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‘Incident marred Roxas’ 2016 plan’

Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas on Saturday said he was deeply sorry for the April 6 incident at the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong, an “outburst” that some lawmakers called the game changer in 2016 or even “death knell” of whatever political ambitions  he has.

Roxas told the Manila Standard the incident was a case of ‘misunderstanding’, even as he also denied having bad-mouthed anybody.

“I have already explained the events of that day, and there’s nothing more to add. As I’ve said before: There was a misunderstanding about being charged a green fee for a golf pro companion – who was there simply to observe our game,” Roxas said.

“My understanding is that only those who actually played in the game have to pay a fee. Be that as it may, I have apologized to all concerned and have authorized the inclusion of the green fee in my statement of account.”

Roxas allegedly  berated a staff in the golf course for requiring him to pay the green fee of a guest at P5,100 per head. He said he has been a long-time registered member of the exclusive golf club.

Reacting to the Wack Wack episode, several lawmakers on Saturday saw the backlash on Roxas political plans.

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, member of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives, said what Roxas did - whatever the circumstances was - would be a big minus point for his political ambition in 2016.

“He just sounded the death knell of whatever political ambitions he has,” Bello told the  Manila Standard.

House Deputy Majority Leader Sherwin Tugna of Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) gave his two cents worth advice: “Good manners and circumspection should always be practiced, regardless of the status and whatever the situation is.”

Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz said that any public official should keep their cool at all times, otherwise unfortunate things will likely happen and could even change the complexion of the game in the 2016 presidential elections.

“I just feel sorry for Sec. Mar,” de la Cruz, member of the House Independent Minority Bloc.

But House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Reps. Rodolfo Albano III of Isabela, Elpidio Barzaga, Jr. of Cavite City and Jerry Trenas of Iloilo, in separate interviews with the Manila Standard, vouched for the ‘good conduct’ of Roxas as a person and as a public official.

“I can understand how Secretary Roxas could have been upset by the situation but I believe that he would not have cursed anyone.  I’ve known him since he was Majority Leader in Congress in 1998 and have never known him to bad mouth anyone,” Albano said.  “To his credit, Roxas apologized even as he denied the accusation against him.  

Belmonte said “I believe (Roxas) did not cuss, but he should keep his cool all the time.”

Barzaga also defended Roxas.  “I know personally Sec.  Mar for a long period of time and I must say categorically that cussing is not his trait.  In any event, based on newspaper reports  Mar has indeed admitted that there was a misunderstanding in the payment of green fees and that he has already made the corresponding apologies.   Under these circumstances, I think we should put a closure to this incident,” Barzaga said.

Trenas said Roxas already apologized for the incident.

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