In an interview with DZMM Teleradyo, Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) spokesperson and Philippine Army Multi Sector Advisory Board Member Celine Pialago spoke to media almost a day after her controversial post on 23-yo political prisoner Reina Nasino who buried her 3-month old baby under heavy security and police takeover of the burial.
Pialago said the only thing she needed to clarify in her post is the term “drama serye”, which she said did not pertain to Nasino, but those who are riding on the issue to deliver anti-government messages.
“’Yong salitang “drama serye” ay hindi po drama ng isang ina. Wala pong drama sa namatayan, real life po iyon, e… Namatayan rin po ako ng lola, ng lolo, siguro lahat naman tayo…lalo na kung anak…” said Pialago.
In a Facebook post on her official account on October 18, Pialago weighed in on the treatment of Nasino and baby River, saying not all mothers in prison are able to visit the burial of their children. Pialago started her post with a disclaimer that it is not about traffic, but that she needed to use her voice on this issue.
“Kaya kung sumisimpatya kayo kay Reina Mae Nasino, pag-aralan niyo mabuti ang dahilan bakit siya nakulong at kilalanin niyong mabuti kung sino siya sa lipunan. Masyado ninyong ginagawang pang drama serye sa hapon ang paghihinagpis niya. Tigilan niyo!,” she wrote in her post.
[If you are sympathizing with Reina Mae Nasino, learn why she got arrested and know who she really is in society. You are making her grief an afternoon drama series. Stop it!]
Netizens has directed their ire against Pialago since then, making her a trending topic with mostly posts against her and also made her a meme, throwing back her faux pas in an interview describing someone “passed away” instead of “passed out.”
Pialago’s post was deleted and she was then bashed for deleting the post. But she reposted it, with Pialago saying “I will post this again with no hint of regret.”
In her post, Pialago explained she has 70 admins in her account, so there was a mistake in the post getting deleted. Netizens questioned who pays for her admins. A later comment from Pialago asked where the netizen got the information she has 70 admins.
In the interview this morning, however, she clarified she only has 7 as Facebook only allows 12 admins anyway, and that she has reprimanded the one who posted that she has 70.
A wife of a political prisoner who said Nasino was illegaly arrested and detained even if she did not violate any law, to whom Pialago replied “why don’t you join her if she did not violate any [law].”
Some netizens claimed Pialago sent them messages directly, telling them their post is “too much” such as one netizen who shared a 2018 post about Celine and her boyfriend.
Also asked in the interview to shed light on her statement that netizens “must know who Nasino is” and asked to share what she knows, Pialago did not elaborate but said she has sources since she is an army reservist.
When made to comment that her accusation that people who are uninvolved are riding on the issue could apply to her as well because this is not within the ambit of the duties of the MMDA, she said she is just sharing her knowledge.
Pialago, however, could not get even Nasino’s name right, calling her “Ryza” several times and being corrected by the reporters all those times she said “Ryza” instead of “Reina” or “Reina Mae.”
When asked if she is willing to apologize for her statement, she said she would on the part that the “drama serye” statement could have made Nasino and her family think was directed at them.
“For who you are, kung bakit marami kang security, hindi ako nag-apologize,” said Pialago, in a completely different approach from other government officials interviewed on Nasino and baby River’s plight, such as the Department of Justice, Bureau of Correction who pointed to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology to have the explanation on the police escorts presence and actions in baby River’s funeral and burial. Pialago’s office, as MMDA spokesperson and army reservist, had no hand in Nasino’s security protocol.