Duterte camp to supporters: 'Kalma lang kayo'
Thea Alberto-Masakayan, ABS-CBN News
Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte has a message for netizens fighting in social media.
MANILA - The camp of presidential bet Rodrigo Duterte has called on his supporters to be calm and courteous, especially when engaging defenders or followers of other candidates.
Duterte's common-law wife, Cielito "Honeylet" Avanceña, is calling on the mayor's fanatic campaigners to stay calm, especially now that Duterte is topping pre-election surveys.
"Alam niyo mga supporters, kalma na lang tayo. Mag-umpisa na tayong magdasal. Alam mo may divine intervention na ito. Huwag niyo na itry to fight, because I think the people have spoken. They want a leader who can decide, who's going to do it," she said at the sidelines of the recent Pilipinas Debates in University of Pangasinan.
Peter Tiu Lavina, Duterte's spokesman, made the same call amid reports that supporters are harassing personalities who they think are against the Davao mayor.
"From Day 1, we have called on our followers to take the moral high ground and take caution in social media. In behalf of Mayor Duterte, we reiterate such call and appeal to our social media supporters to stop bashing and even threatening journalists as well as all who express views different from ours," Lavina said.
Lavina's statement comes after news anchor Karen Davila took blows on social media for being supposedly biased against Duterte during the Pilipinas Debates at the University of Pangasinan.
"The mayor takes no offense against Ms Davila. She was not at all biased. Every journalist worth her or his salt should ask probing and challenging questions. Duterte never got offended during the debate. That's what free speech and democracy is all about as Duterte kept on explaining to us," Lavina said.
Some Duterte's supporters took offense to some questions asked by Davila in the fast-talk portion of the presidential debate.
But Lavina also warned of the possibility that there are "infiltrators" or those posing as Duterte fans.
"Let us all exercise discipline but at the same time be vigilant against trolls posing as Duterte supporters and infiltrators out to harm not just Duterte, our movement for ?#?TunayNaPagbabago? but on the likes of Ms Davila to generate anger on us. Vigilance is the price of freedom," said Lavina.
Musician-actress Aiza Seguerra, a Duterte supporter, has also called on the public to be "respectful" amid heated political discussions, especially on social media.
"I think we can all talk about our differences in a very respectful way. No need to say bad things, or call each other names," Seguerra told reporters Sunday, during the presidential debates at the University of Pangasinan.
READ: Pro-Duterte Aiza Seguerra urges 'respect' in poll discourse
His partner, Liza Diño, expressed hope that the animosity caused by the election campaign will end soon and for the people to unite.
Political analyst and University of the Philippine Prof. Prospero de Vera also issued a similar call Tuesday on his Facebook account.
"To all those who have been bashing me for my comments during the last presidential debate, who have been trying to hack my FB account, sending very nasty messages to me via FB, insulting my credentials and analysis, or are angry at me because I did not say that their candidate won the debate. All I can say is (as I always open my NoFilter program)..I say it as I see it!," he said.
"And please...listen to what Mayor Duterte said...STOP IT!!!"
Duterte is the "undisputed king of Facebook conversations," according to the social networking giant. Netizens are campaigning for the 2016 bet by actively posting memes, quotes, or videos.
But Duterte's camp and followers have also drawn flak over fake claims of endorsement, such as those supposedly coming from the Prime Minister of Singapore, the Chief Executive Officer of Jollibee, or even Pope Francis.