“Expect this because you’re in Davao”: young Leni supporters warned after joining caravan

Feb. 10, 2022

An unidentified person harassed the volunteers of Davao Youth for Leni in their headquarters in Davao City on Wednesday afternoon, February 9.(photo courtesy of Davao Youth for Leni)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Volunteers of the Davao Youth for Leni were harassed by an unidentified person in their headquarters following their caravan Wednesday.

In a statement, the Davao Youth for Leni said the incident happened in the afternoon, when they were resting in the Davao for Leni headquarters along Villa Abrille Street after their motorcade when a person approached them by the door.

In the statement, they describe the person as someone in his 40s who first asked how the caravan went.

“We thought he was a supporter so we responded to his query. Then he changed his tone and started to speak violently and aggressively. He accused us of being ‘bayaran’ (paid off) and ‘mga bata pa mo’ (you are all still young),” the statement said.

In an interview, Rose Quimod, one of the group organizers said she and two others approached the person to calm him down but he continued to throw insults.

“He kept on repeating na dili daw mi mag ingon na ang Davao para kay leni (that we shouldn’t say that Davao is for Leni). He said he saw one of the organizers said that in an interview,” Quimod said.

Quimod said they tried to ask the person to go to the Robredo People’s Council (RPC) office to raise his agenda.

“But after we answered his queries na shift na iyang gina-ingon na mga bata pa daw mi, as if insisting na wala miy alam regarding elections daw. He also stated na maayo daw ang pamalakad sa current president this pandemic,” she narrated.

(He shifted to another topic, saying we are still young, insisting we know nothing about the elections. He also stated the president is performing well in the pandemic.)

According to Quimod, the person told them to expect more of these threats.

“Sabi nya expected na daw po dapat namin ang mga ganung event kay naa daw mi sa Davao City (He said we should expect this because we are in Davao City),” said Quimod.

Davao City is the bailiwick of the present Duterte administration. Mayor Sara is now running for the vice presidency, while brothers Baste and Paulo ‘Polong’ are running for the mayoral and district representative positions respectively.

The Davao for Leni supporters have been bashed online during their campaign activities. But this is the first incident where a person has confronted face-to-face with volunteers.

The youth group’s statement said that when the person left, they checked the logbook for his identity.

“We called the security guard and checked the logbook. He logged as “Antonio Luna” with a cellphone number that is incomprehensible. The security guard then informed that he noticed the man surveilling the premises before entering the building.”

Quimod said the person also went to the RPC office in Tulip Drive, Matina.

Both groups said they will report this to authorities. They are also going to take more security measures after this incident, according to Quimod.

Her group said they are not perturbed by this incident.

“In response to his verbal attacks we asserted and responded that Davao is not owned by any one group or family and that Davaoeños are respectful and are law-abiding people. We believe that Davaoeños welcome ideas which may not be always aligned with those of others. Davao is home to diverse people with diverse beliefs. It is a place for radical love,” their statement reads.

Davao City First District representative candidate Mags Maglana, who is supporting Robredo, condemned the incident.

“This is a violation to the right to free expression and political rights guaranteed by law. This warning on the youth that more threats will come because they are in Davao is worrisome and must be acted upon by authorities,” she said in her social media account (translated from Bisaya).

“We want to motivate the people of Davao in the 2022 elections. But this will not happen if these attacks on people who hold different views and stands will persist.”

“Harassment in elections has no space in democratic institutions and an occasion where people will choose and give legitimate mandates to people who vie for leadership and service,” Maglana added. (davaotoday.com)

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