Mistaken Identity: UPLB Student Bashed Online Because of Erroneous Report and ‘Unfortunate’ Video Editing

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The same forum hosted presidential candidate Jejomar Binay wherein netizens praised a UPLB student that ‘roasted’ VP Binay.

Ronald Gem Celestial, UPLB student, became the object of the internet’s ire after the transparency forum attended by Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte at the University of the Philippines Los Baños campus last Friday, March 11.

Celestial received criticism due to the video posted on a social media account of a news site. The video shows him, asking this question: "Sir, sana pakisagot lang po ng diretso kasi nagtatanong po kami ng diretso dito para po makauwi na kayo.”

This question earned him numerous memes, death threats, curses and a tarnished reputation online. Most of the reactions are asking respect for Duterte and the never ending line of “We are paying for your taxes so you better get your act together”. There are also numerous reactions that generalized the whole UP community. However, in an open letter he posted on his wall, he says that the news site got it all wrong.

In an open letter he sent to the news site responsible, he writes:
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AN OPEN LETTER TO Rappler AND TO THE SUPPORTERS OF PDP-LABAN PRESIDENTIAL BET AND DAVAO CITY MAYOR HON. RODRIGO DUTERTE

"Happy Birthday, Gem!"

Today, I was expecting to receive birthday greetings and wishes but due to a misleading video report by Rappler, I have been receiving curses, hate messages, and death threats from some of the supporters of PDP-Laban Presidential bet and Davao City Mayor Hon. Rodrigo Duterte.

Last 11 March 2016, the University of the Philippines Los Banos, through the initiative of the Department of Social Sciences and its partner organizations held a GE conversation on transparency, good governance, and social transform with Mayor Duterte as guest speaker where several media agencies were present to cover the said event.

During the open forum, members of the audience were given a chance to ask Mayor Duterte questions and I was one of the few students who were lucky enough to deliver our question. The question is as follows:

"Ano po 'yung konkretong aksyon o step by step plan nyo po on realizing your promises kasi sa tingin ko po, sawang sawa na po kasi kaming mga Pilipino sa nakakailang Pangulo na paulit-ulit na lamang po yung mga pangako pero lagi na lamang pong napapako. So ngayon po, ang tanong ko po, how would you materialize all of your promises within the first 6 months as you claim. Thank you." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwE1ubg-Z-0)

However, in a video report by Rappler, it seemed that I was the one who said the following: "Sir, sana pakisagot lang po ng diretso kasi nagtatanong po kami ng diretso dito para po makauwi na kayo." (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvNa3gxgGJY)

It's quite disappointing that after ABSCBNnews.com's erroneous news articles on a similar event featuring UNA Presidential bet and Vice President Hon. Jejomar Binay last September 2015, Rappler failed to learn from it and even published a misleading video report. Rappler's video have misled the netizens and viewers that I, as some of his supporters would say, "disrespected" their bet. This resulted to several of them sending me curses, hate messages and death threats.

I would like to appeal to everyone to go beyond personal attacks and criticize the real problems that are plaguing our society. If in anyway, I have offended anyone, my sincerest apologies. It was not and will never be our intention to disrespect anyone. I believe that forums with national leaders should be used as an avenue to get to know our candidates beyond what they are being portrayed in the mainstream media. I call everyone to maximize these opportunities to know, understand and scrutinize the plans and platforms of our aspiring leaders.

As the 2016 Presidential Election draws near, I call Rappler and the mainstream media to stop sensationalism and be genuine vanguards of the society by reporting the struggles of the Filipino people and calling everyone to action.

Sincerely,

RONALD GEM A. CELESTIAL

The news site wrote a public apology to Celestial over the ‘unfortunate editing’ of the video.
"During the question and answer portion, Rody Duterte's responses are long and winding as one student points out." ‪#‎PHVote

Due to unfortunate editing of a previous version of the video within, we edited the video to correct a misleading sequencing that caused one of our readers.

Ronald Gem Celestial, to receive some flak.

We apologize for the circumstances that the unfortunate video sequence put him in. Rest assured it was not our intention to mislead our viewers.

To those who have given Gem grief over this, please note that the question "Sir, sana pakisagot lang po ng diretso kasi nagtatanong po kami ng diretso dito para po makauwi na kayo" did not come from him. Comments about the video editing should be directed at us.

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Mistaken Identity: UPLB Student Bashed Online Because of Erroneous Report and ‘Unfortunate’ Video Editing
The same forum hosted presidential candidate Jejomar Binay wherein netizens praised a UPLB student that ‘roasted’ VP Binay.
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