BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Former Gov. Rafael Coscolluela, convenor of Negros for Leni movement, apologized to presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his UniTeam for the heckling incident in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, that involved his group of supporters.
Stressing that the heckling was not premeditated, Coscolluela, said they do not encourage such behavior, “nor will we tolerate the same from among our ranks.”
Certainly, it would never have been allowed if our blessings had been sought, he further stressed.
Even Talisay City Mayor Neil Lizares, one of the 29 Negros Occidental mayors who manifested support to the tandem of Marcos Jr and his running mate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, said “the rude behavior is not and will never be acceptable.”
The City of Talisay will not tolerate this behavior and assures you all that necessary actions will be made after proper investigation, Lizares said.
Videos are circulating in the social media calling Marcos Jr. a “thief” while campaign flyers were thrown at him, as he was trying to reach the hands of the people who were lined up in along the highway of Talisay City, on February 23, during the UniTeam campaign sortie in Negros Occidental.
Vice Gov. Jeffrey Ferrer, an organizer of the UniTeam campaign sorties in Negros Occidental, came to the rescue of Marcos Jr, as he slammed the rudeness of some supporters of a presidential candidate, of which he did not identify.
Ferrer called on supporters of other presidential candidate to “educate their followers.” After all, after the election, we are still one as Negrosanons, Ferrer, who is married to Rep. Juliet Marie Ferrer (4th district, Negros Occ), a granddaughter of the late former Ambassador and Marcos crony Roberto Salas Benedicto, said.
Coscolluela, who is the campaign manager of Robredo in Negros Occidental, stressed that they have consistently exhorted their volunteers to observe proper conduct during the campaign.
It cannot be denied, however, that partisan emotions can run high and result in confrontational actions – albeit done while exercising one’s freedom of speech – that are hateful, hurtful or uncalled for, he added.
It is in this light that I express my deep remorse over what happened, even as I recognize the sentiments that fueled such emotions. I apologize to Mr. Marcos and his companions for the heckling, and I urge everyone to refrain from such actions for the duration of the campaign, Coscolluela further said.
Lizares, on the other hand, said that the acts of the people who attended the caravan are beyond their control.
The action of one person does not define all Talisaynons. We cannot generalize and we have to understand where each one is coming from. But this is not to say that disrespect will be condoned, he added.
While we have different political views and support different candidates, we make sure to exercise our right to choose responsibly. We always believe that our right ends when the right of others begin, Lizares stressed.*