By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang told former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas to just keep quiet and let the present administration do its job.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after President Duterte’s former rival for the presidency in 2016 made some suggestions in a Facebook post on how the government can solve the country’s rice problems.
In a radio interview, Roque admitted that he has not seen the said Facebook post yet but said Roxas should just stay silent.
“Hindi ko pa naririnig ang kanyang sinasabi, pero dahil sa kanyang karanasan doon sa Leyte ay mabuti pong manahimik na siyang muli (I haven’t heard yet what he said but given his experience in Leyte, it would be better if he just shuts up),” he said Wednesday morning.
In an open letter posted on his Facebook page, Roxas has offered unsolicited advice to Duterte on how to alleviate the rice supply problem in the country.
In his post, the Liberal Party stalwart said that both him and Duterte should set aside their political differences for now and work on resolving the issue.
“Dear President Duterte: Matindi ang problema ng P50+/kg (kilogram) na bigas, at magiging mas matindi pa ito dahil sa damage ni Ompong (There is a big problem in the 50+/kilogram price of rice, and this will worsen because of the damage wrought by Ompong),” said Roxas.
“Magkaiba paningin natin sa maraming bagay pero sa tingin ko lahat ng Pilipino gustong malutas ang problemang ito. Kaya time out muna (We have differing views on a wide range of matters but I think all Filipinos want to solve this particular problem. So, let’s have a timeout),” he added.
In March 2016, then-presidential candidate Duterte questioned Roxas about why their administration is mum on how they spent the funds for Typhoon Yolanda.
“They are silent about it. Gusto ko tanungin si Mar. Billion ang dumating sa bansa nung Yolanda, saan ang pera (I would like to ask Mar. Billions came in for the ‘Yolanda’ victims but where is the money)?” Duterte had said.
Duterte cited how the rehabilitation efforts in Leyte showed the failure of the government despite billions of funds and donations the country received during the aftermath of the supertyphoon.
The President had also claimed that he had witnessed how Roxas dealt with the situation in Tacloban. He said Roxas got the “scare of his life” during the onslaught on ‘Yolanda’.
“I was there on Day 2. Si Mar nagka-breakdown (Mar had a breakdown),” Duterte had said in an interview over GMA.
“He was not acting like a person who was in charge of a disaster [relief operation], giving commands or critical orders,” he added.
In April 2016, Roxas said that he “doesn’t have any regrets” in his actions in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda. He said he went there not only because it was his job to do so, but because people were distressed.