PALACE BLAMES MEDIA FOR UPROAR OVER PACMAN TAX WOES

Malacañang has again defended Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares and blamed the media for the uproar over talks about the tax liabilities of Sarangani Rep. and ring icon Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao. Henares was on radio reminding Pacquiao of his tax obligation shortly after his victory over American boxer Timothy Bradley. Critics and netizens criticized Henares, saying that the BIR chief was trying to be a “spoiler” to Pacquiao’s current happiness. But, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. stressed that it was the media who asked Henares about Pacquiao’s tax obligations. “Si Commissioner Henares po ay tinanong ng mga kagawad ng media at bilang isang public official tungkulin po niyang sumagot, lalong-lalo na kung ang isyu na tinanong sa kanya ay of public interest [Commissioner Henares was asked by media practitioners about it and as a public official, it is her task to respond, especially if the question is of public interest],” Coloma told reporters in a press conference.

(ALSO) Aquino's Lenten message: Pinoys must sacrifice for others

President Benigno Aquino III prays during the Thanksgiving Mass for the reopening of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral) in Cabildo corner Beaterio, Intramuros, Manila City on Wednesday night (April 9). The Manila Cathedral was originally built in 1581 but has since been destroyed and rebuilt several times due to fire, earthquakes, typhoons and bombings in World War II. Also in photo is Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada. Robert Viñas/Malacañang Photo Bureau MANILA, Philippines - Just like Christ who willingly suffered and offered His life for the world's salvation, Filipinos should also be ready to accept the burden of sacrifice for their countrymen, President Benigno Aquino III said. In his Lenten message, Aquino said the Lord's suffering and death on the cross should serve as an inspiration for Filipinos as they face their own crossroads in life. Aquino said as the nation tries to tread the straight path of good governance, Filipinos should also learn how to make their own acts of sacrifice to overcome the trials along the way. "Sa atin nga pong pagtahak sa "Tuwid na Daan", humaharap tayo sa mga pagsubok. Ang panawagan po sa atin: bilang kanyang mga tagasunod, nawa'y maging handa rin tayong tumanggap ng sarili nating mga sakripisyo," the President said. READ MORE...

(ALSO) PNoy: Sorry for NAIA-3 aircon woes

President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday apologized to the traveling public for the delay in the delivery of new air conditioning chillers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.Speaking to reporters after inspecting NAIA and the Manila North Harbor this afternoon, Aquino said new chillers for the Terminal 1 air conditioning system were ordered in November 2013 but they will only be delivered this August. "Humihingi tayo ng paumanhin at pasensya pero talagang sa higpit ng mga patakaran sa gobyerno... hindi naman pwedeng umorder ka ngayon at i-deliver within 30 days," Aquino said in his televised interview with media. Aquino said he has yet to hear the feedback of concerned authorities as to why the delivery of the new chillers will take longer than four months, which he said is the usual government procurement period under the law. On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation and Communications also apologized and explained that the temperature inside the NAIA Terminal 1 was affected by the ongoing rehabilitation works at the airport.

ALSO: Palace debunks ‘Pres. Mar’ pitch

THE Palace admonished Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for referring to Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas II as “President Mar” in a public event over the weekend, saying the Aquino administration is not yet on “election mode.” Abaya drew flak after referring to Roxas by that name during a visit to areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda in Roxas City. “We’re not on election mode, to put it quite frankly,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said. But Valte said Abaya may have only been trying to lighten the mood in Barangay Culasi during the groundbreaking of the Coast Guard’s search and rescue base. “I understand that his follow up statement was that he referred to Secretary Roxas also as president of the Liberal Party, which is why he called him like that,” Valte said.“Perhaps Secretary Abaya was really just joking. I don’t think any offense was meant by that nor was it meant to signal anything,” she added.

ALSO: Wack Wack probes Mar ‘outburst’

Did the secretary of the interior and local government go out of bounds? The Wack Wack Golf and Country Club is investigating a complaint that Manuel Roxas II berated and cussed employees of the club for demanding that he pay the green fee for a golf pro he had invited to give golf lessons to his guest. Roxas is a registered member of the exclusive club, where the green fee is P5,100 per head. A report submitted to the Wack Wack administration showed the incident took place on April 6, a Sunday, at around noon at the club’s registration office. Before the incident, Roxas informed the staff that his guest would be getting golf lessons from golf pro Rey Pagunsan. The incident was first reported by GMA 7 broadcaster Arnold Clavio in his Abante column. The names of the staff involved were not mentioned. On being told that he needed to pay the green fee of P5,100 for Pagunsan, Roxas reportedly lost his cool and shouted at the staff member. “T___ina! Kailan pa nagkaroon ng ganyang rules (Since when did the club have these rules)?” Roxas reportedly told off another staff. When one of the club’s staff insisted that Roxas pay the fee, the DILG chief reportedly shot back: “T____ ina! Walang presi-presidente sa akin!” It was not clear why he made reference to a president or whether he was referring to club president Philip Ella Juico.

