By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang slammed Twitter user The Professional Heckler for making fun of President Duterte belatedly receiving his football jersey during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
On Sunday, The Professional Heckler, a known critic of the administration on Twitter, tweeted a 66-second shortened video of the ceremony where the ASEAN leaders received their own jerseys with their names on them from the FIFA but Duterte received his last.
However, Heckler poked fun at the event when Duterte did not receive his jersey immediately and was instead skipped. Heckler likened this to a toddler not getting a candy.
“Noong bata ka, naramdaman mo rin ito. Lahat nabigyan na ng candy, maliban sa ‘yo. Naiiyak ka na pero nagpigil ka para ‘di mapahiya (You also experienced this as a kid: everyone but you already got their candy. You were holding back tears so you won’t get embarrassed),” Heckler said.
As of press time, the tweet already has 9,932 views, 549 likes, and 80 retweets.
In a statement Sunday afternoon, Panelo referred to Heckler’s tweet as an attack from the political opposition. He said the “false news” can easily be debunked by looking at official photos released by the Palace.
“The rambunctious political opposition is at it again in its expertise in creating and spreading fake news as when Professional Heckler, a twitter account allegedly associated with an official of the Aquino Administration, uploaded a spliced video purportedly showing that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte did not receive a football jersey during the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ASEAN and FIFA, football’s world governing body, in Bangkok, yesterday night, November 2, as part of the region’s plan to jointly host the FIFA World Cup in 2034,” he said.
“The official photo of the President, easily accessible in the Facebook account of the Presidential Communications, immediately puts a lie to this sinister false news,” he added.
Panelo said Heckler’s tweet was a predictable hate campaign against the President since it followed the fake Bangkok Post headline which said that Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn “ordered” Duterte to behave during the ASEAN Summit.
“With this succeeding bogus news coming in the heels of the fabricated news story dragging Thailand’s monarchy, it becomes predictable that this vicious campaign of hate against PRRD will not cease until his last day in office. The latest dirty political stunt underscores the obsession of PRRD’s foes to embarrass him and put him to ridicule at every opportunity presented to them,” he said.
The Palace official then urged Duterte’s critics to start accepting the fact that the President’s popularity among those who voted for him will not be decreased.
“The popularity and the acceptance of the President by those who overwhelmingly voted him into office cannot however be eroded or diminished, no matter how these incorrigible whiners and nitpickers try hard to destroy him. The more they throw mud at him, the more he comes out clean and appreciated by the people,” Panelo said.