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Comic book depicting Mar Roxas as 'Yolanda' hero draws flak

The cover of the comic book depicting former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas as a hero during a typhoon. Alexis Romero

MANILA, Philippines - A comic book depicting Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II as a hero during the height of typhoon “Yolanda” has drawn flak from critics who dismissed it as an attempt to twist facts.

The 28-page comic book titled “Sa Gitna ng Unos” (In the middle of a storm) was distributed during an LP sortie in Cavite last Sunday. The comics claimed to be based on true events.

Its cover featured a drawing of Roxas leading residents to safety while huge waves wash out cars and trees on the background.

The comic book also served as a response to critics who claimed that Roxas did not do enough during the aftermath of typhoon “Yolanda,” which left more than 6,000 persons dead in 2013. 

The comics, which was supposed to enhance the image of Roxas, was pummeled by critics who believe that his supporters are fooling the public. Online comments even labeled Roxas as a “liar” and a “trying hard” who wants to rewrite history.    

The media bureau of Roxas did not owe up to the publication and distribution of the comics. Roxas’s spokesman Ibarra Gutierrez, however, claimed that the comic books were made by supporters who want to inform the public about the LP presidential bet’s deeds.

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“This was made due to the continued spread of lies about his deeds. Dramatization is an important part of the medium. We have long shown the truth about Mar's actions in Yolanda. His record is clear, and we stand by it,” Gutierrez said in a statement.

The highlights and claims of the comic book include:

- Roxas fell from a motorcycle in Northern Samar because of strong winds. The episode was much ridiculed in social networking sites, with critics saying that Roxas merely wanted to gain publicity.

-  Roxas did not mind the tirades against him because he thinks that mitigating the impact of typhoon “Ruby” is more important.

- It stressed that the Mamasapano operation, which left 44 police commandos dead, was hidden from Mar by a suspended police chief. The comics said Roxas was with Aquino in Zamboanga when the bloody clash erupted.

- The comics depicted the Roxas family favorably.

- Those who are involved in illegal activities want to tarnish Roxas's name.

- Comics showed Aquino telling Roxas that many are angry with him because he is capable.

- Roxas faced dangers because of “Yolanda.” He was shown assisting and caring for people in a hotel during the height of the typhoon. His wife, broadcaster Korina Sanchez, felt nervous after losing contact with him.

- The video allegedly showing Roxas dictating on Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez with regard to relief operations was spliced. The comics claimed that the video, which was meant to discredit Roxas, was highlighted by the gullible (“mapaniwalaing”) members of the media.

- The Aquino administration allotted enough funds to areas hit by typhoon “Yolanda.”

- Korina Sanchez was described as a beautiful broadcaster who has the courage to fight corruption and who has a heart for the needy. According to the comics, she and Roxas had opted for a simple wedding so they can donate money to victims of tropical storm “Ondoy.”

- The comics also highlighted Roxas advocacies as senator including lowering the cost of medicine, providing income tax exemption to minimum wage earners.

- Roxas lost the vice presidential race in 2010 due to circumstances that cannot be explained. The comics claimed that Roxas’s 2 million votes in the Visayas was not counted.

- Roxas gave way to Aquino in 2010 because he thinks the country is more important than his personal ambition.

- Roxas is a good father to his son Paolo.

The comic book did not give much attention to Roxas’s stint as transportation secretary, which was marred with controversy because of the Metro Rail Transit maintenance deal.

The comic book ended with the endorsement of Roxas as the LP standard bearer for the 2016 election.

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