Aquino keeps cool despite heckling

By Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 07 2010 05:08 PM | Updated as of Oct 08 2010 01:29 AM

MANILA, Philippines – It was all too clean, polished to the last detail… a seemingly scripted ceremony by President Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino for his report on his first 100 days in office. Everything was perfect, except for that part where a student stood from her seat and chanted slogans just before the President can say a word in response to a soldier’s query.

The President was interrupted. He paused. He listened.

Instinctively, the Presidential Security Guard (PSG) rushed to the girl’s direction to stop her diatribe, but officials of the Presidential Communications Group ordered the security to allow the girl to say her piece, who was complaining about budget cut in the education sector.

The “Report kay Boss” was held at the La Consolacion College auditorium in Mendiola, Manila. 

The President did not stand from his seat, and instead listened attentively as the girl shouted out her complaints. She was then escorted out of the auditorium and Aquino responded to the girl’s complaints.

On her way out, the girl was still shouting invectives. She identified herself as Ces Santos, chairman of the University of the Philippines-Manila University Student Council.

Santos’ Facebook account revealed she is also a member of the Student Christian Movement, and was its chairman from 2007 and 2008, and a coordinator for the Kabataaan party-list.

Protocol officers, media relations officers and Barong Tagalog-wearing PSG men led Santos and her companions out of the campus. They were generally left alone: no uniformed policemen approached the group, no one tried to arrest them or handcuff them.

A check by the Presidential Communications Group, meanwhile, revealed that the girl is a member of the 9-person delegation by UP-Manila. The girl who ranted about the budget cut is at the top of the list of the guests from UP who registered at the entrance this morning. Her full name was listed as ‘Cesarie Ann Santos’.

Undersecretary Chris Tio of the Communications Group said they will go to UP-Manila this afternoon to talk to Santos, to listen to her concerns and find ways to bring these to the President and other appropriate government agencies.