DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Vice Presidential candidate Walden Bello created a stir when he walked past security to the city’s Sangguniang Panglunsod session hall on Wednesday and made a symbolic protest.
In the session hall that declared him ‘persona non grata’ a month ago for his statement that Davao City is “the drug capital of the South”, Bello walked up to the session hall podium and banged the gavel.
Bello later uploaded a photo of him in the session hall and posted, “Today, while presiding at the Davao City Council, I declared all those who declared me persona non grata in Davao persona non grata in the eyes of the Filipino people.”
The vice presidential candidate was in the SP building to obtain a copy of the Davao City Council resolution that declared him persona non grata.
Bello was also in Davao to file his counter-affidavit at the Davao City Office of the Prosecutor on the cyber libel case filed against him by the former Davao City Information Office Jefry Tupas for alleging her involvement in a party-drug raid last November.
Bello, a former Akbayan party-list representative and professor, has been criticizing fellow vice presidential candidate, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, for refusing to attend media forums and debates.
Vice Mayor Sebastian ‘Baste’ Duterte issued a statement on Bello’s entry to the SP session hall.
“The session is open to anyone who desires to attend and observe the proceedings of the council when the Sanggunian is in session and when it is not, entry to the hall is subject to prior coordination with the SP secretary,” Duterte said.
He added that Bello’s action was not clear to him but noted this is part of the elections.
“It is campaign season and this may be their way to gain traction and attention to their ailing campaign or (there might be other reasons) only known to them. Makita ra ninyo kung unsang klase ni nga mga tawo (You will know what kind of persons they are),” the vice mayor said.
Bello responded to Baste Duterte’s statement via a Facebook post.
“Vice Mayor Baste Duterte’s statement on my entry into the Davao legislative house evades the issues,” Bello said on his Facebook page. “What was his sister’s aide doing at a party raided for drugs by PDEA (Philippine Drug Enforcement Authority)? How did his city become the drug capital of the South?” asked Bello, who was here to answer the cyber libel filed against him by former city information officer Jefry Tupas. “Address the questions, Baste,” he said. “Don’t be like your sister, huwag maging talawan (don’t be such a coward),” he said.
Bello was also defiant in a statement on the case filed against him. He was accompanied by his lead counsel, Atty. Luke Espiritu, who is also part of the Laban ng Masa senatorial slate.
“We’re going all the way in the defense of Walden, as his case is emblematic of the wider repression of dissent by the state,” Espiritu said.
Espiritu and Bello said the filing of the cyber libel case is politically motivated, and inconsistent with the facts. (davaotoday.com)