Palace tells Robredo to stop speculations

Ruth Abbey Gita
THE lack of roll-on, roll-off (ro-ro) ports, weighing scales and container vans contribute to the high cost of transporting goods through the Strong Republic National Highway (SRNH), legislators said on

MALACAÑANG on Monday, February 11, refuted the claim of Vice President Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo that the Duterte government is giving "special treatment" to Chinese nationals in the country.

Speaking to Palace reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo advised Robredo to "stop speculating," saying that making assumptions would only provoke unnecessary incidents similar to the taho-throwing incident involving a Chinese national and a police officer.

Panelo said the public should not "blow up" the issue, which he described as an "isolated" case of a Chinese national disrespecting a cop.

He was referring to Chinese citizen Jiale Zhang, 23, who threw a cup of taho (soya pudding) at Police Officer 1 William Cristobal at the Boni Station of Metro Rail Transit (MRT) - Line 3.

"That particular issue happens almost anywhere. Kumbaga 'wag na nating palakihin (Let's not make it a big deal). Moreover she has been charged, one. Number two, I think they are considering her deportation," he said in a press conference.

"Maybe it's a wake-up call for her (Robredo) to stop speculating and stop giving statements that may inflame incidents that need not be so," he added.

Zhang, who was barred from entering the platform of the MRT-3 on February 9 because of unconsumed beverage, threw a cup of taho at Cristobal.

She has been charged with direct assault, disobedience to agent of person in authority, and unjust vexation. She is currently detained at the Mandaluyong Police headquarters.

On Sunday, February 9, Robredo said Zhang's act should be a "wake-up call" on the "special treatment" given by the current administration to Chinese nationals in the country.

Asked about President Rodrigo Duterte's reaction to the incident, Panelo said: "The President is always outraged by any kind of oppression."

Panelo, disputing Robredo's remarks, also said the government has made it clear that any foreign nationals need to "behave" or else, they would face appropriate sanctions.

"There has been rudeness in certain nationalities. It's not limited to Chinese. Koreans do that [and] also, Japanese. Siguro depende. Kasi kung minsan rude din 'yung tao -- Pilipino -- so nagti-trigger ng conflict between the two (Perhaps, it depends on the situation. Sometimes, Filipinos are also rude, triggering conflict with other nationalities)," he said.

"But foreign nationals who sojourn in this country should always behave otherwise they are subject to loss and deportation. We will not allow them to disrespect authorities or violate any law or ordinance in this country," he added. (SunStar Philippines)