Some Filipinos, who came from different states, were part of the chaos that erupted at the US Capitol Wednesday afternoon (Eastern time) as pro-Trump protesters attacked what is considered the country’s symbol of democracy, in a last-ditch effort to overturn Joe Biden’s win.
In an interview with GMA’s Unang Balita, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Babe Romualdez said that a number of Filipinos participated in the rally.
“Ang balita namin meron mga iba na Trump supporters and nakita naming galing din sa ibang states dito sa Amerika, pero hindi naman sigurado kung ilan sila,” when asked if there were Filipinos in the protests.
The ambassador said the Embassy operations were not affected as it is relatively far from the area of the protest. In a separate report, he also advised the Filipino community to stay home during the election protests.
The US Congress has since confirmed Joe Biden as the presidential election winner, two weeks ahead of his inauguration.
There were conversations online that some Filipinos may have been part of the mob that trooped to the Capitol after a photo of a protester in an upside-down US flag mask raising what appeared to be a walis tambo (broom) circulated on social media. (Walis tambo is typically a part of Filipino household.)
The protester, wearing protective gear with a US flag draped on the shoulder, brandished a broom that bears a sign with mostly what President Trump’s narrative was in the past several months, including “False media,” “Mail-in fraud,” “Pandemic hoax,” and “Coup flu fighter.”
Philstar.com news editor Jonathan de Santos posted more pictures of “Walis Man,” saying the protester is from Ilocos Sur.
Walis Man was pretty easy to find on Facebook and is apparently from Ilocos Sur. pic.twitter.com/RyyKkEA21u— Jonathan de Santos (@desamting) January 7, 2021
Also in the sign the man was holding was “IA 1807.” According to online sources, IA 1807 or the Insurrection Act of 1807 is an act signed into law by President Thomas Jefferson, which allows state governors to ask the sitting President to dispatch active duty military to the states that are unable to put down an uprising.
One netizen quipped, “I suddenly wanna hide. Why would Filipinos protest, too? As if you guys are important to him. I would rather spend my time to raise awareness than to waste my time protesting to one of the selfish men in the universe.”
Another one told those in the Philippines to keep focused on the current issues in the country. “Oh, wag tayo mangi-alam ha. Hindi tayo ‘merika. Focus tayo sa ninakaw sa PhilHealth.”
According to an October 2020 article by California State Polytechnic University professor Anthony Ocampo, data from the National Asian American Survey states that 34 percent of Filipino-Americans tilt Republican and 34 percent planned to vote for Trump. While most Filipino-Americans lean Democrat (48 percent) and planned to vote for Joe Biden (52 percent).
Ocampo attended a “Filipinos for Trump” rally in California prior to the 2020 Presidential election and interviewed some of the attendees, whose support for Trump came down to “conservative values,” which are aligned to the those of the Republican Party’s.
Banner image photos from AFP and AP