A 29-second clip showed the students calling Duterte "tuta" or a "puppy" of China and later on chanted "Let's kill this president charot!" inspired by Korean girl group BLACKPINK's "Kill This Love."
YouTube screengrab/Ruperto Quitag
UP Visayas students might be 'imitating' Duterte, Panelo says
(Philstar.com) - October 21, 2019 - 1:19pm

MANILA, Philippines — UP Visayas students, who drew online harassment for a cheer routine criticizing President Rodrigo Duterte's policies, might just be emulating the chief executive, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

A video of a group of UP Visayas students called Skimmers, an academic organization composed of BA Communication and Media Studies and BA Literature students, went viral over the weekend.

A 29-second clip showed the students calling Duterte "tuta" or a "puppy" of China and later on chanted "Let's kill this president charot!" inspired by Korean girl group BLACKPINK's "Kill This Love."

Panelo, in a televised press conference, pointed out that the chant against the president was just a joke.

"Obviously, they were joking. It's a free country. They can dish out jokes, criticisms," Panelo said.

The Malacañang mouthpiece also suggested that the students were just mimicking Duterte, who said he had previously killed in the past.

The president had also previously ordered the police to kill drug suspects, the latest of which is an order for police official Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido to “kill everybody” in Bacolod City.

READ: 'I killed because I felt she wanted it,' Duterte says at Arroyo testimonial dinner

"Joke naman pala. Si presidente 'di ba nagsabi na siya ng 'kill.' Baka ginagaya lang nila si presidente," Panelo said.

(It was just a joke. The president also said 'kill' before. Maybe they were just imitating the president.)

Asked about Duterte supporters harassing and redtagging the UP Visayas students, Panelo said it was just a "natural reaction" for them.

"That's very natural reaction for supporters of the president... It's a free country. They can react, too," Panelo said.

UP Visayas, meanwhile, condemned the threats and harassment hurled against its students.

The university stressed that the annual cheering competition contained satirical commentaries on current national issues "all in the spirit of fun, understanding and camaraderie."

"We remind them to exercise prudence in their actions, thus, we denounce all forms of threats and harassment hurled against them," UP Visayas said.

In the cheer routine, the Skimmers tackled national issues, including the West Philippine Sea, Rice Tarrification Law, the CHED memorandum to remove Filipino and Panitikan as core subjects in college and the government's proposal for mandatory ROTC.

"In UP Visayas, we encourage our students to think critically and allow them to exercise their freedom of expression," the statement read. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

RODRIGO DUTERTE UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES VISAYAS
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