ALSO: DILG chief apologizes, denies cussing

It was an “unfortunate incident” that will form part of his Lenten reflection. Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said this yesterday as he admitted getting upset after he was required by a staff of the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong to pay the green fee of a guest last April 6. An incident report was submitted to the Wack Wack membership committee against Roxas, one of its registered members. He purportedly berated a staff in the golf course for requiring him to pay the green fee. Roxas admitted becoming upset over it but denied scolding or swearing at anyone. A remorseful Roxas nonetheless apologized for the incident, saying it was a result of apparent confusion over the new policy at Wack Wack. “If there is something wrong in what I did, I sincerely apologize for hurting someone. There was a misunderstanding on my part, for which I apologize. I direct my apology to the Wack Wack family,” Roxas said in Filipino.

ALSO: Lawmakers defend Mar over Wack Wack incident

Congressmen yesterday defended Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II over an incident at a golf club where he reportedly blew his top. “I can understand how Secretary Roxas could have been upset by the situation, but I believe that he would not have cursed anyone. I have known him since he was majority leader in the House of Representatives in 1998 and have never known him to badmouth anyone,” Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said. “To his credit, Secretary Roxas apologized even as he denied the accusation against him. Secretary Roxas is a good and decent man and you can never put a good man down,” he said. Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr. said it was “implausible for Mar to do that unless he was typically provoked by the usual Wack Wack Golf Club’s inconsistent policies.” “Normally, the payment for a guest is automatically charged by the club to the member upon his registration. Not during tee-off when everyone is preparing to hit the ball,” he said. “Mar, whose familial heritage has survived economic modulations over a century, is not a elitist. Until now, Mar remains a most humble, down-to-earth person in the P-Noy Cabinet,” he added. Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said it was out of character for Roxas to blow his top and berate someone as reported, “at least not on a small issue like a P5,100 guest fee.”


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Palace blames media for uproar over Pacquiao tax woes

MANILA, APRIL 21, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) Malacañang has again defended Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Henares and blamed the media for the uproar over talks about the tax liabilities of Sarangani Rep. and ring icon Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.

Henares was on radio reminding Pacquiao of his tax obligation shortly after his victory over American boxer Timothy Bradley.

Critics and netizens criticized Henares, saying that the BIR chief was trying to be a “spoiler” to Pacquiao’s current happiness.

But, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. stressed that it was the media who asked Henares about Pacquiao’s tax obligations.

“Si Commissioner Henares po ay tinanong ng mga kagawad ng media at bilang isang public official tungkulin po niyang sumagot, lalong-lalo na kung ang isyu na tinanong sa kanya ay of public interest [Commissioner Henares was asked by media practitioners about it and as a public official, it is her task to respond, especially if the question is of public interest],” Coloma told reporters in a press conference.

“Kaya siguro kailangang linawin na hindi naman siya ang nagpasimuno o nagbukas ng usapan dahil meron tayong naririnig na ibang kuro-kuro na para naman daw spoiler si Commissioner. Hindi naman po yata ganoon ang pangyayari [That's why there is a need to clarify that she was not the one who started the discussion becuase we've been hearing comments on the Commissioner being a spoiler. That's not how it happened],” he added

It can be recalled that reports from the BIR last year showed that Pacquiao had unpaid tax liabilities for 2008 and 2009.

According to Palace deputy spokesman Abigail Valte, the BIR has been working with Pacquiao on how they can best settle the liabilities.

“As far as I know from Commissioner Henares, they have been working with Congressman Pacquiao on his [unpaid tax liabilities],” Valte said.

She also defended Henares from criticisms, saying that the commissioner was just doing her job.
“I don’t think that she meant to be a spoiler [of] his victory,” the Palace official said.

She added that the BIR does not mean to be “hard” on Pacquiao and that Henares’ statement should not be taken to mean that collecting taxes from the lawmaker is more important than the honor he brought the country.

