nature says:

    The Liberal Party was all ready for 2016 election Mar Roxas and Sen. Poe was his vice until there was a change of music in the air. Sen Poe run as a President. The same time, the law changed. If she did not change mind. the Liberal Party would definitely move mountains to protect her. Not anymore. Its also the time the boat of Daang na matuwid started to sink. Get Poe out of the Picture will not get this boat up and running. it will just sink and with the President in tow.

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