Ill-mannered UPLB student cops online abuse from balasubas Durterte supporters!

Again another outrage fad is erupting and this time it centres around a student of the University of the Philippines Los Banos campus (UPLB) confronting presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte with some pointed questions recently. The media drama which climaxed with a spate of online bullying this student copped from furious Duterte supporters and the spectacular apology for mis-reporting the incident issued by “social news network” Rappler.com is now the stuff of legend and one for the “online journalism” textbooks.

To be fair, the propriety (or impropriety) in the manner with which the UPLB student fielded his questions to Duterte is open to debate with Duterte’s supporters claiming it was bastos (rude) and showed little respect for a presidential candidate. Observers are, rightly so, left to render their own judgment over how rude or proper this student conducted himself.

In terms of the actual content of the student’s address to Duterte, the phrase that attracted the most outrage and sparked the most debate was this snippet:

Sir, sana pakisagot lang po ng diretso kasi nagtatanong po kami ng diretso dito para po makauwi na kayo.

[Translated by Rappler.com: “Sir, I hope you will answer my question directly. I am asking it in a straightforward manner so you may be able to go already.”]

Understandably, to some extent, some have empathised with possible offense Duterte could have taken to being addressed this way by a young person. In the Philippines, after all, there remains a deeply-ingrained culture of deference to the elderly. Needless to say, the sight of a young person addressing a significantly older person in a confronting manner still rubs most Filipinos the wrong way.

Just the same, this does not excuse the orgy of online bullying allegedly perpetrated by Duterte’s supporters since. Some have decried the “biased” reporting Rappler reporter Pia Ranada was perceived to have applied to her original report. Duterte’s supporters insist that Ranada purposely painted Duterte in a bad light by highlighting the awkwardness of the situation and did not take into account the fuller context of what had transpired.

Neither does it help that UPLB students (being part of an elite university) are perceived to be arrogant and elitist by the wider community of Filipino youth activists and campaign volunteers. Indeed, observers were quick to point out that the manner with which the student delivered his questions revealed a less-than-proficient command of the English language thanks to the evidently flawed grammar and sentence construction observed.

Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte: Victim of Luzon-centric snobbery?
Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte: Victim of Luzon-centric snobbery?
This quickness to judge people on the basis of their school and English twang (or lack of it) is a broader and deeper malaise that plagues Philippine society and is a social monster that has a habit of rearing its ugly head in incidents like this. Perhaps what makes Duterte’s camp particularly sensitive when it comes to the reality of the Philippines’ profound cancer of social stratification and the elitism of Luzon’s Tagalog-speaking residents is that Duterte is a product and stalwart of the Philippines’ south which, historically, has long been derrided as provincianos by Filipinos hailing from the Philippines’ northern parts where its capital and commercial and business centre, Manila, is situated.

Indeed, it is hardly surprising that Duterte’s Bisaya accent is a source of amusement for an influential circle of Filipinos who sustain a deliberate effort to see the deep cultural divide between north and south continue to fester in the national consciousness.

Considering that at the epicentre of this circus is a UPLB student who, by most accounts, failed to behave to a standard an elite university like the UPLB is held to (fairly or unfairly) by the Philippine public at large, it may be worth Filipinos’ time to reflect on why eloquence, good manners, and proper breeding seem to be in increasingly short supply nowadays. Suffice to say, this bad breeding on the part of the UPLB student was, itself, met with even more appalling demonstrations of the savage and balasubas behaviour that Duterte supporters have come to be associated with.

We could therefore conclude that the protagonists and antagonists in this latest spectacle are merely engaged in a tit for tat backdropped by a society not exactly renowned for a citizenry blessed with social grace.

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25 Comments on “Ill-mannered UPLB student cops online abuse from balasubas Durterte supporters!”

  1. I agree. After all, there is light and dark inside all of us. What matters is what we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.

  2. Well, if that is the elitism we have, then this society is sick and rotten. They equally deserve the balasubas supporters of DU30 who must be out-of-school kids. Look at what just happened in BGC with kids of supposedly prominent families, all trying to be hambog. If you are really prominent, no need to be hambog; you actually try to be humble, and possibly be kind of low profile.

    This is really the influence of Kris, Boy Abundat and Vice Ganda, a trio of guys with money, but have the lowest class mentality. Then, you have the trio of Tito, Vic and Joey, who know nothing but toilet humour. Then, the most with the most squatter mentality, Wowwowie Revillame. If this was a normal society, people would of course vomit watching these guys. But no, people watch these TV personalities, so Filipinos are now the most repulsive, most disgusting, kind of people in the world, and Filipinos don’t even know this.

