Former governor Rafael Coscolluela apologized to presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his companions for the heckling they experienced during a caravan in Talisay City, Negros Occidental, on Wednesday.
“I urge everyone to refrain from such actions for the duration of the campaign,” Coscolluela, who heads the Leni Robredo-Kiko Pangilinan campaign in Negros Occidental, said in a statement issued Friday, February 25.
Youth supporters of Robredo clad in pink were seen shouting “magnanakaw” and “kawatan (thief)” as the caravan of Marcos passed through Talisay City.
They also threw Leni-Kiko fliers, one of which landed on Marcos’ face, Negros Occidental Vice Governor Jeffrey Ferrer said.
Coscolluela said he became aware of the heckling incident Thursday afternoon.
The Robredo People’s Council has consistently exhorted its volunteers to observe proper conduct during the campaign, he said.
“It cannot be denied, however, that partisan emotions can run high and result in confrontational actions – albeit done while exercising one’s freedom of speech – that are hateful, hurtful or uncalled for,” Coscolluela said.
“We do not encourage such behavior, nor will we tolerate the same from among our ranks. As far as I know, the heckling was not premeditated. Certainly, it would never have been allowed if our blessings had been sought. It is in this light that I express my deep remorse over what happened, even as I recognize the sentiments that fueled such emotions,” he said.
Talisay Mayor Neil Lizares has ordered an investigation into the heckling incident.
“The rude behavior is not and will never be acceptable. The City of Talisay will not tolerate this behavior and assures you all that necessary actions will be made after proper investigation,” he said.
Lizares said they made sure the caravan would go smoothly, but the acts of the people on the side of the road were beyond their control.
“While we have different political views and support different candidates, we make sure to exercise our right to choose responsibly. We always believe that our right ends when the right of others begins,” he said.*