|From left to right: Xian Lim, Atty. Caroline Cruz, and Gov. Joey Salceda.|
Background: The Warm Albay souvenir items Lim allegedly refused
(Souvenir items photo by Shanti Nacion Serrano)
Cruz, who is Gov. Joey Salceda’s Chief of Staff, was representing the provincial chief executive to hand over the gift, a tradition that the provincial government observes with guests.
In an interview over Radyo ng Bayan this morning, Cruz said she was attempting to give Lim the shirt when the actor allegedly said, " Huwag po, ayaw ko po."
She then tried to hand him a coffee table book, which the actor also allegedly refused, saying "I did not come here to promote Albay.”
Outrage immediately spread in Albay over the incident as soon as it was reported.
Meanwhile, Lim tried to clarify the matter on his Twitter account.
“In the article, I was quoted as saying ‘I am not here to promote Albay,’ something I never said or would ever say,” he posted.
“My exact words to her were, ‘Sorry po, hindi ko maisuot yung tshirt kasi baka magka conflict sa clothing endorsement ko. Pasensya na po.”
Meanwhile, Cruz said that there would have been no issue with brand competition as the shirt was not from a commercial brand, but from a local government.
She also emphasized that the provincial government invited Lim as talent and paid him P375,000. She added that this is the third time that the actor was invited to perform in Albay's events.
Lim, for his part, already apologized over Twitter over the issue. He posted: “I love Albay and I am always happy to be here with its good people. I deeply apologize to gov. Salceda and the people of Albay for the misunderstanding about my reasons for refusal to wear the tshirt.”
He continued, “my parents raised me to be respectful and generous to everyone, and my management has always stressed the virtues of decency and humility. I do not do drugs and have worked hard to get to where I am.”
‘No forgiveness deserved’
Salceda, however, flat-out rejected the actor’s apology.
“No forgiveness deserved,” the provincial chief executive posted on Facebook today.
“Ordinary staff ng PTCAO ang ininsulto at hiniya ni Xian Lim. Together with ordinary Albayanos, they are the ones who work hard, silently and patiently for Albay tourism. And based on the prevarications on his posts, he is not getting it. 1. Hindi namin pinapasuot ang Tshirt sa guests. Binibigay lang 2. The mere fact that coffee book table is called Warm Albay and the tshirt is Warm Albay should already be obvious that these are typical touristic materials,” his post reads.
As of the time of posting, Albayanos are continuing to rage over the incident.