WATCH: Duterte gets 'harassed' by 'rude', 'disrespectful', 'arrogant' UP student

Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte was reportedly verbally harassed by a rude, disrespectful, and arrogant student of the University of the Philippines.

During an open forum held at UP Los Baños on Friday, March 11, Duterte was asked to clarify whether he would allocate more for education or national defense and how he would implement measures to improve defense without increasing its budget.

While Duterte was speaking, the UPLB student interrupted and told him to give a direct answer. The man of the hour tried to elaborate his explanation but the student interrupted again and said the city mayor should hurry up so he can already go home.

Initially, netizens thought that the UPLB student who "disrespected" Duterte was University Student Council (USC) chairman Ronald Gem Celestial because of a video released by Rappler, the news outlet which covered the event.

It turned out that the student who got bashed by Duterte's supporters is a different person. He was identified in various blog reports as a certain Stephen Villena.

Celestial, an alleged staunch supporter of Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential bet Leni Robredo, meanwhile, posted on Facebook the following open letter to clear his name and slam Rappler for the video report.

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 [What is your concrete action or] 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 [because in my own opinion, Filipinos are already fed up with previous presidents who failed to fulfill their promises]. So ngayon po, ang tanong ko po [Now, my question is], 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 [kindly give us a direct answer so you can already go home]." (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

Villena, on the other hand, posted his own open letter [click here to read].

The verbal exchange has become a trending topic on social media while the video garnered millions of views on Facebook and YouTube combined.

Watch: