Foreigners warned not to break Philippine laws or disrespect authorities

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Philipppine laws
The Philippine National Police seeks both prison and deportation for 23-year-old Jiale Zhang who threw a cup of taho at a cop. Mandaluyong Police photo.

Foreigners will never be allowed to break Philippine laws and disrespect authorities, a spokesman for President Duterte has said.

Salvador Panelo made this remark after a Chinese woman who threw a cup of taho (soya pudding) at a cop was charged before the Mandaluyong City Prosecutor’s Office today (Monday, February 11).

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On Saturday, 23-year-old Jiale Zhang was caught on CCTV throwing a cup of taho at a police officer at a Metro Rail Transit station after he refused her entry due to a ban on bottled liquids in trains. In a fit of anger, Zhang then splashed the cup at him.

“Foreign nationals who sojourn in this country should always behave otherwise they are subject to laws and deportation,” Panelo said in a palace briefing.

“We will not allow them to disrespect authorities or violate any law or ordinance in this country.”

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However, he also agreed with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, who earlier tweeted that the incident should not be made a big deal.

“I think I will follow the line of Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin on that matter. He issued a twitter on that. Secretary Locsin, he said that let us not blowup this issue,” Panelo said.

“That particular incident happens almost anywhere, let’s not make a big deal out of it. But moreover, she has been charged, one. Number two, I think they are considering her deportation.”

The fashion design student is facing charges for direct assault, disobedience to an agent or person of authority and unjust vexation.

Following the incident, Vice President Leni Robredo said Zhang insulted not only the officer but the Filipino nation as a whole.

Robredo also the incident was a “wake-up call” to the supposed special treatment given to Chinese over Filipinos, including for local jobs.

This, Robredo said, may have caused some of them to think they can show disrespect to Filipinos and break Philippine laws.

However, Panelo dismissed this reading of events. He said: “Maybe it’s a wake-up call for her to stop speculating and stop giving statements that may inflame incidents that need not be so.” 

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