No, I am not talking about the San Beda Red Lions making minced meat out of the JRU Heavy Bombers last Monday. There was an interesting sideshow that happened nearing halftime of the blowout match.
It was a capacity crowd that came out to watch the rematch of the 2008 NCAA finalists. My family knew all too well that it will be filled to the rafters. So we arrived at the Arena an hour early to get good seats. We were issued NCAA guest passes, so we use this to gain entry to the Arena during NCAA games. While the NCAA issues tickets with seat numbers, the seating arrangement is almost never followed. The rule of thumb since time immemorial is FIRST-COME, FIRST SERVED.
Before the game started, an usherette approached me and said that I should give way to the ticket holders, who were supposed to take our seat. I said, “Are you seriously going to rearrange the whole venue so you could follow the seat numbers?” That was virtually impossible, as all the seats were already filled. People were already sitting on the steps and on the aisle! But I said if they insist, okay I will move. Then the usherette said, okay ma’am I think they will move later. In the meantime, I stayed put on my seat, together with a friend and my mom.
Soon after the second quarter began, a woman dressed in “The Arena” uniform, approached our seats and started relocating the people seated beside us. She was asking us for tickets to show. We showed her our guest passes. She said, with that pass, we are not entitled guaranteed seats anywhere.
My mom said angrily, “Dont you dare ask us to move? Can you see how packed this venue is? If you can ask the entire crowd to find their appropriate seats, then we will move.”
Then she walked away saying, “kausapin nyo nalang ung taga-San Beda”
In a matter of minutes, Mari Lacson, NCAA ManCom chair, was walking towards us. He explained to my mom that it was his policy that ticket holders will be given priority, we had to vacate our seats. My mom said, “Do you know how hard it is to get seats now??” A heated exchange ensued. Then my mom stormed out, and left her seat.
The ticket holders, I found out thereafter, were already occupying seats several rows behind us. I started to talk to them and asked where their seats were so we can transfer there. I was about to move to the back, when the woman, in her Arena uniform and walkie-talkie, came to shoo us away from our seats.
Now she had reinforcement, a security escort.
She started shooing displaced spectators. Mind you,with accompanying hand gestures… As in shoo fly, dont bother me. Saying also to the guard behind her, paalisin nyo mga ‘yan.
One Bedan alumnus approached her and said that, let us resolve this among ourselves, without the need for security. But no, she totally ignored this advice.
I, trying to keep my cool, approached her. I said in Tagalog, “Nakausap ko na ung mga nakaupo dito. Lilipat na kami sa inuupuan nila. Okay na kami. Di ka na kailangan andito.” I said this very diplomatically. But it translated to her in a very threatening tone. Baka kasi barok yung Tagalog ko.
This woman now said, “Baket?! I have every right to be here!!” Then she flashed her ID so close to my face. Kulang nalang isampal nya sa mukha ko.
Now I remember her name, even in my sleep…
“MARILYN V. MANANSALA, MANAGER”.
Repeat until fade…
I couldnt contain myself anymore. I said,
Me: Alam mo kinakausap kita nang matino, wag kang bastos.
Manager: Ikaw ang bastos, kanina ka pa nambabastos.
Me: Ako, bastos? Binastos ba kita? Kausap ba kita kanina? At this point, I was standing really close to her. Maybe I was already shouting to her ear. Most of all, I was trying my hardest not to nudge her off the railing.
Manager: Wag mo ko itulak. Hindi mo kilala kung sino ako.. (Yes ngayon, kilala na kita. MARILYN V. MANANSALA. Thanks to the ID flashing)
Me: Huh? Tinutulak ba kita.
Manager: Palabasin nyo nga to! (talking to her security guard escort)
Waaaaaaahhhh daig pa ang radio drama sa hapon!!!!!
Now I looked at the security escort. He looked back respectfully and apologetically at me. I nodded back at him, signalling I’m okay, if not for this B**** (with a capital BEEE) in front of me.
At this point, I turned away to search for my relocated seat, controlling myself not to inflict slight physical injuries against this woman. My dad already rushed to my side, anticipating any effort from the guard to drag me out of the premises. The security guard, the usherettes, even the patrons who displaced us from our seats repeatedly apologized to me because of that. I gracefully accepted the apologies and smiled back at them. It’s all good.
I found out later on that my brother and our other friends were watching the scene from afar, ready to back me up in case of any untoward incident. A reliable source even told me that after that encounter, this woman gathered the guards and instructed them to take pictures of me!
Honestly, a week has passed and my family hadn’t gotten over that day. We were embarassed in front of a sea of Bedans all because we had NCAA guest passes which, according to my dad, was afforded the lowest of the low priority. We were humiliated like that because we didnt have three freaking lower box seats worth P150 each. We decided to be paying patrons from now on, and use the NCAA guest pass as a huge huge pendant.
I understand the policy that was being implemented on guest passes and paid tickets, as was explained to us by the ManCom chair, at the venue, and a text exchange thereafter. But, in my opinion, it must be implemented strictly, at all times. I suggest that the ushers and usherettes, from the beginning till the end, should be instructed to lead paying patrons to their designated seat numbers, as printed on the tickets. The way it’s being done in Araneta should also be implemented in the Arena. I observed too that numerous guest passes were issued to loyal patrons, press people, NCAA officials, etc. I think it’s best to allot a dedicated area where these guests can sit. Not just to shoo them away at very awkward moments of the game, when people who are late start claiming their seats. I think something must really be done about this, to avoid incidents like these in the future.
All that being said, the most abhorring fact here is the unforgivable, brazen attitude of the Arena manager. Kilala nyo na ba sha? All together now…
MARILYN V. MANANSALA
If you click this link, http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleid=449553
You will see her in the picture, the woman wearing blue.
From my brief research, I find that this woman is an official of the City Government of San Juan and the FilOil Flying V Arena is the property of the city of San Juan. You can find her name and designation from the San Juan City website.
As a city official/employee, you, Ms. Manager, are expected to “extend prompt, COURTEOUS, and adequate service to the public.” That’s by law, dear. You can look it up on the CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL STANDARDS FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND EMPLOYEES. As longtime residents and constituents of San Juan, my family deserves that from our city officials and employees. And that includes YOU.
It is disheartening that people, who are given a small dose of power, stomp on ordinary citizens to assert their might. It was a surprise to find this kind of attitude in a sports arena, in a San Beda-JRU basketball match! Aren’t we all lucky this woman was just a manager of a piece of city property? What a scary thought it is if this individual was a barangay captain, city mayor, or geezzz… president of the Philippines!
In this short theatric act, one can already sense the struggle of the seemingly powerful and the powerless. What a sad, sad reality!
It helped though that the Red Lions relied on the heroics of Superman to chalk up an impressive victory against the Heavy Bombers.
Buti nalang panalo kami. Nawala init ng ulo ko. Kung natalo, gerahan na to!!!
Recounting the experience makes my blood rise!!!
Pero sige na nga, GO SAN BEDA FIGHT nalang!