Duterte Youth to sue Jim Paredes, gets SolGen's backing

MANILA, Philippines – Members of the group "Duterte Youth" will file cases of unjust vexation and theft against musician Jim Paredes over their tense confrontation on Saturday, February 25, during the celebration of the EDSA People Power Revolution.

They will have the support of Solicitor General Jose Calida, who commended them in a news conference on Monday, February 27.

The news conference, called by Calida to comment on the arrest of Senator Leila de Lima, also became a venue for the Duterte Youth, led by chairman Ronald Cardema, to air their statements against Paredes.

Upon Calida's prompting, lawyer Lorenzo Gadon of the International Bar of the Philippines Quezon City chapter stood up from among the audience to offer his pro-bono services to represent the complainants.

"Gusto lang niyang sumikat ulit dahil isa na siyang laos na artista. Kataka-taka na mga bata ang gusto niyang kadebatehan. Kakasuhan siya ng unjust vexation at theft dahil 'yung mga tarpaulin na hinablot niya hindi naman sa kanya 'yun," Gadon told reporters.

(He's a has-been who wants to be famous again. It's just surprising that he wanted to debate with young people. We are going to sue him for unjust vexation and theft for grabbing the tarpaulins that were not his.)

Cardema said Paredes' companions hit them in their stomachs and quickly took from them their tarpaulins.

'Look at Me'

LOOK: Solgen Calida awards membership pins to Duterte Youth, now admitted to civic group "Republic Defenders" @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/Bm4IOBi8OU — Lian Buan (@lianbuan) February 27, 2017

A tense confrontation erupted on Saturday afternoon at the People Power Monument when Paredes berated members of the Duterte youth, whom he accused of disrupting the gathering. He uttered the now infamous line, "Look at me! Look at me!"

Borrowing Paredes' line, Calida told the Duterte Youth: "Look at me, I salute you for your bravery, that you stood for what you believed in. There should be more of you, congratulations for what you did."

Calida also addressed Paredes: "Jim Paredes, look at me, huwag mong patulan itong mga bata. Look for a person your age. Sinabihan mo silang duwag, try and tell me I'm duwag."

(Jim Paredes, look at me, don't pick a fight with these young people. Look for a person your age. You told them they're cowards, now try and tell me that I'm a coward.)

According to Cardema, they did not intend to cause tension at the rally in EDSA, which was held simultaenously with pro-Duterte rallies in Luneta Park in Manila and other parts of the country. (READ: IN PHOTOS: Anti-Duterte groups relive EDSA People Power uprising)

"We were going to Luneta, but we decided that it was not the usual EDSA celebration, it was a gathering of anti-Duterte [demonstrators], and they want Duterte out of Malacañang. We wanted to show our support for our President," Cardema said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He added: "Hindi naman kami sa shrine, wala rin kami sa sidewalk. Nandun kami sa kalsada, our audience there were commuters, because we believe many Flipinos traveling along EDSA support the President. Nagulat na lang kami na lumapit si Jim Paredes, making funny faces, saying trolls kami, robots kami, gusto niyang makipag-argue, makipag-debate, pero ayaw naman naming makipag-debate, gusto lang naming ipakita sa mga tao sa EDSA that there’s a pocket of support there for the President."

(We were not near the shrine, nor the sidewalk. We were near the highway, our audience there were commuters because we believe many Flipinos traveling along EDSA support the President. We were just surprised to see Jim Paredes come near us, making funny faces and saying we were trolls, we were robots. He wanted to argue, he wanted to debate, but we didn't want to because we were there to show the people in EDSA that there's a pocket of support there for the President.)

"The Office of the Solicitor General is the republic's defender and the tribune of the people. In this case, we have invited them here because we are supporting them as part of the defenders of the republic, not of a party, or of a person, but of the Philippines," Calida said.

After the news conference, Calida awarded the Duterte Youth membership pins to a civic group called "Republic Defenders," which Calida says he is a "godfather" of. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.