Respect persons in authority

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A 23-year-old Chinese national came under fire over the weekend when a photo of her throwing a cup of taho at a police officer surfaced on social media. The incident took place after the Chinese national was reminded of the “no liquid policy” inside trains for security purposes.

“Each country has its own bad apples and I am sure we can all think of a few of our own countrymen who sometimes behave badly when abroad.

According to a police report released by the Mandaluyong City police, the Chinese national identified as Jiale Zhang had an argument with Police Officer 1 William Cristobal at the Boni Avenue Station when the latter insisted that Zhang could not bring her cup of taho inside the train. Instead of complying, as any decent and reasonable person would, Zhang threw a tantrum and the taho at our law enforcer.

Zhang has now been charged with direct assault, unjust vexation and disobedience to a person in authority. Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Oscar Albayalde even suggested that she should be tagged an undesirable alien, which will eventually lead to her deportation. Under our immigration laws, an undesirable alien is a person who is not a citizen of the country and whom the government believes should not be allowed to stay in the country due to misdeeds and violation of laws. But before deportation, she must first face the charges that have been brought against her. Of the three, direct assault carries the heaviest penalty: jail time from between two to six years. (All this over taho that she could have just finished before getting on the train!)

The flak Zhang is getting over her reprehensible behavior is warranted, as in disobeying a person in authority she was sending the message that she is above our laws. Despite this, I still believe that the generalization of Chinese nationals proliferating online following this incident is unfair. After all, each country has its own bad apples and I am sure we can all think of a few of our own countrymen who sometimes behave badly when abroad.

This taho-throwing incident is a reminder to all of us to respect persons in authority, especially when it comes to safety concerns. Our uniformed personnel are currently on heightened alert following the consecutive attacks in some parts of the country and it is imperative that we show good faith and cooperate with them because it’s for our own good.

More than this, the incident likewise shows that our government does not give special treatment to foreigners. Foreign nationals in the Philippines should always abide by our laws, else they will be treated to the terrors of the Philippine justice system. They are here as guests, and as legendary as Filipino hospitality is, it should never be abused.

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