BINAY COUNTRY. Vice President Jejomar Binay (extreme left) and Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama (in red vest) lead thousands of their supporters during the Visayas-wide launching of the United Nationalist Alliance at the New Cebu Coliseum in October last year. Freeman/Joy Torrejos
LP contingent behind boos
Cebuanos slam PDI for creating mountain “out of a molehill”
Only a small group, apparently with a mission orchestrated by a political rival to publicly shame Vice President Jejomar Binay, was behind the rude treatment of the Vice President at the opening ceremonies of the Sinulog Festival Grand Parade in Cebu City on Sunday, January 17.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) over blown the incident when it reported that “close to 10,000 people” booed Binay at the Cebu City Sports Center, according to a commenter in a post in Cebu News Daily, a sister publication of PDI which carried the same story.
Binay’s spokesperson Joey Salgado said there is information that a contingent of the Liberal Party (LP) was behind the heckling.
Binay, standard bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), is front running the presidential race in May. The LP is fielding as presidential candidate Mar Roxas, a perennial tail ender in pre-poll surveys by Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia.
Salgado said that the LP felt bad that Binay was leading in the presidential survey even in the Visayas.
“It’s just unfortunate that they behaved the way they did. But we understand where they were coming from,” Salgado said.
“Close to 10,000 people inside the Cebu City Sports Center booed Binay on Sunday after he was introduced by suspended Mayor Mike Rama during the formal opening of the Sinulog Grand Parade,” the PDI reported.
The Cebu Daily News commenter disputed the report.
“(The) heckling … came from a very small contingent of Liberal Party supporters….the boos would’ve only been noticed by those who were actually part of the contingent,” said Lean Tilongson in his comment posted in the PDI’s Cebu City-based sister publication.
Tiongson said the PDI resorted to “sensationalism” by over-blowing the incident.
The report “reinforce(d) the PDI’s penchant to create something big and highly unbelievable occurrence ‘out of a molehill’.”
PDI is known to be a severe critic of the Vice President, standing alone on top of other dailies to spend hundreds of its pages last year in coverage of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee hearings on alleged corruption committed by Binay during his term as Makati City Mayor.
“The Philippine Daily Inquirer is once again revealing its political color with the release of this news article,” commented Tiongson.
Tiongson also said the report placed Cebuanos in a bad light by ascribing to “10,000 people” the rude treatment of the Vice President.
“The crowd (at the Cebu City Sports Center) were made (up) of decent, religious and respectful people in the midst of an otherwise festive and welcoming atmosphere,” said Tiongson.
The Sinulog is Cebu’s annual religious festival honoring the Sto. Nino which Binay has been attending since 2010.
“If the (Liberal Party) cannot respect the Vice President, they should have respected the occasion,” Salgado said.
Tiongson also disputed the PDI report that said Binay failed to deliver a speech because of the boos.
“Apparently, the jeering prompted the Vice President to cut short his speech.” reported the PDI.
Tiongson said Binay had no speech to deliver as he did not have in the many years that he attended the Sinulog. He said he was there only to greet the Cebuanos on their celebration of the festival in honor of Sto. Nino.
Another commenter in Cebu Daily News, BystandeR, said the Cebu City Sports Center heckling was part of “demolition job” against Binay instigated by the Aquino administration.