Tiñga flouted DepEd ban on pols, exec says

Mike Frialde - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Local politicians should refrain from barnstorming in school graduation ceremonies, a Department of Education (DepEd) official in charge of Taguig and Pateros said yesterday.

DepEd Taguig-Pateros administrator George Tizon made the appeal following an incident wherein Taguig District 2 Rep. Sigfrido Tiñga reportedly attempted to go onstage and speak during a graduation ceremony at a District 1 school. This led to a squabble between his security escorts and a city hall employee, Tizon said.

“DepEd Taguig-Pateros is strictly implementing guidelines from the department preventing politicians from using graduation ceremonies for political purposes,” Tizon said.

 â€œBased on the DepEd order, only the incumbent mayor and district representative who has jurisdiction over the school may be allowed to speak,” he added.

Taguig Councilor Carlo Papa said yesterday that barring Tiñga from speaking at a graduation ceremony in a city public school was a sign that Mayor Lani Cayetano has allegedly started to harass her political opponents.

Cayetano is running for re-election against former councilor Rica Tiñga, the congressman’s youngest sibling. Tiñga himself is not running for any post.

Rica’s running mate is Papa while Cayetano’s candidate for vice mayor is Ricardo Cruz Jr.

Repeated warnings

Tiñga, according to Tizon, was not allowed to enter the Taguig City University (TCU), where the graduation rite of the R. Papa High School was being held, because the school is under District 1.

He said that despite repeated warnings to Tiñga regarding the DepEd order, the congressman still insisted on speaking at the Eusebio C. Santos Elementary School, another District 1 school.

In enforcing the DepEd order, the microphone was turned off during Tiñga’s unauthorized speech, prompting his security detail and supporters to manhandle the sound operator, who is also a Taguig City employee.

“The R. Papa High School is in the first district and not in the second district, therefore, Rep. Tiñga should not have insisted on attending the graduation and even to go on stage to speak in the ceremonies there. We are appealing to all politicians to respect and abide by the DepEd order,” Tizon said.

‘Height of disrespect’

In a statement, Papa said that in Tiñga’s “last opportunity to thank teachers, administrators, parents and students during graduation, (he) was cut off in the middle of his speech. This is the height of disrespect.”

He noted that the incident happened in a school that stands on land donated by Tiñga’s grandfather many years ago.

Papa claimed that he, Tiñga, Taguig District 1 Rep. Arnel Cerafica and Councilor Ronet Franco were barred from entering the TCU building on Saturday by personnel of the city government’s public order and safety office (POSO), who said they were not in the guest list.

He said they decided to leave so the gates could be opened and the students allowed to go in.

Later that afternoon, Papa said Tiñga was in the middle of his speech at the Eusebio C. Santos Elementary School when a POSO employee pulled the microphone’s cord, turning it off.

He said angry bystanders chased the POSO employee, but Tiñga asked them to stop. He completed his speech even without a microphone, Papa said.

On Sunday, POSO personnel closed the gates of the Taguig National High School and refused to let Tiñga in, Papa said. It was only upon the intervention of some DepEd officials that the lawmaker was finally allowed entry, he added.


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