It was like a scene straight from MTV Boiling Points (remember that show?).
UP Law student and philosophy summa cum laude graduate Christopher Lao have become an overnight Internet celebrity for all the wrong reasons. He was interviewed by GMA 7’s Jun Veneracion because his car was rendered useless by last Tuesday’s flashfloods (triggered by storm Kabayan). He babbled and ranted on national television that he was not at all aware that Mother Ignacia Avenue in Quezon City was impassable that morning because “he was not informed.”
Mr. Lao has been described as “dumb” and a “moron” by throngs of people online for his remarks (he even has two hate pages in Facebook). He became a trending topic in Twitter and Yahoo. Literally everyone has written about him, including The Professional Heckler (http://professionalheckler.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/fyi), New York Times reporter Carlos Conde (http://asiancorrespondent.com/61702/christopher-lao-a-flood-of-online-insult/), and the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (http://www.cmfr-phil.org/2011/08/05/on-the-christopher-lao-controversy/).
Come on, cut the guy some slack. Who among you have not blurted out downright stupid things when the going gets tough? I also don’t like the thought of dragging the name of UP (my alma mater) into this entire mess. Do you really have to emphasize “UP graduate pa man din” every time you criticize him for his actions? I really hate it whenever people do that. It’s as if UP graduates are supposed to be perfect all the time (since their shortcomings are forever magnified).
I want to correct the misconception that there were no warning signs in the area. My office is near Mother Ignacia and there is not a day I don’t see this huge sign in the intersection of Panay Avenue (which comes before Ignacia, if you’re coming from UP) and EDSA:
Given the strength of the rains that morning plus the fact that he is rushing home for his daughter (according to a Facebook note by his UP classmate Rowena Ricalde), it is understandable for him not to have read the sign when he was approaching Mother Ignacia. I’m not about to speak for him on that. But, at least, the whole world now knows what MMDA has been warning us about: “Tuwing umuulan, bumabaha sa Mother Ignacia Ave.” You’re better off taking Panay Avenue instead.
Yesterday, I posted Jun Veneracion’s reaction to criticisms about his interview with Christopher Lao: http://rightonthemark.wordpress.com/2011/08/06/gma-7s-jun-veneracion-reacts-to-criticisms-about-his-interview-with-christopher-lao/