“What Commissioner Henares said earlier was that they are talking with the camp of Pacman to look for other remedies to his liabilities. We don’t mean to make it hard for Congressman Pacquiao,” she said. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

Aquino's Lenten message: Pinoys must sacrifice for others By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated April 16, 2014 - 3:12pm 1 27 googleplus0 0


President Benigno Aquino III prays during the Thanksgiving Mass for the reopening of the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral) in Cabildo corner Beaterio, Intramuros, Manila City on Wednesday night (April 9). The Manila Cathedral was originally built in 1581 but has since been destroyed and rebuilt several times due to fire, earthquakes, typhoons and bombings in World War II. Also in photo is Manila City Mayor Joseph Estrada. Robert Viñas/Malacañang Photo Bureau

MANILA, Philippines - Just like Christ who willingly suffered and offered His life for the world's salvation, Filipinos should also be ready to accept the burden of sacrifice for their countrymen, President Benigno Aquino III said.

In his Lenten message, Aquino said the Lord's suffering and death on the cross should serve as an inspiration for Filipinos as they face their own crossroads in life.

Aquino said as the nation tries to tread the straight path of good governance, Filipinos should also learn how to make their own acts of sacrifice to overcome the trials along the way.

"Sa atin nga pong pagtahak sa "Tuwid na Daan", humaharap tayo sa mga pagsubok. Ang panawagan po sa atin: bilang kanyang mga tagasunod, nawa'y maging handa rin tayong tumanggap ng sarili nating mga sakripisyo," the President said.

"Tiyak naman pong lahat ng ating pinaghirapan ay may positibong ambag para sa ikabubuti ng mas nakakarami. At di po ba, napakaliit lamang ng hinihingi sa atin kumpara sa ibinigay ni Hesukristo?" Aquino added.

The President also reminded Filipinos to stay humble, compassionate and good for others even after the Holy Week.

He said the prayers and reflections this week are only preparations for having a life following the Lord's footsteps.

PNoy: Sorry for NAIA aircon woes By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) | Updated April 16, 2014 - 5:08pm 6 99 googleplus0 0


President Aquino with civil aviation and security officials and personnel at the NAIA Terminal 3 on Wednesday. DOTC Twitter account

MANILA, Philippines - President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday apologized to the traveling public for the delay in the delivery of new air conditioning chillers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1.

Speaking to reporters after inspecting NAIA and the Manila North Harbor this afternoon, Aquino said new chillers for the Terminal 1 air conditioning system were ordered in November 2013 but they will only be delivered this August.

"Humihingi tayo ng paumanhin at pasensya pero talagang sa higpit ng mga patakaran sa gobyerno... hindi naman pwedeng umorder ka ngayon at i-deliver within 30 days," Aquino said in his televised interview with media.

Aquino said he has yet to hear the feedback of concerned authorities as to why the delivery of the new chillers will take longer than four months, which he said is the usual government procurement period under the law.

On Wednesday, the Department of Transportation and Communications also apologized and explained that the temperature inside the NAIA Terminal 1 was affected by the ongoing rehabilitation works at the airport.

The Terminal 1 management from the Manila International Airport Authority also explained that certain air handling units had to be shut off to prevent dust and particles from being sucked into the air conditioning system to prevent endangering the entire system.

The President is inspecting the metro's bus terminals, air and sea ports this afternoon to ensure the safety of passengers heading to the provinces and vacation spots for the Lenten break.

FROM MANILA STANDARD

Palace debunks ‘Pres. Mar’ pitch By Joyce Pangco Panares, Christine F. Herrera | Apr. 15, 2014 at 12:01am

Twits Abaya for ad-lib, says govt not yet on election mode


MAR ROXAS

THE Palace admonished Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya for referring to Interior and Local Governments Secretary Manuel Roxas II as “President Mar” in a public event over the weekend, saying the Aquino administration is not yet on “election mode.”

Abaya drew flak after referring to Roxas by that name during a visit to areas devastated by super typhoon Yolanda in Roxas City.

“We’re not on election mode, to put it quite frankly,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.

But Valte said Abaya may have only been trying to lighten the mood in Barangay Culasi during the groundbreaking of the Coast Guard’s search and rescue base.

“I understand that his follow up statement was that he referred to Secretary Roxas also as president of the Liberal Party, which is why he called him like that,” Valte said.

“Perhaps Secretary Abaya was really just joking. I don’t think any offense was meant by that nor was it meant to signal anything,” she added.

When told that perhaps Abaya should give priority to his job first before cracking possible half-meant jokes, Valte said she would pass on the message.