    I think Singaporeans have now put a salary cap by law on all Filipinos to discourage Pinoys from going there. Never mind Hong Kong people, for they have been low class from the beginning, but you go to Shanghai and Beijing, they look at Filipinos now as more low class than their Hong Kong guys. I think I know what they mean, I just had a quick lunch at a McDonalds and I couldn’t look up or I would vomit; some people should not be allowed to eat in these places, they are so babuy, no table manners, no etiquette. Actually, after that article of Gogs, I don’t shake hands with Pinoys now if I can help it; why don’t they wash their hands? Gross.

    Some of the Ateneo guys commented in Ilda’s article that Ateneo is no elite school. I think that is very true. Ateneo, La Salle, and UP are exactly the schools now that the real elite in the Philippines avoid. #1, why would you have your children be the classmates of children whose parents are the vilest in society, children of corrupt custom and BIR officials, who think having a Ferrari or Land Rover makes them superior beings, or children of corrupt politicians whose morals and ethics are totally out of whack. #2 these schools emphasize Tagalog, and we have a President who gives speeches in Tagalog using a speechwriter in his twenties. So, you have “nationalists”, as PNoy exemplifies, who do not only know we now live in a global village, but who insult the intelligence of anyone. What is the use of Tagalog in the world anyway? So, if you want to go ahead in the global world, why would you choose these schools?

    #3, Ateneo, La Salle, and UP still pay teachers and professors miserable salaries. So, these teachers try to get side jobs in government as consultants, which of course corrupts them, instead of them cleaning the government. Just look at the academics that are now famous, Leonen, Ferrer, and Deles,. Buffoons and traitors, these three. The good teachers, of course, try to go abroad if they can’t get into the schools in the Philippines that pay very well, schools like Brent, IS, British School, Woodrose, Southridge, and Everest, which schools are exactly where the elites now go. Then, there is now of course, UA&P, from where ADB, Citibank, Shell, HSBC, Reuters, AFP, etc, world class organizations, now prefer to get new graduates than Ateneo, La Salle, or UP, whose graduates are now mediocres. Otherwise, the elite now send their children to Singapore, Vancouver, or Melbourne, which are really not that far anymore.

    The sad part, of course, of all these is that the class structures of the society have been exarcebated. You have an elite that tries to insulate itself from the culture, which could have otherwise been informed by it. And then you have those who allow themselves to be of squatter mentality by media, who, of course, become of squatter mentality without fail. And, Ateneo, La Salle, and UP, who should be informing the culture, have also gone with the flow. Elite Atenean, La Salle, or UP? An oxymoron now. Even those in that segment of the Philippines are now repulsive to rest of the global village. They too are now of squatter mentality.

  3. Using this article as sole source,I think that this ‘debate’ and Benign0 miss a number of points.

    Is asking ‘If I ask a straight question,can I have a straight answer,not the usual speaking a lot and saying very little?’really that insulting?

    What was the question actually asked? Something Duterte was not prepared to answer?

    Might the question open the possibility of serious debate over policies rather than personality? Does the Philippines actually want this?

    Might the questioning of ‘Granny knows best’not be worthwhile?After all,the current generation of politicians do not seem to have advanced the country greatly since Marcos.

    Should not the poor English of the student be a source of pride to the ultranationalists who would like to reduce the usage and teaching of it?

    I have my tin helmet handy in case anybody responds.

    1. That’s the beauty of face to face communication. Non-verbal cues paint a more concrete picture than spoken words. Tone, body-language and general delivery comes into play. Nothing wrong with direct questions, but the manner (or absence thereof) with which it was asked is a different matter.

    2. Is asking ‘If I ask a straight question,can I have a straight answer,not the usual speaking a lot and saying very little?’really that insulting?

      You are simply missing the point. The student did not specify that the answer be direct. He simply asked a question. Next he immediately interrupted without saying “Excuse me po” or “Paumanhin po” or “Mawalang galang na po” before demanding a direct answer.

      Then he reasoned with “nagmamadali kc si mayor umalis”, which is not his concern. It is Duterte’s prerogative to be swift with his answer or not even if he was “nagmamadaling umalis”.

      1. My point was that this is another case of shooting the messenger and ignoring the message.I deliberately made no comment on whether the questioner was polite or not.

        The Rappler translation reads ‘I hope you will answer my question directly’ which,without context,may or may not have been the closing remarks to his question. I stated that this article was my sole source,and I saw nothing in either the video clip or the printed word to indicate that this was an interruption.As you either have personal knowledge or access to video footage to support your assertion,I am prepared to concede the point.

