Special Assistant to the President Bong Go gave the floor to a voice impersonator of the president during a visit to evacuees in Marikina, as seen in video clips shared on social media.
Go’s visit was amid Filipinos asking online about the whereabouts of President Rodrigo Duterte using the hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo as villages are inundated from days of heavy rains.
The hashtag first circulated on social media during the administration of Duterte’s successor, Noynoy Aquino, whenever the public would perceive of his absence during tragic events such as the killing of elite police troopers in Mamasapano, Maguindanao in 2015.
Go and his team had been going around the flood-affected areas, such as the evacuation center in Marikina, to give away relief goods and assist victims on Duterte’s behalf. Go, who is a recent subject of commercials and posters, is rumored to run for senator next year even as he repeatedly denied it.
Some attendees of his visit in Marikina shared a recording of the sketchy scene.
Part of it showed the president’s top aide initially introducing a person as an official of the maximum security prison in Davao city, while not naming the man. Go then described him as “Duterte, fake” while gesturing peace in front of the crowd in an evacuation center at Barangay Sto. Nino in Marikina city.
This person then portrayed President Rodrigo Duterte in a short speech.
Go had been previously criticized for the various tarpaulins and other paraphernalia that imply an upcoming candidacy amid his repeated denial to run next year.
The president, himself, and several other government officials have vowed to support him would he join the 2019 senatorial race.
Entertainment, leadership or both?
Go’s intention to entertain did not sit well with some Filipinos, who argue that the top aide and his team are making fools out of the people at the time when they really needed a leader.
Some people even questioned why the actor and administration ally Philip Salvador was there.
I’m from Marikina and the palace sent Bong Go, Philip Salvador (what the h**l is his business there?!), and PRD’s look-alike. I think they should have sent Gloria’s, PNoy’s, Ramos’, Erap’s look-alike para it’s a tie. LOL #kangkungangovernment
— Josh Inocencio (@JoshSimplicated) August 13, 2018
Ginagago nyo talaga ang mga Pinoy noh? Si presidente ang hinahanap, dadalhin nyo yung impersonator pati si Philip Salvador?!
— SPAMela HAMderson (@SPAMelaHam) August 13, 2018
The hashtag #NasaanAngPangulo went viral on social media as people aired their grievances online over Duterte’s perceived absence during the calamity, the proportions of which were reminiscent of the deadly Typhoon Ondoy in 2009.
Reacting to criticisms, Go said that Duterte went to Davao on Saturday and returned to Manila afterwards as he monitors the situation. Malacañang, on the other hand, said that the president stayed at the palace for the weekend.
It may not be clearly seen if the impersonator had similar features to the chief executive, but Duterte—similar to other presidents—have inspired impersonators.
Cresencio Estremus, a revenue officer in Misamis Oriental, is on point when channeling his impression of the chief executive.
Doppelgänger Mayor Zigfred Provadora Duterte was also introduced as Duterte’s distant relative in Tabogon, Cebu.