Rude UPLB Student During Duterte Q&A Identified, Another Student Slams Rappler (Video)
A student of University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) was heavily criticized for allegedly embarrassing Mayor Rodrigo ‘Rody’ Duterte during the Q&A portion, held this Friday, March 11, 2016. But this Sunday, March 13, UPLB student Ronald Gem Celestial posted an open letter, apologizing to Mayor Duterte and his supporters, but slamming local media, Rappler. Watch video of the Q&A below.
“Today, I was expecting to receive birthday greetings and wishes but due to a misleading video report by Rappler, I have been receiving curses, hate messages, and death threats from some of the supporters of PDP-Laban Presidential bet and Davao City Mayor Hon. Rodrigo Duterte.” Ronald Gem Celestia wrote, admitting as one of the UPLB students who asked a question to Mayor Duterte that day.
According to him, he asked Mayor Rody Duterte about his concrete plans so he can fulfill his promises within the first 6 months as he claims, noting that people are already fed up with the past presidents who broke their promises. In his reply, Duterte admits the federalism is a very long process because people should be first educated. Then, he will call for a Constitutional Convention to make it possible.
However, Celestial noted a video report by Rappler appears to be the one who embarrassed Mayor Duterte. On the said video, you can hear someone saying, “Sir, sana pakisagot lang po ng diretso kasi nagtatanong po kami ng diretso dito para po makauwi na kayo.” (Sir, I hope you answer questions directly because our questions are also directly, so that you already go home afterwards.)
But on the full video of the Q&A, the UPLB student who told the statement to Mayor Duterte asked a different question, and is not Ronald Gem Celestial. The student first noted that if elected president, Duterte will prioritize education over defense. “How can you implement the kind of security in Davao City in the entire country without compensating education, or not increasing the budget for defense?”
On his reply, Mayor Duterte started by saying that the cathedral in Davao City was bombed twice. But before he can continue, the same UPLB student interrupted, telling him to answer his question directly. Although the student acted rudely, Duterte seemed to be not offended and tried to explain his point. He emphasized that improving national defense will be among the priorities of his administration.
“I would like to appeal to everyone to go beyond personal attacks and criticize the real problems that are plaguing our society. If in anyway, I have offended anyone, my sincerest apologies. It was not and will never be our intention to disrespect anyone. Celestial added, noting that, “Rappler and the mainstream media to stop sensationalism…as the May 2016 Philippine elections gets nearer.”
According to Mcmc Facebook page, the arrogant UPLB student is a certain Stephen Villena, whose Facebook page is now deactivated. However, a post at I Believe In A Free Philippines Facebook page revealed that Villena is a friend of one of the daughters of Congresswoman Leni Robredo, who is now the running-mate of former secretary Mar Roxas, the administration candidate.
Below is the full content of the open letter of Ronald Gem Celestial:
AN OPEN LETTER TO Rappler AND TO THE SUPPORTERS OF PDP-LABAN PRESIDENTIAL BET AND DAVAO CITY MAYOR HON. RODRIGO DUTERTE
“Happy Birthday, Gem!”
Today, I was expecting to receive birthday greetings and wishes but due to a misleading video report by Rappler, I have been receiving curses, hate messages, and death threats from some of the supporters of PDP-Laban Presidential bet and Davao City Mayor Hon. Rodrigo Duterte.
Last 11 March 2016, the University of the Philippines Los Banos, through the initiative of the Department of Social Sciences and its partner organizations held a GE conversation on transparency, good governance, and social transform with Mayor Duterte as guest speaker where several media agencies were present to cover the said event.
During the open forum, members of the audience were given a chance to ask Mayor Duterte questions and I was one of the few students who were lucky enough to deliver our question. The question is as follows:
“Ano po ‘yung konkretong aksyon o step by step plan nyo po on realizing your promises kasi sa tingin ko po, sawang sawa na po kasi kaming mga Pilipino sa nakakailang Pangulo na paulit-ulit na lamang po yung mga pangako pero lagi na lamang pong napapako. So ngayon po, ang tanong ko po, how would you materialize all of your promises within the first 6 months as you claim. Thank you.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwE1ubg-Z-0)
However, in a video report by Rappler, it seemed that I was the one who said the following: “Sir, sana pakisagot lang po ng diretso kasi nagtatanong po kami ng diretso dito para po makauwi na kayo.” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvNa3gxgGJY)
It’s quite disappointing that after ABSCBNnews.com’s erroneous news articles on a similar event featuring UNA Presidential bet and Vice President Hon. Jejomar Binay last September 2015, Rappler failed to learn from it and even published a misleading video report. Rappler’s video have misled the netizens and viewers that I, as some of his supporters would say, “disrespected” their bet. This resulted to several of them sending me curses, hate messages and death threats.
I would like to appeal to everyone to go beyond personal attacks and criticize the real problems that are plaguing our society. If in anyway, I have offended anyone, my sincerest apologies. It was not and will never be our intention to disrespect anyone. I believe that forums with national leaders should be used as an avenue to get to know our candidates beyond what they are being portrayed in the mainstream media. I call everyone to maximize these opportunities to know, understand and scrutinize the plans and platforms of our aspiring leaders.
As the 2016 Presidential Election draws near, I call Rappler and the mainstream media to stop sensationalism and be genuine vanguards of the society by reporting the struggles of the Filipino people and calling everyone to action.