Mar not lusting for power — Korina
PEOPLE - Joanne Rae M. Ramirez (The Philippine Star) - March 12, 2015 - 12:00am

If her husband Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas decides that he’s not running for President in 2016, as many presume he will, no one in their family will lose his bearings. Not even Mar himself.

“We already have an exit plan,” confides broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez during a recent lunch with media. She was pinch-hitting for her husband who couldn’t make it to the lunch because a dialogue with the SAF had taken longer than expected.

“Mar says he wants to be the cashier in a small corner café in New York,” reveals Korina. “And I believe him. He likes talking to taxi drivers and other workers, listening to their opinions and their woes.” He suggests she works as a merchandiser in a boutique, and she will consider it only if it’s in Saks.

“Mar is a very simple person who can be happy without the trappings of a position in government,” says Korina. “A simple life is always an option. And he isn’t lusting for power.”

Korina says nothing has been firmed up at the moment re Mar’s plans in 2016.

Wala pa talaga,” she says, though she has been taking a deliberate low profile on ABS-CBN because she is the wife of the Liberal Party’s presumptive presidential bet.  Presumptive because President Aquino is his mother’s son: They both trust surveys. And it is likely that if the surveys show that Mar is not winnable, both P-Noy and Mar himself won’t force a Roxas candidacy on the Liberal Party.

Ten years ago, Mar Roxas told me that he wanted to be President. “Every instrument in an orchestra has its highest purpose and I believe the presidency is mine.” He also told me then he believed in the saying, “Hinay-hinay pero kanunay (Slowly but surely).” He isn’t the type to make bold and rash decisions.

After our lunch at Gloria Maris in Cubao, Korina was rushing to a speaking engagement before some teenaged girls. Among the five secrets of success she would share to them: 1. Honor, love and serve your parents. 2. Bilib sa sarili (Self-confidence). 3. Dream and plan your dream. 4. Angat ang masipag sa matalino (Hard work trumps intelligence). 5. Pray and believe.

How about marrying the right man?

“Ah, that’s the reward for following the pieces of advice above!” Korina exclaims. You could see she is the poster girl for her own advice, and that she truly believes marrying Mar is a blessing.

She helps him relax, she reveals, by giving him a foot massage at night. And by standing by him through thick and thin. After his heartbreaking loss in the vice presidential race in 2010, they sought solace in the ancestral Araneta home in Baguio, where she quips she learned “how to count lizards on the ceiling.”

She was bored, but the bliss of doing nothing helped Mar heal and regain his zest for life.

After lunch at Gloria Maris, Korina gave away bayongs of native delicacies from all over the Philippines (not cash, excuse me!).

“My husband is a micro manager like me, and he was very specific on what he wanted to give you. A bayong, because he is Mr. Palengke.” Inside the bayong were pastillas from Bulacan, bagnet from Ilocos, laing from Bicol, hopiang sibuyas from Bacolod, among others.

Off camera, Korina doesn’t come on strong at all. She’s so “chill.” She hardly, if ever, stresses a point like other people in media naturally do. She is sweet, and conversational. Now I’ve been with her on several occasions so I don’t think it’s put on — she may put on a front, but she can’t put one on all the time.

Mar is more emotional and you could see he puts his heart and soul on whatever he does. In 2004, he made history by garnering the most votes (19,372,888) ever garnered by a senatorial candidate, a record that has been broken only by Bong Revilla in 2010 and Grace Poe in 2013. Then he was the frontrunner in the 2010 vice presidential polls till the last two minutes of the race.

Where did he go wrong and is there time to catch up? My unsolicited take on that? One: There are some things in life we simply cannot control, like destiny. Even the best micro managers must concede that. And two: Perhaps he should pick up a pointer or two from the five secrets his wife gave to the teenagers.




Celebrating Women

Celebrating National Women’s Day at the House of Representatives are Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. with (from left) Representatives Henedina Abad of Batanes, Herminia Roman of Bataan, Gina de Venecia of Pangasinan and Naida Angping of Manila, former Sen. Helena Benitez, Representatives Sandy Ocampo of Manila and Baby Arenas of Pangasinan, Bellaflor Angara-Castillo of Aurora and Carmen Zamora of Compostela Valley.

In full regalia, the women lawmakers of the House of Representatives celebrated  the International Women’s Day  last Monday with a special all-women session.

Led by Pangasinan Rep. Gina de Venecia, who assumed the speakership, the lady lawmakers stood tall as they ruled the House.

“The gender gap here in our country is slim, as evidenced by the number of women nationalists who hold positions of  privilege and honor in practically all spheres — from the Judiciary, the Cabinet, the business sector and even the military,” said De Venecia, who sparkled with optimism on the prospects of women leaders in the country.

“Even in Congress where the 79 women lawmakers  represent but a third of the entire membership,” De Venecia said, “Women legislators are on par with their male counterparts, in terms of lawmaking prowess.” 

Among the high points of the celebration was the conferment of a commendation to a national treasure, former Sen. Helena Zoila Benitez, for her role in uplifting the status of women.  

Gina, who authored House Resolution 1956, described the former senator  as “a woman of many firsts.” Indeed, Benitez was the first Filipina, the first Asian and the first woman international academic and legislative leader inducted into the Democracy Hall of Fame International in 2003.

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