PRESIDENTIAL spokesman Harry Roque yesterday defended President Duterte, who was slammed by netizens for trying to show that he was having a simple celebration when he marked his 76th birthday last Sunday.
A picture of Duterte posted by Sen. Christopher Go that went viral showed the President blowing a candle on top of a cup of rice and a simple lunch of rice and pansit (noodles). Another shot of the same photo, taken from a different angle, however, showed there were lots of foods on the table, including a lechon (roasted pig).
Rep. Ferdinand Gaite (PL, Bayan Muna), taking the cudgels for netizens, said Duterte was obviously just pretending to be poor when his birthday photos were taken.
“Acting poor for your birthday photo ops when you’re not really poor is just mocking those who truly have nothing to put on their tables for their own birthdays,” he tweeted on Sunday night.
Roque said those who criticized the President are “utak talangka” (crab mentality).
“I don’t think the President even pretended to be poor. He has always been known as simple and that is why he did not have guest on his birthday. There may have been food served for special occasions, but that did not violate any sense of decency. There was no extravagant show (of) wealth, because the President was in t-shirt and in short (pants) and celebrated only with his family. It’s crab mentality really for anyone to suggest that the President was pretending. No, the President never pretends! He is known for his authenticity. He has simple celebrations and I think that’s what happened to his birthday,” Roque said. – With Wendell Vigilia