MANILA - Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas slammed the allegedly "malicious" video showing him talking to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez, and accused the latter's camp of covering up the mayor's negligence of his duty during the onslaught of super typhoon "Yolanda."
In a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon, Roxas cried foul over the short YouTube clip, which he said was obviously spliced and edited.
"Ayaw ko na sanang magsayang ng oras upang sagutin ang isyu na ito. Kasama ako sa napakaraming kababayan natin na mas gustong tumutok sa trabaho tungo sa pagbabago. Pero hindi dapat palagpasin ang mga kasinungalingang ipinakakalat sa ngayon," Roxas said.
The video, which was uploaded by a certain Josemari Gonzalez, shows the DILG chief telling the mayor "You have to understand, you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino" before it is cut abruptly and another portion is inserted.
Romualdez's wife is former actress and current Councilor Cristina Gonzales, a daughter of former actor and politician Josemari Gonzalez.
"Kung sino man ang gumawa ng video na ito, alam na agad ng tao na may masamang balakin at pagiisip ang taong ito," Roxas said.
A longer video of the meeting between Roxas and Romualdez has since been uploaded on YouTube by Cito Beltran. Roxas said the meeting happened last November 14, six days after Yolanda struck Eastern Visayas.
In the unedited video, Roxas is heard saying "You have to understand, you are a Romualdez and the President is an Aquino. He is being very careful in just taking over because he doesn't want anything to be misconstrued."
In the press briefing, Roxas said: "Malinaw na ang layunin ng malisyosong video na ito ay ang pagtakpan ang sariling kapabayaan ni Mayor Romualdez bilang halal na opisyal at upang ibaling ang sisi sa national government."
"Mismong si mayor ang lumabag sa kautusan niya na lumikas ang mga mamamayan palayo sa mga danger zones. Nilabag din niya ang kautusan niya na kung code blue sa panaho ng kalamidad, lahat ng opisyal ng city hall ay dapat na pisikal nasa operations center sa city hall," he added.
He went on to say that while he sympathizes with Romualdez, who was also a victim of the massive typhoon, the mayor should stop twisting his facts.
"Hindi habang panahon na ikaw ay biktima. Panahon na para tumindig ka at pangunahan ang pagbangon ng iyong siyudad," he said.
"Nakakahiya na sa taumbayan dahil sa buwis nila nanggagaling ang lahat ng klaseng tulong binubuhos natin sa Tacloban at kabuuan ng Visayas," he added.
The Tacloban mayor has accused the national government of politicizing the relief operations in the typhoon-ravaged city, noting that they refused to deploy more soldiers to the area amid reports of widespread looting and lawlessness.
Romualdez also accused the national government of doing little to help Tacloban.
Roxas, for his part, denied the mayor's allegations and said that the national government just had to be "very careful" in taking over Tacloban so that nothing would be misconstrued later on.
He said they just had to ask Romualdez to write a letter about asking for the national government's help so that "nobody later on can say the president nang-agaw ng kapangyarihan."
He added that even without the supposed letter, they still provided relief to Tacloban, which was among the worst hit areas of Yolanda.