Last month, Abaya was also reminded by the Palace that he is not in a position to say who will be the Liberal Party’s standard bearer for the 2016 elections.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said there is no decision yet whether Roxas will be the administration bet for the presidential race, as Abaya had said.

“The Liberal Party has not started the selection process, and the President already said that he will announce it (standard bearer) at the proper time,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said Abaya was only making a personal opinion, which was not the official position of the Liberal Party.

“Let’s wait until the President’s final imprimatur as to who his choice will be. Let’s just wait for that,” he said.

“We can hear other people saying (it’s Roxas) but it’s not the President (saying that),” Lacierda added.

President Benigno Aquino III has said he has yet to choose the Liberal Party’s next standard bearer.

“I will announce at the appropriate time. Right now I am focused on the problems facing our country instead of the 2016 elections,” Aquino said.

“We are just in the first quarter of 2014 and I think the public will understand if that is not our priority. The rainy season is just around the corner as well and we have to prepare for it,” the President added.

The leftist bloc in the House again slammed Abaya for acting as Roxas’ “primary rah-rah boy and campaign manager” instead of attending to the needs of suffering Metro Rail Transit commuters.

The militant lawmakers also accused the ranking officials of the ruling Liberal Party led by President Aquino, Roxas and Abaya of using the Yolanda funds to advance their political ambitions.

Bayan Muna Rep. Isagani Carlos Zarate said the open campaigning took place at the groundbreaking rites for two multi-million-peso infrastructure projects in Roxas City, Capiz.

“Abaya is at it again,” Zarate said.

“At the event, Secretary Abaya said ‘Thank you, President Mar Roxas,’ addressing Roxas after the latter introduced Abaya as the guest speaker at the groundbreaking for the Philippine Coast Guard’s search and rescue base in Barangay Culasi.”

“He is the president of our party and of our future plans and endeavors,” Abaya added.

Zarate said: “This is very frustrating especially since MRT-LRT commuters are suffering the daily penitence of endless lines, computer glitches, non-working elevators and escalators, sardine-packed coaches, accidents and many more but the government official tasked to solve these problems is already doing his rounds as the campaign manager of Mar for the 2016 elections,” Zarate lamented.

“Besides it seems that they are using the donations for the Yolanda victims to advance their political ambitions,” he said.

Zarate said Abaya should focus on solving the problems besetting the MRT instead of promoting the presidential ambitions of Roxas.

The leftist bloc in the House earlier chided Abaya for claiming that the Liberals would field Roxas as the party’s standard bearer, a claim the Palace immediately dismissed.

Abaya’s announcement came amid complaints by MRT riders who had to bear with kilometer-long queues and amid the $30-million extortion scandal that has engulfed MRT general manager Al Vitangcol III, whose agency is under Abaya.

“Aside from these constant MRT operational problems, there are also a slew of other unresolved issues that hound the MRT-LRT: from the extortion attempt on a Czech company, to the supposed rigged bidding on the unified ticketing system and common terminals and the MRT7 extension,” Zarate said.

These issues, he said, were now with the various committees in the House for investigation.

Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon reiterated his view that the 48 new MRT coaches ordered from China might become white elephants because the government had no power to take over the MRT-3 operations from the private consortium that owns it.

Ridon blamed Abaya, Vitangcol and the Aquino government for doing nothing for the past three years when they knew the problem of long queues was inevitable.

“Vitangcol and Abaya announced that the new coaches would start arriving next year yet. And there is no guarantee that these coaches can be attached because of the ongoing independent international arbitration in Singapore,” Ridon said, referring to the case filed by the private owners. “Meanwhile, the DOTC-MRT has no concrete solution to remedy the MRT problems that burden the commuters.”

FROM PHILSTAR

Wack Wack probes Mar ‘outburst’ (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 17, 2014 - 1:00am 59 3265 googleplus0 1

MANILA, Philippines - Did the secretary of the interior and local government go out of bounds?

The Wack Wack Golf and Country Club is investigating a complaint that Manuel Roxas II berated and cussed employees of the club for demanding that he pay the green fee for a golf pro he had invited to give golf lessons to his guest.

Roxas is a registered member of the exclusive club, where the green fee is P5,100 per head.

A report submitted to the Wack Wack administration showed the incident took place on April 6, a Sunday, at around noon at the club’s registration office.

Before the incident, Roxas informed the staff that his guest would be getting golf lessons from golf pro Rey Pagunsan.

