Filipinos among Trump supporters who stormed US Capitol

As chaos engulfed the United States Congress on Thursday, January 7, a number of Filipinos who are Trump supporters stormed Capitol Hill in a futile bid to overturn White House incumbent Donald Trump’s election loss. 

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez said some Filipinos had traveled from different states to Washington, where the US Senate and House of Representatives convened for a joint session to count votes of the Electoral College.  

Ang balita namin merong mga iba na Trump supporters and nakita namin galing din sa ibang states dito sa Amerika pero hindi namin sigurado kung ilan sila," Romualdez said in an interview with GMA. 

(We have news that there were some (Filipino) Trump supporters and we saw they came from different states here in America but we do not know how many there were.) 

While majority of Filipino Americans leaned Democratic, 34% said they would still vote for Trump, according to the 2020 Asian American Voter Survey (AAVS) of nearly 1,600 Asian Americans. Those in support of Trump cited Filipino conservative values as among the reasons for endorsing him. 

Trump, who continued to peddle false claims that he did not lose the election to President-elect Joe Biden, had urged his supporters to come to Washington for a rally on Wednesday, January 6 (US time). "We will never give up, we will never concede,” Trump told a crowd of thousands. 

Reuters reported that about 50 minutes into the speech, some Trump supporters, began to head toward Capitol Hill, “where unprecedented mayhem ensued.”

Romualdez said the Philippine embassy and chancery in Washington DC were not affected by the protests as it was located far from Capitol Hill. Still, the embassy took precaution and boarded up in the event things would spill over to Massachusetts Avenue, where the building is located. 

Asked if Trump’s supporters vacated the area, Romualdez said many had left but many were also still present in the reflection area of the Capitol. 

Mukhang in control 'yung metropolitan police and nandiyan din 'yung national guard…Ang tingin namin wala naman gulo, so far, pero alam naman natin na pag gabi na, posibleng magkaroon ng konting gulo so they’re watching it,” he added. 

(The metropolitan police seem to be in control and the national guard is there too…There doesn’t seem to be any trouble, so far, but we know that when night comes, there's a possibility of some trouble so they’re watching it.)

As of writing, US lawmakers had resumed the tally of votes, with the Senate voting down an attempt to overturn Biden’s win in Arizona. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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