Tarlac City stresses 'unity' after Ninoy statue 'inadvertently' blocked from view by tent at rally

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Tarlac City stresses 'unity' after Ninoy statue 'inadvertently' blocked from view by tent at rally
Monument of the late former Sen. Ninoy Aquino blocked by a tent in the grand rally ng BBM-Sara UniTeam sa Palazuela, Tarlac City on April 2, 2022.
News5 / Marianne Enriquez

MANILA, Philippines — The city government of Tarlac said it meant no disrespect when the monument of the late Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. was blocked from view by a tent put up during a political rally for presidential aspirant Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., the son of the strongman whom Aquino had opposed and under whose administration he was assassinated.

In a statement on Monday, City Administrator Numer Lobo said "the incident was inadvertent, nothing intentional."

In a tweet report by News 5, the monument to Aquino is seen covered by the top part of the tent for the grand rally in Palazuela, Tarlac City. Social media users also did not take the report well, calling it a disrespect to a fellow Tarlaqueño they deem as a hero.

The city government however said the tent was “originally located at a considerable distance” from the monument and the gap was "spacious enough to separate the tent from the monument".

In a long winded-explanation, Lobo said the tent may had been "inadvertently moved" near the monument due to the volume of the people of the rally and those seeking respite from the heat of the sun. He did not say who moved the tent.

As seen in the photo, the tent was right smack at the face of Aquino’s monument.

Echoing the UniTeam call against so-called negative campaigning, the city government said it was disappointed that the event had prompted "divisiveness" instead of discussion of the UniTeam's platforms.

Nearly parroting the campaign's talking points, the city government said this incident "is not reflective of the whole event and contradictory to its message of hope, positivity and UNITY."

Days before the UniTeam rally was held, supporters of Marcos’ closest rival Vice President Leni Robredo said the dictator’s son is unwelcome in their province.

"Tarlacquenos are not dishonest. We are not tax evaders and revisionists of history and his visit does not sit well with the peace-loving and good citizens of Tarlac,” they added.

But their mayor, Cristy Angeles, may have a different view. Again taking a line from the UniTeam that she has pledged to support, Angeles told reporters last weekend: "Pabayaan na natin yung mga bumabatikos. It’s time for forgiveness and healing, mag u-unite tayo"

(Let us not mind those who criticize. It’s time for forgiveness and healing. We will unite.)

Survey frontrunner Marcos has been presenting himself as a unifying leader, who has also said he wishes to woo victims of his father’s brutal Martial Law regime with his good programs even as he refused to apologize to them.

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