Filipinos online suspected that Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo was already gearing up to run for Senator in the 2022 elections as they accused him of being a traditional politician (trapo) following recent viral photos.
Netizens chimed in after Panelo’s photos of him carrying a sack of rice went viral on social this week. Panelo was seen wearing a blue shirt with a print of his face with the words “Pan Sen Mo” written on it with a matching face mask with his surname.
“Kailanman ay walang maliit na ayuda. Gumagaan ang bigat sa simpleng malasakit sa kapwa (There is never a small amount of assistance. Empathy makes anything heavy become lighter),” his Facebook post read.
Twitter users said this might be a sign that he was preparing for a possible senatorial bid in 2022.
“Basta talaga malapit na ang election kahit magmukhang tanga ang mga Pulpolitiko ok lang makamit lang ang Ambisyon kala naman nila kakatuwaan sila pweeehh,” one Twitter user said.
Basta talaga malapit na ang Election kahit magmukhang tanga ang mga Pulpolitiko ok lang makamit lang ang Ambisyon kala naman nila kakatuwaan sila pweeehh!!!! https://t.co/GFdAgstDi5— Derick Broqueza (@BroquezaDerick) June 17, 2021
Is Atty Panelo doing this because he will seek a position in 2022? Not good, this is a trapo move. (photo from benedict exconde @ iskonglasalista) pic.twitter.com/CGayxe32U9— Robert Bolisay (@robertbolisay) June 17, 2021
“PASIKAT PARA IBOTO? SA MGA TAONG MAY UTAK, DI YAN UUBRA! ISA KANG BERDUGO AT HINDI MAKATAO!” another one said.
PASIKAT PARA IBOTO? SA MGA TAONG MAY UTAK,DI YAN UUBRA! ISA KANG BERDUGO AT HINDI MAKATAO! https://t.co/M8Gjq59iUs— Adrian (@Adrian50304490) June 17, 2021
“Would you believe that your clownery will lead you to the Senate?” one netizen asked.
Would you believe that your clownery will lead you to the Senate? https://t.co/rWDkbPsVOv— arthos (@arthos3) June 17, 2021
Meanwhile, some compared Panelo to former Senator Mar Roxas when he was photographed carrying a sack of rice during his visit to Alegria in Cebu in 2009.
“Panelo channeling his inner Mar Roxas,” a Twitter user said.
Panelo channeling his inner Mar Roxas https://t.co/nwgPbe17P1— MindaVote (@mindavote) June 17, 2021
“Binabatikos si Roxas sa pagiging traffic aid, itong ungas na to gagawin lahat ultimo kargador para mag mukhang malinis,” another one thought.
Binabatikos si Roxas sa pagiging traffic aid, itong ungas na to gagawin lahat ultimo kargador para mag mukhang malinis. https://t.co/4YHnoSI4rC— Jeremy (@JeremykimCalags) June 17, 2021
“Maybe he would make a good senator someday,” he said.
Duterte’s praise on Panelo came days after a passenger caught the chief presidential legal counsel riding a jeepney going to the Agora Public Market in San Juan and followed him there.
Filipinos online, however, doubted Panelo’s gesture and claimed that his jeepney ride was a mere public stunt in preparation for a possible run in the 2022 elections.
Panelo is one of the nine Cabinet members that President Duterte reportedly wants to run for the Senate next year.