Heckling Presidents Aquino and Obama
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - June 24, 2014 - 12:00am

ORLANDO, Florida: Over the weekend it was Universal Studios for us, but this time we went to Island Adventures just beside it because we already saw Universal Studios in Singapore a couple of years ago and 70% of their attractions were very much the same. Island Adventure has the Harry Potter series, including two awesome roller coaster rides. I submit even in my age, I still love riding roller coasters, which is one thing I look forward to whenever I come visiting the US.

So at the first opportunity, I rode “The Hulk” because it was still very early and the lines were not that long. The Hulk was truly a thrilling ride with twist and turns that test your ability to handle extreme “G” forces that were out of this world! That ride was so twisty and lasted only 45 seconds!

It was then that I found out that my iPhone must have flown out of my pocket! Yup…it wasn’t on my seat when I asked a supervisor to inspect my seat. I was asked to go to the Lost & Found section, which I did later in the afternoon. Americans are an honest race… I saw five cellphones in there…but none of it was mine. Hmmm, this trip is getting to be expensive!

While my Globe Roaming wasn’t working and thus, I was on a cellphone vacation, however my iPhone was my appointments secretary, my camera so I could upload my photos on Facebook, my game center to keep me busy while lining up waiting for the rides and my Internet connection to do emails. Yes, while my roaming wasn’t working (this also happened to me last year when I was in the Holy Land), however my Viber account allowed me to text my friends back home or make those free calls.

While in Orlando, I noticed that all vehicles registered in Florida have no plate number in front of their vehicle. This got me into thinking… back home in the Philippines, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) have been hard pressed in producing new plate numbers for new vehicles. If we did the same thing in the Philippines — release only plate numbers that would be installed in the back of the vehicle — then all new cars would have plate numbers.

Again the whole thing is about efficiency. We Filipinos cannot seem to get our acts together.

Being out of the country for more than two weeks already, we are getting homesick for Filipino food. So our host, Bem and Michelle Dioso brought us to El Palacio, a Latin American restaurant, where you can see oxtail stew, kanding stew, lechon paksiw, empanada, pig’s knuckles ala balbacua and rice… that all tasted like it was cooked by Filipinos. But they were cooked by American Mexican people.

Meanwhile reading the news back home… especially the column of Rick Ramos, who always sends me his daily dose… I noticed that everyone was asking what has happened to President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III? Apparently he has not been seen in the public eye since the June 12 Independence Day celebration in Naga City. Shades of Marcos? Pundits are correct when they ask Malacañang what is the state of health of the President? The Filipino people have a right to know.

Meanwhile we also learned that when the President was speaking in Naga City during Independence Day, a student from the Ateneo de Naga, Pio Emmanuel “Em” Mijares heckled the President and he was immediately arrested by the Philippine National Police (PNP). He has since been slapped charges from Article 153 Chapter 5 of the Public Disorders of the Revised Penal Code.

There is no doubt that the student disturbed the President’s speech, but to jail him for heckling is in my book something that the President can forego to show that being the son of an icon of Democracy, he believes in the Freedom of Speech. Call it coincidental that a week ago, I saw a news report of Pres. Barack Obama also heckled by a student while he was making his speech in California last May.

But while the US Secret Service agents were quick to stop the fellow, Pres. Obama showed an uncanny restraint and asked his men not to arrest the heckler. In the end, they both debated on the issues and it ended there with no one getting arrested. I checked on Google only to find out that Pres. Obama has been heckled so many times in his Presidency…he already knew how to handle the situation. I’m no Obama fan, but he showed to the press that Presidents must listen to his constituents even if they are rude.

Apparently this is not the case with P-Noy, who brags and tells the Filipino people that we are his “Boss.” Yet he cannot find compassion from an Ateneo de Naga student who had to let off some steam listening to the President making perhaps another speech for its propaganda value. P-Noy ought to ask his friend, Pres. Obama some tips on how to handle hecklers, because their presidency were rocked with incompetent. .

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Email:  vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com.


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