The incident was first reported by GMA 7 broadcaster Arnold Clavio in his Abante column. The names of the staff involved were not mentioned.

On being told that he needed to pay the green fee of P5,100 for Pagunsan, Roxas reportedly lost his cool and shouted at the staff member.

“T___ina! Kailan pa nagkaroon ng ganyang rules (Since when did the club have these rules)?” Roxas reportedly told off another staff.

When one of the club’s staff insisted that Roxas pay the fee, the DILG chief reportedly shot back: “T____ ina! Walang presi-presidente sa akin!” It was not clear why he made reference to a president or whether he was referring to club president Philip Ella Juico.

The club personnel then told Roxas that they would just call the general manager to help clear things up. But again Roxas allegedly shouted, “T____ ina! Walang bawal-bawal sa akin!”(Nothing is prohibited with me.)

A witness recalled that the commotion attracted the attention of Roxas’ wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez, who asked if there was a problem. Roxas answered, “Walang bawal, bawal sa akin!” Roxas eventually left the registration office.

When he was about to tee off, another course employee reportedly asked for the receipt of the green fee but Roxas snarled at him.

Club membership chairman Frederico “Butch” Campos Jr. declined to comment when reached by The STAR and referred the issue to Juico, who said they would investigate the incident after the Holy Week break.

“We will look into it. We will study Sec. Mar Roxas’ letter and invite those involved in the incident. But since it’s Holy Week, we can only act on this next week and hopefully come up with a decision,” said Juico, who received the report upon his arrival Tuesday after covering the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley rematch for Solar Sports.

Roxas earlier sent a letter to club members giving his side.

Pagunsan, for his part, denied that Roxas had badmouthed any of the club’s personnel. “Basta sinabi lang niya na babayaran na lang niya yung green fee ko pagkatapos ng laro namin (He just told them that he would pay my green fee after our game),”

“Pero noong pa tee-off na kami sa backnine ay sinabihan na naman kami na dapat daw bayaran yung green fee ko (But when we were teeing off in the backnine, we were told again to pay the green fee),” he said.

“Kung anu-ano na ngang balita ang lumabas pero kahit saan, kahit kanino pwede akong magsalita sa kung ano talaga ang nangyari (A lot of stories were making the rounds but I can tell what really happened, to everyone and anywhere),” said Pagunsan.

Members behaving badly

The rich are different from you and me, F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said. So does that mean the rich – and the powerful – follow a different set of rules?

Wack Wack Golf & Country Club in Mandaluyong City, undoubtedly an enclave of the rich where a proprietary share goes for around P16 million, is currently embroiled in a controversy involving a rich and powerful government official and the rules of the club regarding guests playing on its fabled courses.

Non-members are charged P5,000 green fee plus P100 for the caddie retirement fund for the club’s East Course on weekends. The fee is levied on any non-member who goes out on the course, whether or not he/she actually plays. This applies to teaching pros and the occasional – though discouraged – bodyguard, as was the case recently of a diplomat who apparently got special permission to bring his bodyguard with him due to security threats.

The exemption to this payment rule is for nurses or caregivers of elderly members or those with serious medical conditions who still want their dose of swings and putts.

Wack Wack has had its share of controversy and scandal over its 84-year history. Most famous of these is perhaps the “back off!” and “may P200 ka dyan” incidents of 2008 that supposedly took place at the club involving major players – some of them high government officials – in the scuttled national broadband network deal between the government and Chinese firm ZTE Corp.

That particular scandal hit the headlines and merited a full-blown Senate inquiry.

Members behaving badly are, unfortunately, not all that uncommon. A lawyer-member was suspended for a year for assaulting a waiter. Another was kicked out of the club for repeated incidents of temper outbursts and violence – including dousing a hapless server with a glass of water – and delinquency in settling his account.

A nominee – one endorsed to use the share of another – was not renewed when his endorsement expired for attempted assault on a fellow member in an altercation in the club’s parking lot. The former apparently resented the latter’s sounding his car horn at him.

Another case currently pending before the club’s membership committee which hears disciplinary cases involves a new member who assaulted a caddie, because his brother – who is the member’s regular caddie – allegedly stole money from the member.

The next meeting of the seven-member committee, scheduled for early next month. – Dante Navarro, Charmie Joy Pagulong, Cecille Suerte Felipe

DILG chief apologizes, denies cussing By Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 17, 2014 - 1:00am 43 1601 googleplus0 1

MANILA, Philippines - It was an “unfortunate incident” that will form part of his Lenten reflection.

