LEGAZPI CITY, Philippines (UPDATED) – A newbie congressman is in hot water after a video that showed him throwing a punch at a waiter in a restaurant in this city circulated online.
The incident at Bigg’s Diner involving Ang Probinsyano Representative Alfred delos Santos happened on the morning of Sunday, July 7, but was only known days later, after the CCTV footage of the incident made rounds online.
The video showed the waiter, 20-year-old Christian Kent Alejo, placing paper placemats on the table of Delos Santos, who was with 3 companions.
After Alejo was done, he was seen about to leave the table but Delos Santos apparently said something as the waiter stopped and turned to look at him. They had an exchange, and after a few seconds, the congressman stood up and attempted to hit the waiter with his left hand.
Alejo reported the incident to Police Community Precinct 2 in Legazpi City, and asked for a certification "to put in writing said incident for record and reference purposes."
The police blotter said Alejo claimed that Delos Santos "punched him without any apparent reason.”
“Luckily he avoided the said punch," it added.
Alejo was apparently not pressing charges against the congressman, based on the document.
"Christian Kent Alejo was referred to Criminal Investigation section but refused to do so," said the July 8 certification from the police.
Delos Santos is the son of prominent local contractor Grace delos Santos.
Ang Probinsyano, a new party-list group, won two seats in the House of Representatives after placing 5th in the May elections.
The party banked on the popularity of the long-running TV series of the same name. It was endorsed by Ang Probinsyano stars Coco Martin and Yassi Pressman who were featured in the group's campaign posters. Martin also joined its campaign rallies and motorcades.
Ang Probinsyano said on Thursday, July 11, that it was "concerned and really disappointed with what happened" and that it will not hesitate to suspend or even expel Delos Santos from the party if its investigation into the incident would warrant it.
“Definitely we will not tolerate any kind of abuse in our party. We will not hesitate to suspend or even remove Congressman Delos Santos if we establish that this was an unprovoked attack,” said Ang Probinsyano spokesman Joco Sabio.
"We are not taking this sitting down and we are taking all the necessary steps to make sure that this will not happen again in the future,” Sabio added.
He said Delos Santos would be given a chance to explain himself "so that the party can fairly decide on what course of action it would take."
“Despite all the flak that our party is getting because of this incident, we will still accord Rep. Delos Santos the right to due process,” Sabio said.
He added that Delos Santos' actions should not be seen as representative of the entire party.
”I would like to make it very clear however that Rep. Delos Santos is our nominee but he is not the entire representation of the Ang Probinsyano Partylist. His actions and his decisions are his own and should not reflect on Ang Probinsyano as a party and as an organization,” Sabio said. – with a report from Mara Cepeda/Rappler.com