Viral ‘Saliva Man’ says sorry

A DANAO City, Cebu native who dabbed his spit mixed in face paint on the faces of a couple during the Sinulog revelry apologized on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020, for what he did.

The man in the video, identified as Jayson John Tapales, went to the office of Cebu City Councilor Joel Garganera two days after a video of him wiping his spit on couple Roylls Royce and Richelli Lizst Arcilla went viral on Facebook, for which he took a beating on social media.

“Nakonsiyensiya gyud ko sa akong gibuhat (I was really bothered by what I did),” Tapales said.

He also asked for forgiveness from the local government units of the cities of Cebu and Danao, Sinulog organizers and the church.

“Nagbasol gyud ko sa akong gibuhat (I really regretted my action),” said Tapales, who now resides in Panagdait, Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.

Garganera said the Arcillas are willing to forgive Tapales, but the couple will still file a complaint against Tapales.

Persona non grata

Despite Tapales’s apology, Cebu City police officer-in-charge Col. Engelbert Soriano is pushing for the Cebu City Council to declare Tapales persona non grata.

According to Soriano, Tapales disrespected the cultural event even if smearing paint has become part of the young revelers’ way of enjoying the Sinulog.

Danao City Councilor Adano Roble tackled the issue during the 16th Sangguniang Panlungsod’s regular session last Tuesday, Jan 21. He chairs the committee on peace and order, public safety and human rights.

The Danao City Government, he said, will be taking action against the misbehavior.

Tapales said he is hopeful that he will be forgiven, but he added: “Pero kon ila gyud kong pasakaan og kaso, wala koy mahimo kay akoa man gyud tong binuhatan (But if they will file charges against me, there’s nothing I can do as I really committed the deed).”

No legal basis

Persona non grata is a Latin phrase that means an “unwelcome person.”

However, the persona non grata declaration for a private Filipino citizen has no basis in the 1987 Constitution or in any national law.

The Philippine Immigration Act of 1940 sets the guidelines in the non-acceptance of persons considered undesirable by the National Government. The law applies to foreigners, not locals.

A persona non grata declaration is “used in diplomacy when a receiving state considers any member of a diplomatic mission of a sending state as not acceptable. This privilege is provided by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations,” according to philippinelegal.wordpress.com.

Legislative practice

However, in the past years, several legislative bodies have declared several Filipinos persona non grata for their perceived offensive statements or actions.

The Municipal Council of Dumanjug, Cebu in 2013 declared then acting governor Agnes Magpale persona non grata when she ordered the office of then suspended governor Gwendolyn Garcia padlocked.

In 2010, the Vice Mayors League of The Philippines-Cebu declared 1969 Miss Universe Gloria Diaz persona non grata in the province, after the former beauty queen apparently belittled the Cebuanos’ ability to speak English.Diaz clarified that she never said that Cebuanos could not speak English.

Diaz had proposed to get interpreters for Filipino beauty pageant contestants. Her statement came after 2010 Miss Universe fourth runner-up Venus Raj’s fumbled answer (“Major, major”) in the pageant’s customary question-and-answer portion.

For his part, Garganera said they will assess Soriano’s recommendation to declare Tapales persona non grata.

“Asking for forgiveness is one thing, but I believe he is man enough to face the consequences,” he said, further saying that he told Tapales: “You’re accountable for your actions. I asked him to dance with the music. You started this, and you end this.”

Security assessment

Meanwhile, Soriano will meet with government representatives this week to assess the security measures they implemented during the Sinulog.

The police official said they would determine if the signal shutdown had helped secure the annual cultural event or contributed to the decrease in revelers.

Last Jan. 19, Police Regional Office 7 Director Valeriano de Leon estimated that the Sinulog crowd was two million, unlike the Sinulog 2019 that was crowded with 3.5 million people.

Garganera said there is a need to put safety measures in place to prevent similar incidents in future Sinulog celebrations. (PAC, AYB, MML)