updated - June 25, 2021 Friday EDT
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III was interrupted by a female heckler during his speaking engagement at Columbia University last Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila)
According to reports, at least 30 members of Anakbayan USA first staged a street protest outside the venue but were prevented from entering the hall. In the middle of his speech, at least two protesters suddenly stood up and explained why they were there.
In the video, a female activist stood amidst the crowd shouting slogans such as ‘No Justice, No Peace, Stop the killings in the Philippines.’ While raising banners that said, ‘End Impunity. Stop the Killings!’ and ‘Oust Aquino, Pork Barrel King’
In a statement from BAYAN USA, Anakbayan New Jersey member, Joelle Lingat, stood up and challenged Aquino on his human rights track record, and went on to talk about the pork barrel scandal and Typhoon Haiyan issues.
President PNoy stopped with his speech as Lingat continued to quote slogans and waved her banner. It was reported that the two protesters tried to go near the stage where the President was but they were stopped by security. Before she could even elaborate more, she was escorted calmly outside the hall.
In a press release by Bayan USA Lingat expressed her feelings, “What’s even more unbelievable was Aquino’s facial reaction to my question on Hacienda Luisita. Not only did he not answer, he closed his eyes and shook his head.“
She also added, “One audience member even told me I should be ashamed of myself. But it is Aquino who should be ashamed for dodging accountability over the massive loss of human life in his own family’s estate.”
According to KickerDaily, Aquino was unaware of the presence of the members from Anakbayan New Jersey, New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), and Gabriela New York.
Even if it was confirmed by Yves Nibungco, national chairperson for Anakbayan USA, that the activists present during President Aquino’s speech were not students of Columbia University, it was not disclosed on how the protesters were able to enter the vicinity of an exclusive event.
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