        You also claim ‘did not specify that the answer be direct’,but ‘immediately interrupted’ ‘before demanding a direct answer’.I am struggling to follow your argument here.

        Are you actually arguing that form should trump substance?

        1. My point was that this is another case of shooting the messenger and ignoring the message.I deliberately made no comment on whether the questioner was polite or not.

          That is not what you stated. You stated: Is asking ‘If I ask a straight question,can I have a straight answer,not the usual speaking a lot and saying very little?’really that insulting?

          Which shows that you are missing the point.

          You also claim ‘did not specify that the answer be direct’,but ‘immediately interrupted’ ‘before demanding a direct answer’.I am struggling to follow your argument here.

          Are you actually arguing that form should trump substance?

          You need to watch the video and listen to the question.

          The student was asking how Duterte was going to improve the weapons of soldiers throughout the country like the way he did in his city without affecting the budget for education on the premise that good quality guns, like the ones he observed from soldiers in Davao City, are expensive.

  4. It is Political Zarzuela, at its finest…Young people tend not to be respectful to the elderly ,nowadays. It is the influence of the Information Technology…most of those Western countries, have young people, not to have respect for the elderly…Duterte is in his seventies…he is from a bygone era…where children pay homage and respect for the elderly.

    Actually, some of the elderly , possess “wisdom”. Because, they have lived long enough. They have experienced the ups and downs of life. Except, those who spend most of their lives, watching “telenovelas”, Kris Aquino, Boy Abundia, Vice Ganda, Sotto, etc…

  5. Hmmm…. I clicked on the Rappler link on the first paragraph and I got this pop up:
    Thank you for voting!
    Rody Duterte 67.73%
    Mar Roxas 17.3%
    Miriam Santiago 6.9%
    Grace Poe 4.76%
    Jojo Binay 1.71%
    None of the choices 1.6%

    Looks like Rappler is pro-somebody

    Yeah, some uplb students can be too full of themselves. Somebody should teach the next generation some manners.

    1. I’m no pro-Duterte but here’s how I see how it will work if he becomes President. But first, it is necessary that our government work as a team especially the VP and Pres. And I don’t think it will work out if his VP is not BBM.

      So if Duterte win the Presidency, his main focus would be on eradicating crimininality, drugs, smuggling and corruption and instilling discipline (I hope his supporters do understand or realize that since they are supporting him in their own accord, they are willing to be subjected to his brand of disciplining and grave punishment if they fail to follow his rules). With his tough stance and iron fist, probably strengthen law enforcement and military. I think though that Miriam has an edge over him since she’s more experienced and knowledgeable on works in higher office. It could have been better if DU30 run for senator first but then we allow a congresswoman like Leni, chosen by experienced politicians, to run for VP so what’s the difference?

      BBM will balance Duterte’s haragan and lack of finesse. I just want to note that in the Philippines, Pinoys admire heroes who are sanggano, walang breeding or siga. And they are mostly from the lower or middle class. Isn’t that what most of our action stars portray? That’s our brand of Pinoy action movies (with the exemption of films like “On the Job”). For them you’re allowed to be bastos or siga as long as you performed good deeds or you defeat the bad guys. And Duterte had proven to have defeated some of the bad guys besides being a well-accomplished Mayor and lawyer. And that’s why his supporters and this UPLB student think it’s fine to be balasubas so long as you’re fighting for justice and get the answer that you seek. You get fast results that way in the Philippines. See how MILF almost have their wishes.

      Then if BBM win as VP, we’ll definitely have the necessary projects like for self-sufficiency (energy and food), better and needed infrastructures, focus on advance research, technology and high education, help local businesses grow, while working with guarding and reclaiming WPS islands by bilateral agreement or working with allied countries. BBM will also focus on peace and progress of the WHOLE Mindanao not just give in to the demands of one group (we’ll see how this will work out with Duterte’s federalism) since we’ve seen how BBM gave time and opportunity to all groups involved in the deliberation on BBL draft. He will also uphold our Constitution. I can’t think the same with Chiz or Leni. I believe the leaders past performances show what they can do. We all want leaders or officers who are not just tuta of their party or those above them. Besides what can Mar, Chiz or Leni do about project bidding so that it will land to the hands of capable bidders? They would probably just hand it over to their kapadrino.

      Then the chief should have efficient and reliable cabinet members. Our government should also be open and encourage advance contribution from our own people/professionals especially in the fields of research, medicine, science and technology. Congress and Senate for the passage and amendments of the laws that we need.

