Filipinos flood Twitter with ‘Leni Withdraw’ memes after lagging candidates gang up on Robredo

·4 min read

When three candidates in the Philippines’ upcoming presidential election, each of whom has been lagging far behind in the polls, called for a press conference on Easter Sunday, there was a great deal of speculation over what they might say – including the possibility that they might pull out of the race. But rather than ending their candidacies, the main takeaway from their rambling presscon was Manila Mayor Isko Moreno’s controversial call for Vice President Leni Robredo to back out of the presidential race.

The perception that three male candidates who are far behind in the polls were ganging up on Robredo, who is running second in surveys to the frontrunner, Bongbong Marcos, spurred outrage among many Filipinos who took to Twitter to express their annoyance in meme form.

Moreno, Senator Ping Lacson, and former defense secretary Norberto Gonzales gathered at the Manila Peninsula Hotel in a joint press conference – that many argued contained so little substance it could have covered in an email – in which they asserted, without evidence, that Vice President Leni Robredo’s camp had pressured them to withdraw from the election. They went on to say they would not heed her alleged calls to back out of the race and made a muddled call for “unity” instead.

Aside from releasing the joint statement, Moreno urged the vice president to “be a hero” and withdraw from the elections — a statement that did not sit well with many Filipinos online.

Netizens flooded Twitter with memes commenting on the whole “Leni Withdraw” debacle, many depicting Robredo withdrawing… from an ATM.

Others were vocal about their ire and asked: why are they ganging up on Robredo instead of survey frontrunner Marcos?

The latest Pulse Asia survey indicates that Marcos is still in the lead with 56 percent, although he suffered a four-point drop since their last poll. On the other hand, Robredo’s numbers surged by nine points to 24 percent. Moreno (8 percent), Lacson (2 percent), and Gonzales (0 percent) all trail far behind.

Robredo quickly responded to the press conference by urging her supporters to not be distracted by their emotions and to focus instead on winning the campaign.

“I know that much has been said today. Some got frustrated, others did not care, while there are those who were angered. I thank everyone who has come to our defense, but I do have a request. Starting tomorrow, we only have 20 campaign days left. It is important that we do not get caught up in emotion. Let us not say any more hurtful words. Let us focus on the campaign — a person for another, a heart for another. We have a country to fight for,” Robredo’s Facebook post said in Filipino.

READ: In Japan, Filipinos close down the famous Shibuya Crossing to march for Leni-Kiko

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