MANILA, Philippines – A University of San Carlos (USC) official said a faculty member had reprimanded the student who heckled lawyer Larry Gadon during a forum on campus, referring to a video that went around on social media where the senatorial candidate was heard berating a student.
According to a statement from political science faculty member Brenette Abrenica, the student did not deny calling Gadon a liar after the candidate claimed there was no corruption during the time of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“Hence, I gave them [the students] the first reprimand. In truth many of the students expressed disgust against Attorney Gadon’s statements and even said they would like to walk out, I reprimanded them as well,” said Abrenica.
The incident happened during the Mega Cebu Candidates Forum, organized by the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc’s “Mega Cebu” initiative at the University of San Carlos on Sunday, March 18.
Gadon, a vocal Marcos loyalist, made questionable claims without citing sources. He said Marcos had a budget of P467 billion for 20 years (although in a second reference he said the budget was P437 billion), and then he listed all the infrastructure projects built during Marcos’ administration.
“And what was done during that 6 years of Cory Aquino?” he said, referring to Marcos’ successor. “The only massive infrastructure then [was] only the flyover in Ortigas, and aside from that, wala na (nothing else). So walang (there was no) corruption during the time of Marcos.”
After this statement, a student shouted back “Evidence!” Another student shouted, “Liar!”
To the student who called him a liar, Gadon responded: “I can debate with you anytime, but not in this forum, but there are rules. I am not lying, you are just ignorant.”
He then asked the forum’s moderators to ask that student to leave.
“You should go out. The rules is [sic], if someone will disrupt the forum, you should go out. I request the organizers to ask this fellow to go out, otherwise I will walk out,” an agitated Gadon replied.
Forum moderator Dante Luzon pleaded with Gadon to let the student get off with a warning in an attempt to stop Gadon’s insistence that the student be kicked out of the forum.
While organizers were speaking to the students, Gadon interjected again, addressing the student: “Don’t argue with me. Argue with the organizers. Bobo eh (stupid).”
“The hosts intervened and even reminded the audience to observe proper decorum,” Abrenica told Rappler.
The forum then continued with Gadon agreeing to let the students off with a warning.
His daughter Alarice Gadon also got flack online for a post calling the student “bastos” (rude) and saying his comments were a “komunistang (communist) move” and “yellow na yellow (very yellow).”
She eventually took down her post.
The insults hurled by the senatorial candidate at the students was not addressed by USC faculty.
This is Gadon’s second bid to get a Senate seat. He lost in 2016.
He is also the lawyer behind the impeachment of former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and was part of the legal team of former president and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. – Rappler.com
Photo of USC from the official website; Larry Gadon’s photo by Darren Langit/Rappler