Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has formed an independent bloc in the House of Representatives to ensure, according to him, checks and balances at the lower chamber.
Cayetano’s group-- to be called-- “BTS sa Kongreso” (BTS in Congress) - in reference to the popular South Korean boy band -- will be launched today (Thursday). BTS stands for Back To Service.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, one of the group’s members, said the group still supported President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative agenda but would be critical of certain measures being pushed in the chamber under the leadership of Cayetano’s successor, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
“If we see something that’s wrong, we’ll also speak out because at the end of the day, we want what’s good for the country. We’re still definitely part of the administration and the Duterte majority,” said Villafuerte, an identified Cayetano ally who was removed from his post as deputy speaker upon Velasco’s assumption in office.
“Maybe you can call us independent majority. We would just be more critical of certain issues and legislation,” Villafuerte added.
But Twitter lit up like dynamite with the use of the initials BTS as it lashed out at Cayetano for using the South Korean boyband’s name for his new bloc seen to usher in a comeback.
The fans of K-pop phenomenon BTS are not buying it.
The tags #Kongreso and #CayetanoStopUsingBTS trended on Twitter Wednesday, with the “ARMY” calling out Cayetano and his group for naming themselves after the global sensation.
Some users also described the lawmakers’ move as an attempt to “use” BTS for clout.
Pearl Ann Gumapos, a long-time BTS fan, said the move was “stupid.”
The trend, however, died down as soon as fans campaigned for netizens to stop tweeting about the issue and report the matter instead to Big Hit Entertainment, the firm managing BTS.
Apart from Cayetano and Villafuerte, the group’s members include Reps. Dan Fernandez of Laguna, Raneo Abu of Batangas, Fredenil Castro, Mike Defensor of Anakalusugan, and Jose Antonio Sy- Alvarado.
These former House leaders were removed from their posts after Velasco’s takeover of the speakership post in October last year.
Both Cayetano and Defensor earlier raised their objections to Charter change being pushed by Velasco’s leadership. They believed that discussions on constitutional amendments in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic is ill-timed.
Cayetano was forced to give up his speakership post after Velasco’s supporters installed him, in an unprecedented action, as they elected the congressman from Marinduque as their new speaker, in a rump session boycotted by supporters of his predecessor on Oct. 13 and affirmed in plenary session at the House the next day.
Cayetano, secretary general of the Nacionalista Party, is reportedly running for a higher position in the 2022 national elections. But the congressman from Taguig has yet to confirm such plan.
BTS fans laid out a template for the mass report, emphasizing that the firm already cautioned fans on the “unauthorized use of the artists’ imagery and trademarks in publications.”
Cayetano, in an interview in Albay, pointed out that their group’s acronym stood for “Back to Service” Congress, and urged the public to not politicize it.
He also said their group was not meant to offend BTS fans.
He said: “Whether the group garnered negative or positive publicity, it is not meant to offend the fans. But don’t mix it with politics because we don’t.”
He added: “Some people are texting us... ‘fight for us!’ So don’t mix it with politics. BTS means “back to service.
“It is the bloc’s way of saying that we need the spirit of unity, bravery and service.”
Defensor himself said the reaction of BTS’ ARMY did not bother him.
“Doesn’t affect me. Substance is what matters. Any group, bloc, person, and company have (sic) a right to a name but what they stand for and the reason for their existence is what matters,” said the lawmaker.