TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte was speaking at an event Wednesday (May 8) in support of members of the Philippine Democratic–People's Power Party ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections next Monday (May 13), when he was interrupted by a large cockroach.
During the live broadcast, Duterte at first failed to notice the cockroach that was moving up his right arm during his address, until a presidential aide attempted to swipe the bug from his shoulder. The aide’s efforts failed to remove the bug, which crawled down the front of the president’s shirt.
Duterte then swiped the bug onto the ground and crushed it underfoot, while jokingly declaring “It’s a liberal. That’s for sure.”
Duterte joked that it was probably sent by the opposition Liberal Party, to the laugher of the crowd.
Video of the incident quickly began trending on social media in the Philippines.
Despite his many controversial policies and statements over the past few years, President Duterte remains incredibly popular among people of the Philippines. According to local news media outlet ABC, Duterte’s Democratic–People's Power Party may be set to take many of the opposition Liberal Party’s few remaining seats in government in next week’s elections.
Currently, the Philippines elect a president to serve a term of six years. Duterte was elected in summer of 2016, and will serve until 2022.
Although, Duterte, aged 74, may legally seek re-election, in previous comments he has stated he is willing to step down earlier given the right conditions. His age and worsening health problems are also factors likely to keep him from a running for a second term.