      Why do the Congress and Senate need Pork Barrel? Those Pork moneys could go directly to the budgets on priority projects or long-term national projects. It should also just go directly or add to the LGUs budget for local projects or programs for their constituents. There just have to be focus on enhancing the role of local government in developing their city/province. Duterte have the same complaints that’s why his supporting federalism.

      If anyone can proved his Davao Death Squad vigilantism, like the law requires, he’d be out of the race. But people even think that DDS is apt for the Filipino law offenders since the real crooks even hailed from the government and they loved Duterte rogue and all.

      1. This daydream is other people’s nightmare. Both Duterte and ‘Marcos-the -son’ are the last persons who should occupy the positions they each aspire to. Having read the many releases on Mayor Duterte, all of which revolve around ‘vigilante justice’, (an oxymoron, by the way); multiple girl-friends; and, of course, the peace and order that Davao City residents now enjoy, one would like answers to these questions: a) What for do we have laws, if all it takes is ‘Rambo’?; b) How does a Rambo succeed in an area of 300,000 sq.km and a population of 103million, if all he can claim is success in 2,500 sq.km. with 1.5 million people?; c) Can Duterte point to any evidence of good governance, (other than making his daughter the alternate Mayor, ala Binay), given the fact that the Presidency is a job much bigger, much more complex and, one which demands alliances from both outside and within the country? To be fair, he did say that he would empower/authorize his trusted representatives, (henchmen?) to act in his behalf in the cities and provinces country-wide. This proposition is the scariest of all as it will surely make the Philippines a certifiable ‘warlord and vigilante state’. Lastly.. on Duterte.. we’ve heard him address a rally, (where Alan Peter Cayetano his running mate, and one Senatorial candidate sat quietly in a corner throughout). His language and demeanor was befitting a candidate for Barrio Captain; and at that, just barely. I wouldn’t say that he was condescending; rather, that it was himself.. the real Mayor Duterte.. candidate for Philippine President.. rambling and mumbling incoherently about impertinent matters. Is this the best the country can offer?

        Now, ‘Marcos-the-son’, as Vice-President, is an odious prospect for a different set of reasons.. among which is his refusal to acknowledge, (not apologize for) the repression and plunder during the martial law years. This refusal could be tacit admission of a desire to resurrect those days,whose tangible results include extra-judicial executions; unlawful closure and outright expropriation of entire businesses. Further, he is also non-committal on the matter of returning the monies and assets his family obtained(?) during the martial law years; perhaps, thinking that this issue will just go away if it is ignored long enough.. or, when he becomes President. Finally, given that the Vice-Presidency is just a breath away from a ‘throne’ occupied by a sick man/woman, the resurrection of Bong-Bong in the national scene will surely bring about the resurgence of the Marcos/Romualdez dynasty. What wasn’t achieved during the martial law years, would then be attained more completely.. ‘a piece of cake’.

        1. Essentially, Failipinos are a bunch of primitively undisciplined, arrogant, and selfish people who don’t know how lead and follow. So it doesn’t matter who the next president will be, the Failippines will still be a screwed up country.

        2. Also, I tried writing down names of people in the Philippines who should apologize and what they should apologize for in my Death Note notebook and geez, I occupied three pages back and forth and I could still think of more to add. And oh, I titled it “Palimos ng Patawad”. Wanna know what’s first in my list?

          Palimos ng patawad sa lahat ng nagluklok kay Corazon Aquino bilang Pangulo ng Pilipinas. Anong katarantaduhan na ang ISANG MAYBAHAY ay gawing PANGULO NG PILIPINAS SA PANAHONG NAHAHARAP SA PINAKAMATINDING KRISIS ANG BANSA? A dictator was replaced by a puppet president. Isn’t that a joke?

        3. @ Sick_Amore: I had to go back to the ‘comments’ to make sure. I can’t see how you could have missed, “.. acknowledge, (not apologize for)”. You glossed over that small detail and suggested that an ‘apology’ was, in fact, expected by lumping ‘acknowledge’ with ‘apologize’ thereby giving that impression. This deception was, of course, meant to make your diatribe somewhat credible.. maybe, a product you could even be proud of. I get that. It’s just that I expected, at least, a modicum of honesty even in hacks, which I now think that you are.

        4. @vagoneto rieles,

          Oh, this diatribe is not just for you but for the anti-Marcos crybabies. Whether acknowledging or apologizing is what you all want (one will still have to come after the other, won’t it?), it will all goes down to my post before this, in case you missed it.

