Netizens took to social media to express their disgust over the distasteful remarks made by a Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) official on Vice President Leni Robredo.
“Cheap” and “disrespectful” were the words thrown at DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III who seemingly referred to Robredo as “lugaw (rice porridge)” and “non-essential.”
Internet trolls have been calling Robredo “Lugaw Queen” or “Leni Lugaw” ever since pictures of her campaign team selling rice porridge spread online during the campaign period in 2016.
Since she started as a vice presidential bet with low funds and awareness ratings in 2016, her supporters decided to sell rice porridge to help raise funds for her campaign.
Twitter users were quick to point out that Densing interchangeably used “lugaw” as a person and “lugaw” as food to attack the vice president.
“Trying to sound witty and taking a swipe at VP Leni. Pero naman, you failed miserably. Wala kang self-respect? (You have no self-respect?) If none for yourself, para sa pamilya mo na lang sana (have some for your family). Cheap,” one Twitter user with the handle @Tom_MD_ said.
On Wednesday night, Densing commented on the viral video of a barangay official in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan who stopped a delivery rider from picking up an order of rice porridge. The barangay official argued that lugaw was not essential because people live without eating it.
The rider insisted that lugaw was “essential,” and was therefore allowed under the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 Response for the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) enforced in Bulacan.
Densing said: “Sabi niya kasi, non-essential si lugaw. Hindi talaga essential si lugaw. Pero kung sinabi niya, essential ang lugaw, ‘yun, tama ‘yun. Ang lugaw. Pero si lugaw ang binanggit niya. Non-essential talaga ‘yun sa pananaw namin (What she said is lugaw is non-essential. Lugaw is really non-essential. But if she said that lugaw is essential, that’s right. The lugaw. But she referred to lugaw. Lugaw is really non-essential in our opinion).”
When the video of the exchange went viral, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque clarified that “lugaw is essential.”
The topic trended on Twitter and netizens used the same argument to defend Robredo against Densing.
Even former presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda and actress Agot Isidro chimed in on the argument.
“#LugawIsEssential #LeniLugaw #LeniIsEssential Gets, DDS?” Isidro posted with a photo of Robredo holding a paper with the words “Lugaw Leni.”
“Grabe ang problema sa bansa (The country has huge problems). For God’s sake, people are dying & gov’t. is streaming the Pinoy version of Dumb & Dumber,” Lacierda said.
Others were appalled at Densing’s apparent misogynistic swipe at Robredo.
“It is laughable that a lot of men in the Du30’s administration including Du30 himself love to demean @lenirobredo. I have not seen so many misogynistic, immature, and insecure men in my life. Your mothers, wives, daughters and granddaughters should be ashamed of all of you,” Twitter user @DeeCMeyer said.
This is not the first time that Robredo was bashed on the internet. She has been the subject of criticisms and fake news since she was elected in office in 2016.