A number of colleagues of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan in the Senate dismissed the rumors that there are plans to unseat the latter as Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes chair.
This is the lone panel the opposition senator is leading in the 18th Congress.
On Wednesday, the hashtag #OustKiko trended on Twitter Philippines after some accounts suddenly called to oust Pangilinan from his post and said he is no longer fit for his position. They also tweeted about the senator’s critical views against some policies of the Duterte administration.
If you chair a committee who handles constitutional amendments but you're doing nothing to improve it for the good of the country and its people, you are probably Kiko Pangilinan.#OustKiko pic.twitter.com/SewcyL6EkU
— Igorot Lakwatsero™ (@theigorotkid) July 15, 2020
When this reached Pangilinan, the senator said that he is willing to give up his chairmanship if the Senate will ask him to do so and not because of alleged troll accounts.
“I am ready to give up the post anytime if asked by the Senate leadership but certainly not because of the ‘clamor’ of paid online trolls,” Pangilinan told reporters.
“Besides, the argument that the problem of COVID will be solved by Charter Change is quite frankly out of this world,” he added.
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said that he had not heard of such calls to remove Pangilinan.
“Baka imbento…Mabuti pa sila. Maraming alam. Better ask the mongerers,” Sotto said.
Sen. Joel Villanueva also denied having heard of such ouster rumors and stressed that lawmakers are the first to know if there will be changes in the constitutional amendments committee.
“I have yet to hear anyone, even chismis or rumors about it,” he said.
No 2022 elections?
Award-winning writer Jerry Gracio tweeted speculation that the alleged move to oust Pangilinan could be part of the step to extend the term of the president.
O, may pa-Oust Kiko ang mga troll. Mukhang yayariin na nila ang Konstitusyon. Pustahan, may term extension. Bye, 2022 elections.
— Jerry B. Grácio (@JerryGracio) July 15, 2020
The last time charter change resurfaced was last May when an organization called the Constitutional Reform Movement (CORE) was reportedly gathering online signatures to back the proposed amendments to the Constitution.
The Department of Interior and Local Government the Presidential Communications Operations Office immediately denied their involvement in this initiative.
However, an official from CORE countered their statements and stressed that the group had been helping the DILG in the online signature campaign.
Pangilinan’s daughter, singer-songwriter Kakie, on Tuesday evening also warned her followers in a now-deleted Twitter thread that some “Facebook boomers” will attempt to remove him from the committee leadership.
to all my filo & non filo moots people are trying to trend #OustKiko in my country— attempting to take down kiko pangilinan as the chairman of the constitutional committee. he has always defended our constitution and heres a more informative thread from his own daughter: pic.twitter.com/VuXUB7hNge
— jc♡ || track 9 of LT2 (@goldncnyon) July 15, 2020
Hashtags to counter the #OustKiko hashtag
Instead of using the hashtag with Sen. Kiko’s name, other Filipinos used the name of Sen. Koko Pimentel, citing his glaring quarantine violations last March, during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine.
— czaraaah 🥨 (@lakwatsarah) July 15, 2020
Pimentel was then criticized for accompanying his pregnant wife at the Makati Medical Center in Makati City despite undergoing a COVID-19 test and amid the quarantine rules. He also went to an international grocery store during the mandated 14-day quarantine period.
On March 24, hours before his wife gave birth, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine confirmed he got the deadly virus.
The hospital also called Pimentel out then as he both exposed himself to the public including its patients and health workers.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra earlier sought for compassion for Pimentel during which.
Samira Gutoc, former Otso Diretso senatorial candidate and a vocal critic of the administration, quipped that people should use hashtag “OustTheTurtle” instead.
— Samira Gutoc (@GutocSamira) July 15, 2020
Meanwhile, Pangilinan’s allies questioned the supposed ouster plot.
Chel Diokno, a human rights activist and chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group, stressed that COVID-19 should be prioritized instead of unseating Pangilinan.
“Wag sana nila gagamitin pa itong COVID para ipilit ang interes ng mga totoong oligarchs na political families. Testing at ayuda ang kailangan ng taumbayan!” he said.
Daming nagkakasakit at namamatay, pero #OustKiko ba talaga ang paandar ng administrasyon? Wag sana nila gagamitin pa itong COVID para ipilit ang interes ng mga totoong oligarchs na political families. Testing at ayuda ang kailangan ng taumbayan!
— Chel Diokno (@ChelDiokno) July 15, 2020
Pangilinan’s wife megastar Sharon Cuneta made a screenshot of this tweet and shared it on her Instagram post.
In a lengthy caption, Cuneta defended her family, including Sen. Kiko and her daughter Kakie, against those hurling malicious comments against them, saying they had gone too far.
View this post on Instagram
So now, my husband naman. I want to refrain from posting about politics na, but sorry po – I have to stand up for what is right – especially if it involves someone I love. Matagal ko na pinalampas ang mga pamimintas at masasakit na salita laban sa asawa ko, pero hindi na po kaya ng pamilya namin. Lalo na ng mga anak naming wala namang malay at di hiniling na dito sa pamilya namin sila isilang. I wonder who’ll be next? Going too far. So sad. O, Pilipinas naming mahal…ano na ang ginagawa sa iyo…Dear God, You are alive, You see all, You know all. We trust only in YOU.🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 Kalma lang. Nandyan ang Panginoon. At KAMI, NANANALIG SA KANIYA. Bilog ang mundo. At mapalad ang inaapi. God bless us all.🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 #enoughisenough