Youth group urges school leaders not to invite candidates in events

Published March 23, 2019, 5:59 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Merlina Hernando-Malipot 

A youth group is urging school leaders not to invite political candidates in events such as debates and fora where they can “spread lies.”

The Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK), which identifies itself as a youth organization aiming to “educate and mobilize the youth in widening its democratic rights and empower them to counter all forms of oppression and capitalist exploitation,” particularly called on youth leaders and leaders of various councils and organizations to “boycott” Atty. Larry Gadon not just in all events such as debates and fora but also in the coming midterm elections.

“The youth must show Gadon that his vulgar, theatrical antics don’t deserve a platform to even be engaged with,” SPARK said in a statement. The group cited that in the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Gadon was “caught red-handed once again in his dishonesty.”

“After being asked a question about why he says there was ‘no corruption under the Marcos dictatorship’, he started stating outright lies,” SPARK said. “He claimed erroneously that the total budget of the Marcos regime for twenty years was 467 billion pesos, claiming that it was used for major infrastructure projects,” the group added.

During the forum, a critical student from the audience called Gadon out as a “liar.” SPARK said that the student was “met only by rude, pompous, and patronizing remarks” by the senatorial aspirant and was even called “bobo” in front of the audience.

SPARK condemned Gadon’s “malicious and dishonest claims regarding the Marcos dictatorship’s track record of corruption.” The group noted that “clear historical evidence from various courts local and abroad show that the Marcos regime borrowed billions of dollars from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank in order to fund the infrastructure projects that Atty. Gadon is so unabashedly proud of.”

The group stressed that the “long term effect of the Marcos dictatorship’s borrowing mania is the continuing mass indebting of generations of Filipinos, many of whom continue to experience poverty.”

SPARK also condemned Gadon’s “reduction of the EDSA and post-EDSA narratives to that of the Marcoses and the Aquinos – a mere story of competing factions of the ruling elite.” The group said that “not only is this narrative reductive, but it is also disrespectful to the generations of youth activists in cooperation with the masses who were the true protagonists in the resistance to the Marcos dictatorship which culminated in the EDSA People Power Revolt.”

Furthermore, SPARK alleged that Gadon’s “omission of these undeniable historical facts reveals his true form as a senatoriable: a vulgar, fascist clown.” The group noted that instead of answering questions “honestly and respectfully” the lawyer “makes erroneous unsubstantiated claims about the Marcos regime, and veers attention away from the pressing questions at hand by resorting to theatrical ad hominem attacks on the audience.”

For the group, Gadon’s actions are “not that of a genuine senatoriable, but that of a living piñata intended to sway and agitate the masses and the youth from the real issues that affect them.” More than just gaining votes on election day, the group alleged that “the true victory of a clown like Atty. Gadon is in how many people he can distract through his vulgar, theatrical antics.”

SPARK believes that “genuine nuisance” candidates such as Gadon “must be viciously deplatformed by youth who desire candidates truly deserving of their votes.” Thus, the group enjoined all youth, particularly leaders of councils and organizations, to “boycott” him not just this election day but also in all events so that he can no longer “spread lies.”