NEW YORK - President Benigno Aquino III was heckled by individuals who appeared to belong to US-based Filipino militant organisations during his visit to Columbia University on Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday morning in Manila).
Aquino delivered a policy speech at Columbia's World Leaders' Forum and had just begun taking questions when a man and a woman took turns shouting at him.
The woman was heard saying: "I look up to your mother. I am a Filipino woman and I saw her as a hero-a modern-day hero for me-and what do you do? You want a charter change to extend your presidency? I looked up to her as a hero and now I see the realities of what your family has done. I have been to Hacienda Luisita. I have seen nine-year olds who lost…"
The forum host interrupted the woman and asked her to stop but she told the emcee:
"This is the only opportunity I have to talk to the person…"
She screamed "Shame on you!" as she was led out of the Low Library where the forum was held.
Inquirer photographer Edwin Bacasmas said he saw the woman join protesters holding up banners of the militant groups Gabriela and Bayan.
At a press briefing with the Philippine media, Aquino said he was used to being heckled.
"I am ready to listen to everyone," he said but expressed hope that there would be a "synthesis" of ideas and not simply end with an "anti-thesis."
A man also tried to engage President Aquino in a debate after he delivered a policy speech at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government last Monday (Tuesday morning in Manila).
The man questioned the Philippines' purchase of firearms from the United States and Canada, when such a programme would not create employment for the Filipino people.