UP-Los Baños students slam ABS-CBN, deny heckling Binay

THE University of the Philippines-Los Baños University Student Council has denied that the campus’ 12,000 Iskolar ng Bayan heckled Vice President Jejomar Binay, prompting a television network to apologize for its erroneous reporting.

UPLB University Student Council chairman Ronald Gem Celestial posted an open letter through various social media accounts to ABS-CBN denouncing its “misleading, inaccurate and unethical reporting.”


Celestial took exemptions to the network’s portrayal of the UPLB students as “unmannered and of low breeding” in its articles about Tuesday’s forum, where Binay had been its guest speaker.

“It is insulting and unacceptable for the part of the Iskolar ng Bayan to be wrongly portrayed by ABS-CBN’s recently published articles,” Celestial said.

He denied that the members of the Iskolar ng Bayan chanted “trapo” and heckled Binay before his speech.

The Standard also reported the alleged jeering in its Sept. 16 issue during the open forum because of the sharp questions thrown by the students, but no chanting of “trapo” was reported.

ABS-CBN News apologized to the UPLB students on Sept. 19.

“ABS-CBN News expresses its sincerest apologies to the students of UP Los Baños for the errors committed by in two articles about the forum of UP Los Baños students with Vice President Jejomar Binay last September 15,” the station said.

“In our effort to provide a more comprehensive coverage of the forum, one of our writers mistook the word ‘sample’ for ‘trapo.’ We immediately corrected this right after we were alerted about the mistake on September 16, 2015.”

The station also vowed it would be “taking disciplinary steps against those responsible for the oversight.”

On Sept. 15, Celestial said Binay visited the UPLB to speak at a forum hosted by the Department of Social Sciences of the College of Arts & Sciences.

It was in this forum inside the DL Umali Hall, Celestial said, that Binay discussed transparency and good governance.

Several news agencies covered the forum, eventually publishing news articles and releasing reports the following hours and days, he said.

“It has come to the University Student Council’s attention of certain news articles published exclusively by ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs, which drew clamor against the students of UPLB,” Celestial said.

“First, a certain video published online by the Facebook page on the 16th of September, which accused UPLB Students of shouting ‘trapo’ before VP Binay started his speech.

“The caption has already been updated but its original words were: “LISTEN: UPLB students shout ‘trapo’ as Vice President Binay starts his forum yesterday. And the vice president’s reaction? Watch.”

Second, Celestial said, a news article was published by the same news agency on the 17th entitled “VP Binay felt disrespected at UPLB forum.”

Later that day, Celestial said, the title was changed to “VP Binay: I enjoyed UPLB forum.”

Besides the inconsistency of the news article’s title, Celestial said, the article itself contained one anomalous statement, which was already edited, accusing UPLB Students again of shouting ‘trapo.’

“The original article included this statement: “The response drew loud cheers from the audience of mostly UPLB students, many of whom had chanted “trapo” at the start of Binay’s speech”,” Celestial said.

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