In a recent development, the victory of Gilas Pilipinas over China in the FIBA World Cup on September 2, 2023, stirred national pride among Filipino fans, including celebrities like actor Jake Ejercito, who attended the game with his daughter Ellie Eigenmann.
Jake posted a humorous photo of himself and Ellie at the game, captioned with their typical father-daughter banter: “We’re lucky charms.”
puso but girl dad pic.twitter.com/IKXyccNyMs
— jake ejercito (@unoemilio) August 29, 2023
However, his subsequent post took a sarcastic turn, hinting at the perceived hypocrisy of some in the audience wearing ‘West Philippine Sea’ shirts. Jake’s post read, “But lol at those wearing ‘West Philippine Sea’ shirts but were as still as the grave between 2016-2022 🤡.”
But lol at those wearing “West Philippine Sea” shirts but were as still as the grave between 2016-2022 🤡
— jake ejercito (@unoemilio) September 2, 2023
Many speculated that Jake was referring to Senators Joel Villanueva, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go, and Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa. These senators were seen wearing black shirts with the print ‘WEST PH SEA’ during the game.
The West Philippine Sea, a part of the South China Sea within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, has been a disputed territory due to China’s claims over the entire South China Sea. In 2016, an international tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines, invalidating China’s claim.
However, under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the Philippines adopted a more conciliatory stance toward China, disregarding the tribunal’s ruling. Critics argued that senators like Villanueva, Zubiri, Go, and dela Rosa, who were in office during Duterte’s presidency, did not actively address the West Philippine Sea issue.
Paalala lang natin sa lahat yung nag benta sa atin. https://t.co/oKjgveK1B6
— kiko rustia (@kikorustia) September 3, 2023
— Boom Buencamino (@BoomBuencamino) September 2, 2023
Hala! Lagot ka kay tatay! https://t.co/60VV71Dkyn
— Jerry B. Grácio (@JerryGracio) September 2, 2023
Wait, Diba di BATO Ano ni TATAY “I love China” Digong???? https://t.co/jjhSS8ChvK
— Richard Heydarian (@Richeydarian) September 2, 2023
Nasaan ang tatlong itlog na ito noong binibenta tayo ni Rodrigo Duterte sa China? https://t.co/KHy58GDrxf
— JR Santiago (@oslecjunior) September 2, 2023
Jake’s post garnered approving comments from netizens who shared similar sentiments. Some criticized the senators for wearing statement shirts while allegedly failing to take substantive action on the West Philippine Sea issue.
The hypocrisy of some. https://t.co/7pJdZWDJfB
— Lynda Jumilla-Abalos (@lyndajumilla) September 3, 2023
— The Professional Heckler™️ (@hecklerforever8) September 3, 2023
Wala ko kinalaman sa tshirt nila mga beh. pic.twitter.com/jH48Fqs8GC
— DJ Chacha (@_djchacha) September 3, 2023
Daming ebas pero walang ginagawa sa panghaharas sa West PH Sea. Forda clout nalang talaga ang mga politiko sa Pinas.
— Kyle ✨ (@kylehubo) September 3, 2023
Variant ng tinawag noon ng isang National Artist bilang "nasyonalismong barong Tagalog." "Nasyonalismong hanggang t-shirt lang" ito. Senador sila pero hanggang ngawngaw lang at pa-tshirt2 lang. Ni hindi maitulak ang administrasyon na manindigan para sa soberenya ng bansa. https://t.co/uZFguYnRwB
— David Michael San Juan (@dmmsanjuan) September 2, 2023
Senator Francis Tolentino defended his colleagues, stating that wearing such shirts was a way to show unity and personal political beliefs. He emphasized that there was nothing wrong with expressing support for the Philippines’ claim over the West Philippine Sea, even in a sports context.
Strange that you mentioned the UNCLOS victory achieved by PNoy. He called you a friend, treated you well, but you turned your back on him. You are a disgrace and a disappointment. https://t.co/v9eF4SMEeS
— Leah Navarro (@leahnavarro) September 3, 2023
The game, which Gilas Pilipinas won with a score of 96-75, held significant meaning for fans beyond basketball due to the ongoing maritime dispute between the Philippines and China.