The recent non-standard responses of the spokesperson of Vice President Leni Robredo to certain incidents and statements have been gaining traction on social media.
The latest response of lawyer Barry Gutierrez was after Robredo challenged her archrival, presidential bet Ferdinand Marcos Jr., to a debate.
“Inaanyayahan ko si Ginoong Bongbong Marcos na makipagdebate, para mabigyan ang taumbayan ng pagkakataong makaharap siya at matanong tungkol sa mga kontrobersiyang pumapalibot sa kanya,” Robredo said in a statement.
“We owe it to the people and to our country. Kung papayag po kayo, anytime, anywhere, darating ako,” she added.
Lawyer Vic Rodriguez, Marcos Jr’s spokesperson, rejected Robredo’s offer and suggested that such events were spaces for “arguments and fighting.”
Rodriguez also claimed that Marcos is focused on mounting a “positive” campaign.
“Sa debate na hamon kay presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos ay hindi ito kailanman mangyayari sa ilang kadahilanan. At batid ni Ginang Robredo ang mga kadahilanang ‘yan,” Rodriguez commented.
1. The kitten tweet
Gutierrez, who read his statement through a news report, only quote-tweeted the statement with GIF in response. It has gained almost 5,000 likes, over 750 retweets and almost 200 quote tweets so far.
— Barry Gutierrez (@barrygutierrez3) April 29, 2022
The kitten is a reference to the phrase “Tiger of the North” which is used by Marcos’ supporters. “North” is a reference to his family’s bailiwick in Ilocos which is located in the northern Philippines.
2. The SMS-era rejoinder
Gutierrez also went viral after he responded to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso‘s comments for him to let Robredo speak amid withdrawal calls.
Domagoso, who is also gunning for the presidency, previously told the vice president to “be a hero” by withdrawing from the race despite ranking lower than her in the surveys.
He also claimed that Robredo asked other presidential bets to back out to and make the electoral race a real two-way competition.
Gutierrez denied Domagoso’s allegations and said that Robredo has attempted to broker a unity ticket among non-administration bets before eventually deciding to run in the national elections herself.
“To be very clear, there have been no active efforts on our end to talk to any candidate, much less ask them to withdraw,” he said.
“Certainly, money was never on the table,” Robredo’s spokesperson said.
Domagoso afterward responded to Gutierrez by saying: “Barry, tabi ka na sa gedli (gilid). Pasalitain mo amo mo. O baka hindi niya mabasa, kailangan niya teleprompter.”
Gutierrez replied to a tweet reporting on his comments with the following: “K.:)”
— Barry Gutierrez (@barrygutierrez3) April 20, 2022
His post has earned 43,300 likes, almost 4,000 retweets and 1,068 quote tweets.
3. The shrug
Gutierrez had a similar response when Domagoso’s camp claimed that over 40 volunteer groups have switched to their side after supposedly endorsing some of his rivals like Robredo and Marcos.
“Looked through the list of ‘switchers’ provided, and so far, wala naman akong nakitang supporter ni VP Leni. So, k?” Gutierrez tweeted with a shrugging emoji.
Looked through the list of "switchers" provided, and so far, wala naman akong nakitang supporter ni VP Leni. So, k?🤷♂️ https://t.co/DByg5Jib1i
— Barry Gutierrez (@barrygutierrez3) April 28, 2022
His post has amassed 11,400 likes, 1,701 retweets and 200 quote tweets as of this writing.
One of the supposed groups on the list, the Philippine Medical Association, denied having switched sides and said that it has never endorsed any presidential bet at all.
“The public, news organizations and social media companies are advised that the PMA has not endorsed or is supporting any presidential candidate and has no intention of doing so,” it said in a statement.