Raissa Robles, Edwin Lacierda get flak for mocking Duterte's Bisaya accent
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Known vocal critics of President Rodrigo Duterte caught the ire of netizens after they mocked the President's Bisaya accent in their exchange of tweets on Tuesday, September 11.
"Duterte just now said that the communists are engaged in 'armed stragol'," Raissa Robles posted on Twitter to which former Benigno Aquino spokesperson Edwin Lacierda replied: "You have trabol with my president’s dictionarment?"
Robles was referring to "armed struggle" which Duterte mentioned during his one-on-one interview with Chief Presidental Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo.
In another tweet, Robles replied to one netizen who slammed her by saying: "Duterte is a very good mimic...He uses Visayan accent to put you guys under his spell."
No. My context is that Pres. Duterte is a very good mimic. He can do accents very well -which he has shown when he was copying ex-foreign sec Yasay's broad American accent. He uses Visayan accent to put you guys under his spell. Para utuin kayo. https://t.co/YX6azfdaKo— Raissa Robles (@raissawriter) September 12, 2018
But artist-activist Chai Fonacier was not sympathetic and replied, "I am offended. If he does use it to manipulate people, one should point out manipulation, not the accent. It's no reason to make fun of 'stragol'."
Robles replied to Fonacier's tweet, saying, "Duterte IS making fun of your accent, don't you see? He can choose not to speak that way and yet he does."
Duterte IS making fun of your accent, don't you see? He can choose not to speak that way and yet he does. He knows how to change his accent. He is playing you. https://t.co/t8uTx0Qggj— Raissa Robles (@raissawriter) September 12, 2018
Finacier did not sit back. She again expressed her disapproval by tweeting, "... I am with you sa maling gawain ni Duterte [I support you in criticizing Duterte's wrongdoings]. He must be responsible for EJKs, TRAIN, etc, but he's not playing with accent."
No Miss Raissa, I'm Cebuano, my parents are from Davao. That IS his accent. Ever since, growing up in Mindanao, that has been his accent. Again, I am with you sa maling gawain ni Duterte. He must be responsible for EJKs, TRAIN, etc, but he's not playing with accent.— Chai Fonacier (@rrrabidcat) September 12, 2018
Meanwihile, Twitter user Gideon Peña advised people to refrain from making fun of Duterte's Bisaya accent as it is being used by other Filipinos as well.
Regardless of our political beliefs, let us refrain from making fun of Rodrigo Duterte’s accent. It is, after all, an accent shared by many of our countrymen.— Gideon V. Peña (@gideonpena) September 13, 2018
Let us focus on issues that matter. #TeamPhilippines
Twitter User Odette also disapproved of Robles' tweet: "I dont understand why there are people mocking bisaya's accent. Madam Raissa, you maybe educated or w/ [with] whatever accent, but you are not totally MANNERED."
I am a bisaya & proud of being one. I love my accent. I dont understand why there are people mocking bisaya's accent. Madam Raissa, you maybe educated or w/ whatever accent, but you are not totally MANNERED.— Odette™ (@MissOdessa31) September 12, 2018
While most netizens were displeased by Robles' remark, some came to her defense.
Aliw na aliw kami kapag nakakapanood ng videos dubbed using terms familiar to Batangueños in Batangas accent. And whenever we‘re in Batangas, we’d poke fun at our own language. Masaya. Walang napipikon. (But that’s just us.) #justsaying— The Professional Heckler (@hecklerforever8) September 13, 2018
Maigi pa ang pagerper eh, may pambarik!
I don't get it, Raissa wrote just the way Duterte talked and pronounced his words. And now you are hating on Raissa for pointing it out? Did she say anything negative about it? Or did people just assumed that it is mocking the entire visayan culture by manifesting it?— Floyd Gonda (@SEOphilippiness) September 13, 2018
For Twitter user Jerome Dela Cruz, "Rape jokes and cursing in public was more serious than an accent joke."
I'm a visayan and don't felt insulted by accent jokes...what's the big deal! Rape jokes and cursing in public was more serious than an accent joke. Stop this silly attack on this person.— Jerome Dela Cruz (@artistdaddy) September 13, 2018
Lacierda and Robles later apologized.
Lacierda tweeted that there was no intent on his part to insult the Bisaya-speaking community but he admitted that his remark was culturally insensitive.
To those who sincerely & genuinely found my poking fun at my own Visayan dialect offensive, I apologize. The president’s accent reminded me of a time when we were growing up in a Boholananon household. There was no intent to insult our dialect but it was culturally insensitive. https://t.co/3SAGMuYUDg— Edwin Lacierda (@dawende) September 13, 2018
Robles initially defended her tweet but later apologized "for offending Visayan sensibilities over diction."
I apologize for offending Visayan sensibilities over dictionhttps://t.co/x3iHJX5jJd— Raissa Robles (@raissawriter) September 15, 2018
Here's what other netizens had to say about the issue:
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