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said this yesterday as he admitted getting upset after he was required by a staff of the Wack Wack Golf and Country Club in Mandaluyong to pay the green fee of a guest last April 6.

An incident report was submitted to the Wack Wack membership committee against Roxas, one of its registered members.

He purportedly berated a staff in the golf course for requiring him to pay the green fee.

Roxas admitted becoming upset over it but denied scolding or swearing at anyone.

A remorseful Roxas nonetheless apologized for the incident, saying it was a result of apparent confusion over the new policy at Wack Wack.

“If there is something wrong in what I did, I sincerely apologize for hurting someone. There was a misunderstanding on my part, for which I apologize. I direct my apology to the Wack Wack family,” Roxas said in Filipino.

“This incident would form part of my reflection for this Lenten season,” Roxas told The STAR. A key member of the Cabinet of President Aquino, Roxas is one of the regular members of the exclusive golf and country club frequented not only by private golf aficionados but also by many government officials.

“Wack Wack is like a second home to me. I have been playing golf there since I was eight years old. I inherited the shares at Wack Wack from my late father,” he said.

Roxas sent a text message explaining the incident resulting from an apparent confusion over the new policy involving the green fee of a guest.

“There was misunderstanding over the policy requiring the payment of green fee by someone merely standing nearby who is not even a player. I later learned there was a new policy,” he said.

Although he got upset, Roxas clarified he did not berate or cuss at anyone. What came out were words of exasperation due to an unexpected situation and which were not directed to any person, he said.

“Out of my frustration, I got upset. But I did not direct it against someone and most of all, I did not swear at someone,” Roxas said.

Nonetheless, Roxas said he would settle the green fee as required by the house rules of the golf club.

Lawmakers defend Mar over Wack Wack incident (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 20, 2014 - 12:00am 0 7 googleplus0 0


PHILIPPINE LEGISLATURE

MANILA, Philippines - Congressmen yesterday defended Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II over an incident at a golf club where he reportedly blew his top.

“I can understand how Secretary Roxas could have been upset by the situation, but I believe that he would not have cursed anyone. I have known him since he was majority leader in the House of Representatives in 1998 and have never known him to badmouth anyone,” Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said.

“To his credit, Secretary Roxas apologized even as he denied the accusation against him. Secretary Roxas is a good and decent man and you can never put a good man down,” he said.

Aklan Rep. Teodorico Haresco Jr. said it was “implausible for Mar to do that unless he was typically provoked by the usual Wack Wack Golf Club’s inconsistent policies.”

“Normally, the payment for a guest is automatically charged by the club to the member upon his registration. Not during tee-off when everyone is preparing to hit the ball,” he said.

“Mar, whose familial heritage has survived economic modulations over a century, is not a elitist. Until now, Mar remains a most humble, down-to-earth person in the P-Noy Cabinet,” he added.

Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone said it was out of character for Roxas to blow his top and berate someone as reported, “at least not on a small issue like a P5,100 guest fee.”

“He always keeps his cool and equanimity. That was very evident in his now famous meeting with the mayor of Tacloban City shortly after Super Typhoon Yolanda struck. The video footage that was apparently secretly taken shows that he did raise his voice,” he said.

Evardone said he would not be surprised if political enemies of Roxas would exploit the golf club incident.

The Wack Wack Golf and Country Club is investigating a complaint that Roxas berated and cussed employees of the club for demanding that he pay the green fee for a golf pro he had invited to give golf lessons to his guest.

Roxas is a registered member of the exclusive club, where the green fee is P5,100 per head.

A report submitted to the Wack Wack administration showed the incident took place on April 6, a Sunday, at around noon at the club’s registration office.

Before the incident, Roxas informed the staff that his guest would be getting golf lessons from golf pro Rey Pagunsan.

The incident was first reported by GMA 7 broadcaster Arnold Clavio in his Abante column. The names of the staff involved were not mentioned.

On being told that he needed to pay the green fee of P5,100 for Pagunsan, Roxas reportedly lost his cool and shouted at the staff member.

Roxas has admitted getting upset over being required to pay the fee for a non-playing golf professional who was teaching his guest shortly before they were about to tee off.

He apologized over the incident, saying there was a misunderstanding but also denied swearing at someone.

“Out of my frustration, I got upset. But I did not direct it against someone and most of all, I did not swear at someone,” he added.

Roxas subsequently promised to pay the green fee for the non-playing golf instructor as required by club rules.
 


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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