Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig-Pateros) will be debuting his own bloc at the Lower House on January 14, three months after his resigned from his speakership post.
Cayetano left his Speaker post in October 2020 following a tense power-struggle between his camp and that of current House Speaker and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque).
He made headlines anew after his bloc he dubbed “BTS sa Kongreso,” earned the ire of Filipino fans of the popular South Korean septet of the same name.
Similar to BTS, Cayetano’s own bloc also comprises seven members—including himself and six of his loyal allies:
- Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr (Camarines Sur 2nd District)
- Dan Fernandez (Laguna; 1st District)
- Raneo Abu (Batangas; 2nd District)
- Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan)
- Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (Bulacan; 1st District)
- Fredenil Castro (Capiz; 2nd District)
When reporters asked the meaning behind the name last Tuesday, the members said that they planned to reveal it on the official launch slated Thursday.
Defensor quipped that the group name was supposed to be “X-Men” because the members previously held top positions such as chairpersons and deputy speakers in the House.
Villafuerte, on the other hand, said that the public can refer to them as an “independent majority” who will be critical of Velasco’s leadership.
“Maybe you can call us independent majority. I don’t want to say we’re against Velasco. We would just be more critical of certain issues and legislation,” Villafuerte said.
“If we see something that’s wrong, we’ll also speak out because at the end of the day, we want what’s good for the country. We’re still definitely part of the administration and the Duterte majority,” he added.
However, Cayetano on Wednesday reportedly said the bloc’s name is based on the Korean boy group BTS but they altered the meaning to: “Back To Service Congress.”
Cayetano says BTS means "Back To Service Congress."
— Nestor A. Corrales (@NCorralesINQ) January 13, 2021
The Grammy-nominated BTS, is an acronym for Bangtan Sonyeondan (방탄소년단) and translates to “bullet proof boy scouts.”
Its members are RM, J-Hope, Suga, Jin, Jimin, V and Jung Kook.
The group was nominated at the Grammy Awards, the first for a South Korean male group, for the Best Pop Duo/Group category for their hit song “Dynamite.”
BTS’ fandom name is called ARMY, short for Adorable Representative MC for the Youth, who are also notable for their charitable projects across the world.
Filipino ARMYs were quick to denounce the lawmakers for the use of “BTS” in their bloc’s name.
They launched the hashtag #CayetanoStopUsingBTS which trended on Twitter Philippines on Wednesday morning with almost 7,700 tweets under its belt.
PH ARMYS, WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING. OPEN THIS THREAD AND READ EVERY PICTURES‼️ pic.twitter.com/RXFNv7JrqX
— 𝐜𝐡𝐮𝐚 ❼ (@bangtanicksm) January 12, 2021
Other fan accounts on Twitter posted the notice of BTS’ music label Big Hit Entertainment regarding “unauthorized use of artist imagery and trademarks in publications.”
They urged others to email Big Hit and ask them to take action instead of joining the online trend as they alleged the lawmakers’ trademark violations for the use of the name “BTS.”
— MAMIE⁷🌼 (@Springg_dae7) January 12, 2021
Don't trend anything regarding the Cayetano issue. Let'move silently.just email BigHit.
— Mochix (@k_mochixx) January 12, 2021
Some ARMYs also encouraged others to register to vote for the national elections in 2022.
“I think now is the time to compel Filipino ARMYS to register for this 2022 elections. You see, they use BTS to get our votes. Let us prove them wrong. We are not gullible!” one user said.
Bar 2019 topnotcher Kenneth Glenn Manuel echoed this view and said that ARMYs do not support politicians like Cayetano.
“Yes, although ARMY ang pangalan ng fanbase ng BTS, they are not supporters of incompetent fascists, Alan,” Manuel wrote.
Other Filipinos recalled Cayetano’s involvement in past controversies as House leader and head of the private foundation Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC).
PHISGOC handled the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
The international sports event, however, was rife with corruption allegations, which include the construction of the P50 million worth of giant cauldron in New Clark City in Tarlac.