Ill-starred Mar

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“Noynoy and his LP strategists did their best to repackage Mar as a candidate for the masses to no avail.

Making a political comeback is defeated Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas who is reassuming the role of savior for the yellow party.

His presence in the LP slate was meant to bolster what is being termed as a lackluster lineup.

Sometime in August 2015, he was named the chosen one of yellow kingpin President Noynoy Aquino in a major party event when the LP was not yet politically decimated.

The anointment was Noynoy’s act to pay forward the supposed sacrifice of his dear friend in the 2010 election when Mar supposedly gave way to him for the presidency.

Bayan bago ang sarili (nation before self)” Mar said in his speech to give way to Noynoy.

Despite the endorsement from the incumbent leader who was then enjoying good survey numbers, Mar’s figures in the polls would rise and fall.

In the 2010 elections as a vice-presidential candidate and in the 2016 contest as Noynoy’s anointed, he suffered the same fate of losing to two erstwhile unknown rivals who were both city mayors.

He lost the vice presidency to Makati Mayor Jojo Binay in 2010 and suffered a total thrashing from Davao City Mayor and now President Rody Duterte in 2016.

Despite his long record in government service, Mar can’t seem to get over the political hump of being identified as too elitist, callous to public sentiment and hard to trust official.

His poor numbers were the real reason for the LP to tap Noynoy instead of him during the 2010 presidential derby as the party banked on public sympathy following the death of Noynoy’s mother, former President Cory Aquino.

A classic example of how Mar Roxas shot himself on the foot was in the aftermath of typhoon “Yolanda” which killed more than 6,000 individuals and devastated most of the Visayas region in 2013. That was when he told Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez “You’re a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino” in response to Romualdez’s plea for national government assistance.

From then on, the famous quote became the symbol of vindictive politics under Noynoy.
Roxas was in the public eye as a member of Congress and later on the Cabinet since the term of former President Erap Estrada.

He even successfully jumped ship during the 2001 mutiny at EDSA that installed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President. He became Arroyo’s trade and industry secretary.

Roxas then topped the 2004 senatorial elections due to his Mr. Palengke image makeover.
When ranged against populist candidates, however, Roxas comes out least trusted by voters.
Noynoy and his LP strategists did their best to repackage Mar as a candidate for the masses to no avail.

“Mar can’t seem to get over the political hump of being identified as too elitist, callous to public sentiment and hard to trust official.

After the anointment of Mar, richly-funded projects that included providing water services to barangays and shelter for illegal settlers were given the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which was the agency he headed then, despite those functions not covered by the department just so public awareness on Mar improves.

Also employed in the image build-up for Mar was the promise of millions of pesos for each barangay under the so-called Bottom Up Budgeting (BUB) scheme crafted by LP strategist and then Budget Secretary Butch Abad.

Noynoy’s opponents branded the BUB as the “Buy Ur Barangay” scheme due to the apparent political patronage it promotes.

Also there was the expensive conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, the only poverty alleviation scheme of the Noynoy administration but which was riddled with allegations of irregularities, including its use to instill political patronage among the poor.

The CCT or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program was funded P70 billion prior to the elections, covering some four million households which were given an average of P1,500 each in cash doles monthly.

Senators also found as much as P700 billion in lump sums in the 2015 budget earmarked for distribution as pork barrel to LP allies in the House and the Senate.

Despite the huge government resources employed, endorsement from Noynoy and even the suspected automated cheating through the Smartmatic machines, Mar flubbed the presidency.

Now he is back in the arena for what appears to be another sound beating in the mid-term polls.

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