Vocal supporters of the current administration initiated their own campaign in response to criticisms on President Rodrigo Duterte‘s perceived absence during the onslaught of recent typhoons.
Through the hashtag #NasaPusoKoAngPangulo, admin supporters shared posts that support Duterte. This hashtag mostly gained traction on Facebook, ahead of the airing of Duterte’s recorded national address.
Some government officials and fan pages of Duterte carried the hashtag in their Facebook posts that expressed their support to the chief executive, his views and policies.
Mark Villar, secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways, shared a photo of Duterte carrying his daughter Emma Therese.
Villar captioned it with: “Happy to be part of this administration. This is my President. #NasaPusoKoAngPangulo.”
Following Duterte’s recorded national address, where he spent nearly 20 minutes expressing his outrage against Vice President Leni Robredo, some officials also used the same hashtag and copied a part of his tirade against the latter.
Part of the speech the supporters quoted was:
“She made a blunder, a big one, and she practically lied making her incapable of truth. Alam mo ‘yung pakana niya na wala ako sa bagyo — I was here, dito. I was attending a summit — ASEAN Summit ‘yon. So virtual lang palit-palit kami, we were talking sa electronic. Nandito ako noon.”
Robredo, however, never mentioned or asked about Duterte’s absence in her public appearances, interviews and social media updates and instead said response during emergencies is “not a race.”
Despite the false claim, some posts bearing this quote went viral on the platform. Kat De Castro, general manager of PTV, copy-pasted a huge chunk of the transcript in her post that was shared for over 5,200 times.
The Presidential Communications Operations Office also used the hashtag in one of its posts about Duterte on November 18.
Former PTV reporter Jules Guiang noted that the hashtag is used to counter the criticisms against te president.
“High ranking officials tried to start their clapback #NasaPusoKoAngPangulo today. I know these people, they’re supposed to be smart. I wonder how they can sleep tonight after that #DuterteMeltdown,” Guiang said.
In a statement, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar claimed the #NasaPusoKoAngPangulo topped the trends list on Twitter.
“Despite the relentless and absurd posts and comments by some individuals and groups on social media regarding the President’s supposed absence throughout the onslaught of Typhoon Ulysses, we thank the public for the continued support they have shown on social media,” he said on Wednesday.
“As a proof of this support, #NasaPusoKoAngPangulo trended number 1 last night on Twitter as President Duterte explained to the public his actions and responses throughout the consecutive typhoons and amidst the pandemic,” he added.
However, according to a trends tracker, this movement did not make it to the top trending list in the Philippines.
Screengrabs from a One News report showed that the protests #DuterteMeltdown and #NasiraanAngPangulo were the ones that dominated Twitter Philippines topics on Tuesday evening, the same period the national address was aired.
The hashtags #DuterteMeltdown and #NasiraanAngPangulo were used to counter Duterte’s insults and false claims against Robredo.
Can a president be more unprofessional??? I have never seen a president such as this, calling out his VP just because butt hurt ang Panelo nya. Ano ka nakatira sa slums sa tingin mo lahat madadaan sa away?#NasiraanAngPangulo#DuterteMentalBreakdown #DuterteMeltdown pic.twitter.com/wd6s2cl6uP
— J (@Oaj_jaO) November 18, 2020
The #NasaanAngPangulo hashtag is not new. It has trended to call out the previous administration of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III during his perceived absence in Mamasapano clash and other important events in the country.
This time, Filipinos used this hashtag this to demand accountability and signs of leadership from Duterte and his administrations in the wake of past strong tropical cyclones Quinta, Rolly and Ulysses.