Bill Gates trended on Twitter PH during CNN Presidential debate. Here’s why.

February 27, 2022 - 10:19 PM
This composite photo shows Physician Jose Montemayor Jr. at the first nationally televised presidential debates at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and aired on CNN Philippines on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022 and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates during an interview in New York February 22, 2016. (Marvin John Uy for | Reuters/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo)

American billionaire Bill Gates, who is also among the richest people in the world, suddenly trended on Twitter Philippines on Sunday, February 27.

Jose Montemayor Jr., a cardiologist and a presidential candidate, mentioned Gates’ name in one of his responses during the CNN Philippines‘ presidential debate.

The presidential debate was held at the University of Santo Tomas-Quadricentennial Pavilion. It was moderated by Pinky Webb and Pia Hontiveros.

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As of writing, the name “Bill Gates” garnered more than 35,000 tweets.

Gates’ name trended on Twitter Philippines along with the names of other presidential candidates.

Screenshot of the trending topics on Twitter Philippines captured on February 27, 2022

Why is Bill Gates trending?

During the event, the presidential bets were asked to raise their hands if they are in favor of returning excess donations from their political campaigns.

Eight of them raised their hands:

  • Ernesto Abella
  • Labor leader Leody De Guzman
  • Norberto Gonzales
  • Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson
  • Faisal Mangondato
  • Jose Montemayor Jr.
  • Sen. Manny Pacquiao
  • Vice President Leni Robredo

Only Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso had a different stance on the matter.

In explaining his position, Moreno said that he has “to be fair” after he himself did not return the donations he received for his own senatorial campaign in 2016.

“I have to be fair with the Filipino people. Hindi ako nagsoli ng binigay sa akin na tulong sa kampanya na sobra, pero tinupad ko ang aking tungkulin bilang mamayan na magbayad ng buwis,” he said.

“That’s why wala akong moral ascendancy to answer the question in favor,” he added.

The city chief executive was talking about the staggering P50.8 million in leftover campaign funds during his failed Senate bid in 2016.

At the Jessica Soho Presidential Interviews last month, Moreno admitted that he had kept these excess funds since then.

After the Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer’s statement, Montemayor asked the moderators for a chance to speak to his rival.

The doctor suddenly asked about the donations received by Moreno again. He, however, claimed that Gates was the one who sent these funds to the mayor.

“Eh paano naman po yung 50 million dollars na binigay ni Bill Gates, isosoli niyo po ba yun? 15 million dollars that were donated to Mayor Isko as I read in the papers,” Montemayor said.

Moreno immediately denied this claim. To back it up, he showed a copy of his tax receipt from the Bureau of Internal Revenue as proof.

He also noted that receiving foreign campaign funds is prohibited by law.

“It’s not true, I don’t know where did you get it,” Moreno said.

Montemayor eventually accepted this response.

There is a donation but…

According to the website of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or the Gates Foundation, it granted $319,147 worth of funds to the City of Manila in February 2020 as part of the private organization’s response for COVID-19 recovery.

The purpose of the grant was stated as follows:

“To procure and demonstrate innovative, safe, off-grid toilet products and utility services in low-income communities that are not safely reachable by incumbent toilet technologies or utility services.”

The Gates Foundation is a large charity organization that was established in 2000 after merging two individual Gates foundations.

How viewers reacted

Viewers of the debate shared funny memes and photos to show how the Microsoft co-founder would have reacted to Montemayor.

One online user expressed amusement over Gates’ name landing on Twitter’s trending topic list.

Some online users, on the other hand, were impressed when Moreno brought out the receipt.

“May resibo talaga ng BIR si yorme kasi karaniwan ng interview or forum puro excess campaign funds topic kaya naghanda na sya hehehe,” one Twitter user said.