          The son apologizing/acknowledging the so-called evils of his father, Marcoses returning the alleged stolen wealth. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. It’s like asking for impossible to happen. Now, what is your and the never again activists’ option other than going around in circles?

          It seems that the anti-Marcoses, most of whom the so-called elite and respected members of society, got tired of how the Philippine government works so they would rather go the way of Pinoy teledrama and resort to patronizing another evil regime making them part of the rotten system.

          Bdw, you can call me a hack all you want even go as much as saying I’m just spouting shit but the truth in what I said won’t change. It will pester you as it pesters us, the tagapagmana of such foolishness. *Sorry in advance for another diatribe. This is how you well-experienced and highly-educated people inspire the new and present generation to deal with pressing issues*

      2. I want to see what happens to PH under a DU30 presidency – among the 5 he is the most unpredictable experiment. It will definitely be more fun in PH under him. I hope you guys don’t deprive me of this interesting comedy show – that’s all there is to this country anyway – Entertainment with the most laughable headlines.

        GRP bloggers like happy vultures will have another guaranteed 6 more years of satisfying fun gorging this decaying carcass of a country with DU30 spicing it all up like hot chili sauce!

        Look at how uplb Umali hall was jam packed – unlike during Binay’s visit. Have some culinary adventure for a change guys – Jollibee, McDo and KFC are gasgas na!

        1. LOL. Who knows, you may get want you want, zaxx. With the way you describe it it sounds like a real treat. I’d rather have a nightmare and still wake up in the morning than be doomed in the hands of Daang Matuwid. Also, like what they say about ironfist governance, “No pain, no gain.”

          @vagoneto rieles

          The son apologizing/acknowledging the so-called evils of his father, Marcoses returning the alleged stolen wealth. NOT GONNA HAPPEN. It’s like asking for impossible to happen. Now, what is your and the never again activists’ option other than going around in circles?

          Sabi nga,”Kung lahat madadaan sa sorry, edi sana wala ng batas at pulis.”

  6. Answer these questions please.Did you know that a lot of the elite universities here in the Philippines is not accredited by international organizations, but some of the lessor elite schools are? Did you know this is why some doctors go overseas and can only be nurses instead of doctors; doctors https://search.wdoms.org/ What makes a university here a elite university? Is it the name or the money spent on education? Why is it not the credentials and certifications? When you education system that goes by money spent as being elite versus certification, how do you expect students to behave. .

    1. Another question: anong paki kung nakadisplay ang iyong diploma sa dingding ng bahay mo, eh gumamit ka ba ng talino, lakas at dangal na pinapakita mo ay graduate ka ng isang kurso sa pinakakilalang unibersidad sa ating bansa? O pinagawa mo yan sa Recto University? 😀

    2. Filipinos who graduated from Philippine Universities; most are required to take remedial courses/subjects. Especially, if you want to study in the Science and Technology field.

      Even, in job requirements; you have to take remedial courses/subjects; especially in Science and Technology fields…there are many field of studies lacking in the Philippine University curriculum…

  7. I believe this shouldn’t focus on the student asking the correct question but rather Duterte’s inconsistencies in his programs.

    1) we didn’t watch nor go to the UPLB for the student but to listen to Duterte
    2) the issue could easily be avoided if Duterte stops over promising or at least prepared for questions to avoid inconsistencies. This was shown in the first debate, when Duterte speaks convincgly but he was and still is inconsistent.

    If we focused on the student on how one should act, we forgot the focus or question how should a president act.

    Less focus on the student more focus on the presidentiable.

  8. You cop out by first “leaving it up to the viewers” to decide whether the student was disrespectful or not (he wasn’t)… then closing with “bad breeding on the part of the UPLB student”.

    Benign0, I question your suitability as a judge of “breeding”, especially so after reading that throwback, ass-licking, i-write-for-food article on Sandro Marcos.

    Don’t get me wrong, I respect your stance on free will and English as a force for bridging the Philippines with the world… but the *petty* sophistry in these articles is painful to read… heart-breakingly for those who remember how bad the Philippines were under Marcos.

  9. When the first force, social feeling and community expectation, is ignored or affronted, the person concerned will reveal certain aggressive character traits: vanity, ambition, envy, jealousy, playing God, or greed; or non-aggressive traits: withdrawal, anxiety, timidity, or absence of social graces. When any of these forces gains the upper hand, it is usually because of deep-seated feelings of inadequacy. Yet the forces also create an intensity or tension that can give tremendous energy.

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