Philippines Report

Taho-Tossing Chinese commuter nag apologize, “I Really Love Filipinos”

Jiale Zhang said behind bars

The young Taho-Tossing Chinese woman arrested for splashing a police officer with taho at an MRT3 station on Saturday has apologized, saying that she had been in a bad mood that day.

“I was in a bad mood and I was not able to control my emotions,” according to Taho-Tossing Chinese Zhang said behind bars at the Mandaluyong police station in a report by Lei Alviz on 24 Oras on Monday.

“I really admit the mistake I made, and I feel so regretful for it. I'm really, really sorry. And I really ask if it's possible to have another chance for me,” she added.

Zhang, 23, has resided in the Philippines for more than six years and is currently studying fashion design.

“I really like the Philippines, that's why I stay here. I like the people here. I really love Filipinos, that's why I stayed here and I like this country,” she sobbed.

Zhang's lawyer, Sandra Respall, called the incident a “very minor omission that just went viral….it's a case where someone got emotional over an incident.”

Zhang was stopped at the turnstiles in the MRT3's Boni Station on Saturday morning by staff, who asked her to consume the taho she was carrying before entering.

The request was made due to the MRT3 management's implementation of more stringent security measures for the rail system, including a ban on liquids, after it received a bomb threat about three weeks before the deadly January 27 bombing of a cathedral in Jolo, Sulu.

Zhang refused, and the rail personnel asked PO1 William Cristobal to explain to her the policy on liquid substances.

In a fit of anger, Zhang threw the taho at him, covering him in the soy substance.

She was about to walk out, but security personnel stopped her and instead brought her to the Shaw Boulevard Police Station, where she—along with Cristobal, as complainant—was turned over to the Mandaluyong City Police Community Precinct 5 for investigation and proper disposition.

‘A big insult to us'

Zhang faces charges of direct assault, disobedience to agent of person in authority, and unjust vexation before the Mandaluyong City prosecutor's office.

She underwent inquest proceedings at the Mandaluyong police station on Sunday.

According to the report, the city's police will recommend that Zhang be declared an “undesirable alien” and deported back to China.

The Taho-Tossing Chinese said, “She talked with PO1 Cristobal and she said sorry for that,” said Mandaluyong police chief Senior Superintendent Moises Villaceran Jr.

However, he added, “Ang nadumihan dito ‘di lang po tao, but the institution ng Philippine National Police. It's a big insult to us na basta-basta lang natin balewalain ‘yung ginawa niya.”

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Guillermo Eleazar, who spoke with Zhang on Saturday, said that she must suffer the consequences of her actions.

“We will recommend for her to be considered as undesirable alien,” he said according to an earlier report.

MRT3 management also said it plans to file a separate case against Zhang, the Taho-Tossing Chinese while the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said that it is looking into what possible action to take.

Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde praised Cristobal for keeping his cool in the situation. “‘Yan ang gayahin ng ating mga pulis. ‘Yung disiplinado, pasensyoso,” he said.

Cristobal was awarded for his conduct during the flag-raising ceremony at Camp Crame on Monday.

The incident occurred in an atmosphere of increased suspicion—merited or not—towards Chinese individuals in the country, whom some believe are given special treatment over Filipinos, including for jobs. The dispute between China and the Philippines over territories in the West Philippine Sea has also added to the tension.

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