MANILA (UPDATE) — Twitter lit up like dynamite Tuesday with BTS stans lashing out at ousted speaker Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano for using the South Korean boyband's name for his new bloc seen to usher in a comeback.
“BTS sa Kongreso,” was aimed to carve out a new role as an “independent” bloc of 7 lawmakers in the House of Representatives, Cayetano’s office announced. The new bloc, which stands for "Back To Service," is set to debut on Thursday in a Quezon City restaurant.
But the fans of K-pop phenomenon BTS are not buying it.
The tags #Kongreso and #CayetanoStopUsingBTS trended on Twitter Wednesday, with the "ARMY" calling out Cayetano and his group for naming themselves after the global sensation.
Some users also described the lawmakers' move as an attempt to “use” BTS for clout.
Pearl Ann Gumapos, a long-time BTS fan, said the move was “stupid.”
“Bakit may ganyan na pakulo? I think he should stop using BTS and focus on more important things,” Gumapos told ABS-CBN News.
“What’s the point [of] using BTS for his political agenda ba?” she added.
(Why is there such a thing? How would BTS fare with his political agenda?)
Another BTS fan, who only identified herself as "Shangy," said in an interview that the group's name has "strong origins" and it would be disrespectful to use it for one's political agenda.
"If they are using this name to attract more people to his side, he is completely and utterly wrong... If this is a way for you to try and attract the fans, you’re underestimating us," said Shangy.
She also described the move as a "very desperate and disgusting act."
A 27-year-old netizen, who withheld her identity for privacy reasons, said Filipinos deserve more.
"I deserve more and no amount of using my community and a band's name would make me change my mind on how I see you and your works as a political servant," she pointed out.
She also urged her fellow ARMY to vote in the upcoming elections.
"Walk the talk and not just say empty promises that could guarantee you a seat back in Congress."
Another fan, who goes by the username @minkitties on Twitter, echoed Shangy, and said she was also "disgusted" and "annoyed."
"It just gives off even more of a bad taste.... How can a politician such as himself even have the guts to say not 'politicize' an obvious trapo move such as the BTS congress bloc," the fan pointed out.
She added that the bloc should be prepared to perform in BTS' original choreography if they insist on using the group's name.
Some netizens, on the other hand, shared memes and their own versions of what the acronym BTS would mean in the context of the lawmakers.
The trend, however, died down as soon as fans campaigned for netizens to stop tweeting about the issue and report the matter instead to Big Hit Entertainment, the firm managing BTS.
Fans laid out a template for the mass report, emphasizing that the firm had already cautioned fans on the “unauthorized use of the artists’ imagery and trademarks in publications.”
The lawmakers who were identified as members of the “BTS sa Kongreso” bloc include the ousted Speaker’s allies who lost their positions in the House leadership when incumbent House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco took over, namely:
- Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte
- Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado
- Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu
- Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor
- Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro
- Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez
All 6 lawmakers campaigned heavily to retain Cayetano and keep Velasco out of the House Speakership during a tussle in October, when the Taguig lawmaker wanted to stay at the House helm despite a term-sharing deal with the Marinduque congressman.
Back To Service
Cayetano, in an interview in Albay, pointed out that their group’s acronym stands for “Back to Service” Congress, and urged the public to not politicize it.
He also said their group was not meant to offend BTS fans.
“Kung nagkaroon ng konting publicity noon, negative o hindi, it’s not meant to offend the fans. Pero huwag niyo rin haluan ng politika kasi kami, hindi namin hahaluan ng politika ‘yon,” he said.
(Whether the group garnered negative or positive publicity, it is not meant to offend the fans. But don’t mix it with politics because we don’t.)
The lawmaker also said there were “mixed” reactions from the public when they announced the name of their group.
“Kasi ‘yong iba nagte-text, naman sa amin, ‘welcome to the BTS Army, ipaglaban mo kami Kuya Alan’ etc. So 'wag nilang haluan ng politika. Ang ibig lang naman naming sabihin doon, Back To Service Congress -- kaya BTS sa Congress,” he explained.
(Some people are texting us... ‘fight for us!’ So don’t mix it with politics. BTS means “back to service.”)
“It’s... representing many blocs in the country that is saying that kailangan natin ngayon is BTS Bayanihan, Tapang, Serbisyo.”
(It is the bloc's way of saying that we need the spirit of unity, bravery and service.)
Defensor, meanwhile, said the reaction of BTS’ ARMY does not bother him.
“Doesn't affect me. Substance is what matters. Any group, bloc , person and company have a right to a name but what they stand for and the reason for their existence is what matters,” said the lawmaker.
While he is not aware of any of the group’s songs, he said he is “happy” that the name represents something that his daughter is fond of.
“My 4-year old daughter, Juliana, loves the BTS boy band. I don't even know their songs but I'm happy that the name represents something she loves.”
The K-pop group was named entertainer of the year by Time magazine in 2020, capping a breakthrough year in the United States.
Since launching in 2013, BTS has driven the global K-pop craze with catchy, upbeat music alongside lyrics and social campaigns aimed at empowering young people.
BTS previously performed in Manila thrice — in 2014 for the “Red Bullet” tour, in 2016 for the “Epilogue” tour, and in 2017 for “The Wings” tour.