Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez  (MNS photo)

Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) –  “Hindi po ba totoo naman na ang Romualdez ay Romualdez at ang Aquino ay Aquino?

This was how Interior Secretary Mar Roxas defended the remark he made to Tacloban City Mayor Alfred Romualdez in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in November last year.

Roxas said in front of Romualdez that he was aware of the “reality” that the surnames of the mayor and the President may come into play and create “problems.”

Kasi totoo po. Tingnan po niyo ang nangyari ngayon… Tanggap ko po ang realidad na puwede magkaproblema,” Roxas told a congressional inquiry on the government’s response to Yolanda on Thursday.

Although Romualdez was present during the same hearing, he was not able to answer Roxas’s statements.

Before the hearing, Romualdez and Roxas shook hands and even patted each other’s back.

During a hearing last month, Romualdez claimed Roxas told him after Yolanda hit Tacloban City: “We have to be very careful because you are a Romualdez and the president is an Aquino.”

The Tacloban mayor also said Roxas asked him to cede control of the city to the national government instead of immediately responding to the needs of the typhoon victims.

But Roxas belied Romualdez’s claims, saying the mayor took his statements out of context.

Romualdez is the nephew of Imelda Marcos, widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. President Benigno Aquino III’s father, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was assassinated on his return from exile in 1983 under the Marcos presidency. (MNS)