MANILA, Philippines - As the issue of marital infidelity emerged in the elections, Liberal Party vice-presidential candidate Manuel "Mar" Roxas II on Saturday vowed to remain faithful to his wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez, saying the Filipino people want to see strong and real partnerships.
In an interview on dzMM, the vice-presidential front runner denied his camp was the one who leaked the photos of his rival, Makati City Mayor Jejomar "Jojo" Binay, with his supposed past mistress. (Click here for story and photos).
"Unang-una, wala akong kinalaman diyan. E, sino ba naman ako na maghuhusga sa kapwa?" Roxas said. "At kung nakikinig ka Jojo, ay talagang pwede kang matulog na mahimbing. Ako, hindi ako lalaro ng ganoon."
Echoing Binay's own defense, Roxas said people are not saints, and thus, they make mistakes. "Lahat naman tayo nagsasala. Hindi naman tayo santo."
He also joked that he would never be unfaithful to Sanchez since he is afraid of her.
"Hindi. Takot ko lang! Takot ko lang kay Korina, babatukan niya 'ko," he told ABS-CBN's Jing Castañeda, who asked him jokingly if he would ever be unfaithful to his wife.
Roxas and Sanchez tied the knot on October 27, 2009. (Click here for story.)
'Strong ties with Aquino'
When asked about reports that he was allegedly being junked as the vice-presidential bet by some pro-Aquino forces, Roxas said his partnership with Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III was strong and real.
He compared it to a family, where third parties that may destroy it, are not taken well.
"Matibay ang samahan namin ni Senador Noynoy. May tiwala kami sa isa't isa. At lalo pa, may tiwala kami sa tao, na nakikita nila kung ano yung tunay na samahan. Parang pamilya yan e, di ba? Ang tao nagagalit sa mga 3rd party. Ang tao, hindi gusto na may sisira sa tahimik, matibay at tapat na samahan tulad ng samahan namin ni Senador Noynoy at Senador Mar," Roxas said.
("My partnership with Senator Noynoy is strong. We trust each other. Moreover, we trust the people, and they see that it is a real partnership. It's like a family, right? People get angry at third parties. People don't like those who destroy peaceful, strong, and real partnerships, just like the one between Senator Noynoy and Senator Mar.")
He said this can easily be observed in all their campaign sorties and in all their campaign paraphernalia.
"Walang bukang bibig si Mar Roxas kung hindi Noynoy Aquino. At si Noynoy Aquino rin, walang bukang bibig kung hindi si Mar Roxas. Kitang kita po yan. Lahat po ng materyales namin, yellow at blue, magkasabay. So kung mayroon mang nagnanais na sirain kami, kung mayroon mang nagnanais na wasakin yung aming tapat na samahan ay hindi sila magtatagumpay. Yan po ang pinaninidigan ni Noynoy at ni Mar, yung matapat na serbisyo, una sa isa't isa, at pangalawa, mula sa amin, sa tao," he said.
'Clean campaign, clean gov't'
Roxas said he and Aquino had agreed to conduct a clean campaign that would focus on issues rather than on personalities. This campaign style, he said, is a reflection of how they will govern in case they win next week's elections.
"Kaya kami ni Senador Noynoy, talagang minarapat namin na magpalakad ng malinis, matuwid na kampanya. How we will campaign is also how we will govern. Malinis, matapat, issues e nang sa ganoon makita ng mga kababayan natin kung anong uri ang pagkatao namin, at kung sakaling palarin kami, yung pamahalaan namin," Roxas said.
He criticized the black propaganda hurled against them by their rivals such as the fake mental health reports on Aquino released by pro-Villar supporters.
Roxas noted that they had committed to participate in ABS-CBN's tandem debates, and that it was their rivals which backed out.
"Kami ni Senador Noynoy, handa kami makipag debate dyan sa Harapan ng ABS-CBN, e umatras lahat yung mga makikipag debate sa amin. So kami, sa issues, sa kahit anong bagay, handa kaming, harapan, makipag debate," he said.
On Chiz's endorsement of Noynoy
Asked about Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero's endorsement of a "Noybi" (Noynoy-Binay) ticket, Roxas said it was his Senate colleague's right to do so.
He added he was not relying on endorsements, but on the support of the people.
"Para sa akin ho ay karapatan ng lahat na umindorso kung sino kursunada nila. E ako naman, hindi naman yang ang inaasahan ko. Ako, umaasa ako sa ating mga kababayan. Sa tao nanggagaling ang lakas ko, sa kanila ako nakasandal, at alam ko na kinikilatis nila kami lahat, tinitimbang nila kami lahat at nakikita nila, track record ni Mar Roxas," he explained.
'National, int'l service, not just local'
Roxas said his public service record involves both national and international achievements, and not just for one local area. (Binay's achievements have only been in Makati, having been the city's mayor since 1986. He has not held a national post.)
As former trade and industry secretary and as senator, he said he has been able to reduce the prices of medicines, create jobs through the call center and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) firms, and battled cement and steel cartels.
"Yan ho ang track record ni Mar Roxas, pambansa, international pa, national, hindi lang limitado sa isang lugar," Roxas said.
("This is my track record, national and international. National, not just limited to one place.")
On Friday, Binay admitted to having an extra-marital affair that almost caused his marriage to Dr. Elenita Binay to crumble.
He stressed, however, that this happened "long time ago," and that the issue is just being raised as a black propaganda days before the May 10 polls when his survey ratings have dramatically improved. (Click here for latest survey results.)
Pictures of Binay and his alleged mistress have been circulating in the Internet, including the popular online social media Facebook.