Rappler is dead wrong for apologizing to Mar Roxas

mar roxas on laglag bala gang
Mar Roxas is either clueless or insensitive as to the significance of the "laglag-bala" controversy (Credits: Facebook page of Rappler)

News organizations routinely use quotable quotes from news makers like politicians and celebrities in infographics specifically created for social media dissemination. So last week, Rappler shared a rather unflattering quote from former interior secretary and 2016 presidential candidate Mar Roxas.

Asked about the so-called “laglag-bala gang” in Philippine airports, Roxas dismissively said: “Kung nagpasok ka ng contraband sa airport, paano naging problema ng gobyerno yun?” (“If an individual tries to smuggle a contraband to our airports, how is that a problem of the government?”)

He further underscored this point later on: “Ang damage sa industriya natin ay dapat ilagay natin sa konteksto kung sino ba talaga ang nagpapasok nitong mga contraband na ito, di ba? Kung meron naman talaga na nagpasok nitong contraband sa mga paliparan natin ay dapat tama lamang na nahuli sila ng pamahalaan di ba?” (“The alleged damage to our (aviation) industry must be viewed on the context of who really smuggled these contrabands. Because if there are really those who did, then the government is right to apprehend them.”)

An infographic featuring that quote has gone viral on Facebook with over 20,000 likes and comments and around 75,000 shares. As to be expected, Roxas received nearly-universal flak for his remarks. Surprisingly, Rappler issued an apology over the quotable quote that they shared.

mar roxas on laglag bala gang
Mar Roxas is either clueless or insensitive as to the significance of the “laglag-bala” controversy
(Credits: Facebook page of Rappler)

In a statement released two days after the quote has gone viral, Rappler explained that while Instaquotes are very popular in social media, these can be “open to misinterpretation when shared and removed from context.” It is not clear if Roxas’ campaign demanded an apology from the said online news organization. The funny thing is, watching the entire video does not make Roxas appear in a better light at all.

It was totally unnecessary for Rappler to use the word “apology.” Instead, they could have just posted a follow-up to their original post so that readers can understand the full context of Roxas’ remarks. Come to think of it, one reason why Roxas’ words gained so much flak is because he’s been guilty of making cringe-worthy and idiotic statements for years.

In the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda’s devastation of Tacloban City, Roxas, in his capacity as interior secretary, memorably urged the city’s mayor, Alfredo Romualdez, to relinquish his authority and let the national government take over the relief operations.

“You are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino,” Roxas said, impatiently stressing that if his suggestions are not followed, then the local government of Tacloban will have to deal with the tragedy’s effects on their own. “Bahala na kayo sa buhay niyo!” he said.

Last January, Roxas immediately attributed the death of 44 PNP-SAF operatives in the hands of Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters as a result of a “misencounter” despite not knowing all the facts yet.

Meanwhile, shortly after his proclamation as the administration standard bearer, Roxas echoed President Aquino’s ridiculous claim that the traffic jams experienced in Metro Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines is indicative of economic progress. “This is a problem in a sense that arises from prosperity. Because there is money. Because there is economic activity,” he said according to GMA News. And of course, who can forget his cursing during an anti-Arroyo demonstration in Makati back in 2008?

According to Wiktionary.org, an individual is said to be afflicted with food-in-mouth disease if he or she has the propensity to make remarks that are “embarrassingly wrong and inappropriate.” With that definition in mind, there’s little doubt that Roxas fits the description well.

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About Mark Madrona 1191 Articles
Mark Madrona is a prize-winning blogger, online journalist, and educator from the Philippines. Previously a book editor, he is now teaching communication subjects for two public universities in Manila. His blog The Filipino Scribe won 3rd place in a blog competition organized by the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability in East Asia and the Pacific (ANSA-EAP). In 2015, it was one of the finalists in the 2015 Lasallian Scholarum Awards for Best Online Feature Article in Youth and Education. He also won the Best Blog Award during the 2011 Population and Development Media Awards, the youngest recipient of that recognition. Know more about him here: http://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

1 Comment on Rappler is dead wrong for apologizing to Mar Roxas

  1. A small group of Filipino poets from various parts of the world is almost done with their collaborative work about Philippine politics and the 2016 elections, which they shared on Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/balagtasan2016/posts/1040527502660910:0). The page is accessible to the public. It is my hope that you would take a look at it, and also see its web page version (http://ofw-bagongbayani.com/b-halalan-2016.html), perhaps write about it in your blog which reaches a wide audience, and help educate our voters through our very own internet-version of the balagtasan. Thank you and more power to you and The Filipino Scribe.

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