'Passed away', you say? Pialago hits back at Gaite, lectures him about rallies

Published July 8, 2021, 1:52 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago has engaged another congressman from the left-leaning Makabayan bloc in a war of words.

MMDA Assistant Secretary Celine Pialago (Photo from Asec Pialago’s Facebook)

In a Facebook post Thursday, July 8, Pialago hit Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Ferdinand Gaite for mocking her in connection with her revelation that she used to attend rallies as a college student in order to get “class points”.

Pialago made this statement last Monday when she attended the “Kabataan Party-List Decoded: A virtual forum on genuine youth representation” event in her concurrent capacity as the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson on public affairs and youth concerns.

To this, Gaite reportedly said on Wednesday: “Name that professor who promised you ‘dagdag [additional] points’ to join a rally. ‘Wag mong sabihin that she already ‘passed away’ ha (Don’t say that she already passed away).” The phrase “passed away” was a callback to Pialago’s faux pas in 2014 wherein she described a fellow Miss Earth beauty pageant contestant as having “passed away” instead of “passed out”.

“Kayo lang ang nagiisip na ang context ng rally ay masama kaya siguro kayo nagagalit. Masyado ka atang guilty Cong Gaite. …Easy ka lang Cong. Masyado kang obvious. (You’re the only one who’s thinking that the context of a rally is bad, maybe that’s why you’re mad. You seem to be too guilty Cong Gaite…Take it easy Cong. You’re too obvious),” Pialago said.

She went on to lecture the House of Representatives member how joining these rallies in the past impacted her academically.

“Alam mo naman siguro, na kapag sumasama ang mga estudyante sa mga prayer vigil, rallies marami silang natututunan at higit sa lahat mamumulat ang kanilang kaisipan (I think you know that students learn a lot and have their minds exposed wherenever they attend prayer vigils and rallies).

“Dahil ang pagsama sa mga ganitong aktibidad ay may kaakibat na reaction paper, doon masusukat kung mayroon kang naintindihan. So, ano ang masama kung magkaka-puntos ka? (Joining these activities entail having to submit a reaction paper; that will gauge whether or not you understood anything. So what’s wrong with gaining points from that?)” asked the lady official.

It should be noted that the NTF-ELCAC considers the party-lists or organizations under the Makabayan bloc as the fronts of communists. And as far as the task force is concerned, communists equals terrorists.

“Nagiging masama lang ang pagrarally kung ang nagiging intensyon ng mga sumasama dito ay maging marahas at mag alsa sa gobyerno. Saka nga pala Gaite, ano masasabi mo sa mga kabataang nag ‘passed away’ dahil sa kagagawan ng mga kasama mo? (Rallies only take on a bad connotation if those who join it want to pursue violence or topple the government. Also Gaite, what can you say about the young Filipinos who have passed away because of your cohort’s handiwork?)” Pialago said, using the congressman punchline against him.

NTF-ELCAC’s Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) filed last month a petition to cancel the registration of the Kabataan Party-List before the Commission on Elections (Comelec). The task force has alleged that Kabataan Party-List has been luring young Filipinos to join the communist armed conflict against the government through rallies.

The current Kabataan Party-List representative, Sarah Jane Elago, is a bloc-mate of Gaite’s in the House. There are six Makabayan solons in all in the 18th Congress.

Last Monday. Pialago described Elago as having been “irreparably brainwashed” to her group’s alleged cause.