San Juan City Mayor Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito yesterday warned President Arroyo should be always on the alert nowadays following the shoe-throwing incident at a farewell press conference of US President George W. Bush.
“Arroyo should avoid being in public or she might have a worse experience than the shoe-throwing incident of Bush,” Ejercito said in an interview with reporters.
Iraqi journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi jumped up as Bush was holding a press conference with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki last Sunday and shouted: “It is the farewell kiss, you dog” and threw a pair of shoes at the US President.
Bush ducked and the first shoe hurled at him hit the American and Iraqi flags behind the two leaders while the second was off-target.
Zaidi was immediately wrestled to the ground by security guards and frogmarched from the room shouting: “You are responsible for the death of thousands of Iraqis.”
An Iraqi lawyer said Zaidi risked a minimum of two years in prison if he is prosecuted for insulting a visiting head of state and could face a 15-year prison term if he is charged with attempted murder.
Ejercito revealed that Mrs. Arroyo actually got a similar gesture in Mindanao, a pre-dominant Muslim community, when at the height of the 2007 senatorial campaign, her convoy was showered with rotten tomatoes when they passed by a public market.
“During the 2007 campaign people in Mindanao threw rotten tomatoes at her group while they passed by a public market,” Ejercito said.
He added this is “an indication of how the people disdain her.”
He suspected that the incident was not reported by media because Palace officials covered it up.
“Napagtakpan lang sa media pero marami ng incident na nabato ang convoy ni GMA ng bulok na kamatis. If I am not mistaken pati sa Divisoria,” he said.
Ejercito added he is expecting the Palace to immediately deny his revelation, so he challenged Mrs. Arroyo to prove him wrong by walking alone at a public market in Divisoria with his father, former President Joseph Estrada, to see who is more loved by the masses.
“If she wants to find out the real feelings of the people, I challenge her to walk in Divisoria without her PSG with President Estrada,” he said.
Soles of shoes are considered the ultimate insult in Arab culture. After Saddam Hussein’s statue was toppled in Baghdad in April 2003, many onlookers beat the statue’s face with the soles of their shoes. Jason Faustino