By Jaimie Rose Aberia and Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Thousands of pro-Duterte supporters converged at the Quirino Grandstand to call for the ouster of Vice President Leni Robredo.
Organized by a group of artists, volunteers, and organization heads collectively known as the Duterte Alliance of Volunteers, Artists, and Organizations or D.A.V.A.O. movement, the gathering dubbed “Palit-Bise,” is in response to Robredo’s video message to the United Nations wherein she exposed the alleged “palit-ulo” scheme in the war on drugs.
Movie and Television Review and Classification Board member Mocha Uson said she is happy with the crowd turnout of the event.
The rally, which was funded through online fundraising website Gava Gives, is the first people-funded pro government rally held under the Duterte administration.
“‘Yung mga nandito, boluntaryo po ‘yang nagpunta rito. Pati ang rally na ‘to, rally ng taumbayan dahil ang ating mga kababayan, pati iyong nasa abroad ay nag-contribute,” she said.
Singer Jimmy Bondoc, on the other hand, called on the international media to “stop maligning the president.”
“We are on our knees, we are calling out to the international media to stop lying. There are no dead bodies on our streets, they are only on the television screens,” he said. “We just want our people to live a better life.”
Department of Tourism undersecretary Kat De Castro and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation AVP for Community Relations Arnell Ignacio also graced the event.
Meanwhile, President Duterte refused to comment on the protest rally.
According to Duterte, it would be difficult to comment on such topic as it would cause another issue between the country’s top officials.
He, however, reiterated that he does not support any activities calling for the removal of him or Robredo as he labeled himself as not a politician anymore.
“No [I don’t support it]. I am not anymore a politician. Why should I waste time about politics? I am no longer eligible for any public office after this,” he said in an ambush interview in Cagayan de Oro City Sunday afternoon.
“I do not hunger for popularity anymore, everything is in my destiny,” he added, referring to possible impeachment.