Former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas went on the offensive against Vice-President and presidential aspirant Jejomar Binay on Sunday, saying there are actually two Makatis in the country - one rich and one poor.
Speaking at the first leg of the PiliPinas Debates held at Capitol University in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday, Roxas said poverty incidence remains high in Makati despite claims of development by the long-time city mayor.
"Nabanggit ni Vice President Binay ang Makati. Hindi ba ang totoo, dalawa ang Makati? Makati ng mga Ayala na maunlad na maraming trabaho, at Makati ng mga Binay na mahirap pa rin - Comembo, Rembo. Nandiyan pa rin ang mga mahihirap. Nandiyan pa rin ang mga droga," Roxas said.
The Liberal Party standard-bearer went on to allege that Makati has the highest drug rate in the country.
"In fact, Makati has the highest drug rate!" Roxas claimed. "Lahat ng mga mayayaman d'yan, lahat ng clubs, bawat Biyernes, Sabado, nandiyan, laganap ang droga sa Makati."
For his part, Binay asked where Roxas got his statistics, saying that drugs was never a problem in Makati.
He also denied that there is poverty in Rembo, saying that he gave land to landless residents there. "Wala hong kahirapan sa Rembo. Sa buong Makati, nakapagdeliver kami at naiangat namin ang buhay ng bawat taga-Makati."
Roxas then challenged Binay that he would bring the vice-president to resettlement areas "so he can see the people's poverty."
The former DILG chief also went on the offensive when asked about his alleged poor management skills during the onslaught of Supertyphoon Yolanda.
Roxas said that he was in Tacloban even before the typhoon struck and stayed on until the situation was stabilized.
"Ang Yolanda ang pinakamalakas na bagyo sa kasaysayan ng mundo. Ang buong gobyerno ay nandoon. Nandoon ako bago, habang, at pagkatapos ng bagyo. Hindi ako bumitiw hanggang nag-stabilize ang sitwasyon," he said.
Without mentioning Binay, Roxas mentioned that one candidate went to Yolanda areas on a helicopter "like a tourist", left and then had nothing to say but criticism.
"Hindi ako tulad ng iba na dumating at nag-helicopter, nagturista, umalis, at ngayon ay marami nang sinasabi."
In response, Binay attacked Roxas over the latter's alleged indecisiveness.
"Alam po ninyo, hindi ho mangyayari kung ako ho ang napalagay diyan sa puwesto ni Secretary Roxas, 'yun bang analysis paralysis," Binay said.
"Kung ako ho ang pinatutungkulan ni Secretary Roxas doon ho sa pagkaka-helicopter, aba 'yun hong helicopter marami akong nakita. Siya, nasaan ho s'ya?"
"Kaya naman ho grabe ang galit sa kanya ng mga taga-Leyte ay dahil sa kapalpakan niya sa paghawak sa problema ng Yolanda," he added.
Roxas said he was in the area for 16 days and did not turn the event into a photo opportunity.
"Andoon po ako 16 na araw. Hindi ko binitiwan, hindi ko kinalimutan at hindi ko pinoto-op o pinulitika ang ating mga kababayan."
"Andoon ako mula bago pa dumating ang Yolanda at ginawa ko ang lahat... Matitingnan ko ang kahit sino sa ating bansa nang mata sa mata at sabihin: 'Lahat ng maaring magawa noong kapanahunang iyon ay nagawa,'" Roxas said.
The first leg of the PiliPinas Debates was hosted by GMA Network, together with the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Commission on Elections.