Mar a dog with tail between legs
Is Mar Roxas avoiding the city whose tough-talking Mayor once challenged him to slapping, boxing and gun duels?
Roxas, the ruling Liberal Party standard bearer in the May election, will be on a day-long sortie in the Davao Region but is purposely avoiding Davao City, capital city of the region and stronghold of his rabid critic PDP/Laban presidential candidate Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
Roxas will fly in (March 8) early morning and out in late afternoon through the Davao City International Airport.
From the airport, he goes straight to Kapalong town in Davao del Norte to visit a cooperative of banana growers then meets with local government officials in Tagum City, also in Davao del Norte. He would then join in Nabunturan the founding anniversary celebration of Compostella Valley and proceeds to Mati, Davao Oriental to grace a political asembly, before returning to Davao City for his flight back to Manila.
Roxas may as well avoid an engagement in Davao City like a dog with tail between his legs.
Dabawenyos have been waiting for a face-off with Roxas who had earlier called as a myth claims that Davao City is one of the country’s safest cities.
Dabawenyos hold with great pride their claim that their city is safe under the leadership of Duterte who had ruled for more than two decades this metropolis known as the most progressive cities of Mindanao.
Stung by Roxas’ slur, Duterte challenged the former Interior secretary of President Benigno Aquino to physical confrontations that did not, however, materialize.
Subsequently, the cussword-spewing Duterte would variously call Roxas as, among others, a bayot (sissy), pisot (uncircumsized), most incompetent Filipino to have aspired for the presidency and a helpless zombie during the Yolanda crisis while interior secretary tasked with confronting the aftermath of the devastating super typhoon.
Roxas had lately renewed his verbal assault on Davao City and Duterte.
Belittling the anti-illegal drugs campaign of Duterte and claims that drugs and drug lords are under rein in Davao City, Roxas said he could buy shabu anytime in the city with media tagging along to prove his point.
For this, the Duterte camp said Roxas is a protector of drug lords for not reporting the presence of drugs in the city to the authorities.
Roxas’ visit in the Davao Region may not have positive impact on his presidential bid.
In the 2010 election, Dabawenyos (nearly 1 million registered voters), junked Roxas and voted for then candidate Jejomar Binay, also running for president in the May derby, in the vice presidential race that Binay won.
The Davao Region (2.8 million registered voters), is a bailiwick of Duterte, whose hold Roxas was not expected to unshackle.
In the latest The Standard/Laylo Research Strategies survey, 79% of Davao Region voters, against Roxas’ 11%, want Duterte to be the next President.
The nationwide survey had Senator Grace Poe, Duterte and Binay in a statistical tie at the top, with Roxas taking the 4th spot and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago at the tail end of the 5-way contest.
Roxas’ poor showing in the surveys is blamed largely, by both public and political analysts, for his so-s0 performance as Secretary of Interior and other Malacanang departments (Trade and Industry, Transportation and Communications) and to his vow to continue the Tuwid na Daan (Straight Path) governance of Aquino if he is elected President. Amid accusations of massive corruption in the Aquino government, Tuwid na Daan has been violently flayed and mockingly described as Tuwad na Daan (Crooked Path) by critics.
Roxas’ Davao Region sortie could be untimely coming three days after his wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez, was slammed with a tsunami of criticisms after leading the distribution of farm equipment funded by the Department of Agriculture to farmers in Tagum City.
The Duterte camp accused Roxas and Sanchez of using government resources in promoting the presidential bid of the Liberal Party.
Sanchez had also been skewered by the Duterte camp after the broadcaster verbally attacked the PDP/Laban bet during a political gathering. Going viral in social media is a video of Sanchez’s former maid accusing the broadcaster of physical violence and illisit relations.