Pro-Duterte social media accounts have mistagged Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte as “dilawan” or “yellow”—a color associated with former president Benigno Aquino III, his family and the Liberal Party (LP)—as they faulted her response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Belmonte, 50, used to be an LP member, but she switched her allegiance in 2017 to the ruling party PDP-Laban (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan), which fielded then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte as standard-bearer in the 2016 election. Duterte has been PDP-Laban chairman since becoming president.
In 2018, Belmonte’s local party Serbisyo sa Bayan Party (SBP) coalesced with Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), a regional party led presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio. SBP supported HNP's senatorial slate in the 2019 midterm election.
Among those that mislabeled Belmonte as “dilawan,” a polarizing term, were Facebook pages Duterte Today and DDS Quezon City and YouTube channel Duterte Archives. DDS is short for Diehard Duterte Supporters.
Duterte Today, which has a million followers, said:
Quezon City, led by a Dilawan mayor, tops the list of cities with most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Imagine having a Dilawan president in these trying times.
DDS Quezon City, with more than 7,000 followers, wrote:
YELLOW QC Mayor KULELAT in the survey in grade MINUS 43. It's embarrassing but everyone knows that QC is really different from which BELMONTE reigns. Mayor, congressman (past and present), councilor, DYNASTY to the MAX.
Kulelat means tailender.
The page appended a recent Abante Tonight story stating Belmonte’s net approval rating during the crisis was the lowest among Metro Manila’s 17 mayors. Publicus Asia, which was cited as the source of the ratings, said it did not provide the mayors’ net approval ratings when it released its “NCR COVID-19 Survey.” (Read our fact check: Chart on ‘net approval ratings’ of NCR mayors misleads)
Duterte Archives (Balitang Balita TV), which has accumulated 41.1 million views since it started in 2013, posted the misleading headline:
KINUYOG NG NETIZENS SI JOY BELMONTE NA DILAWAN PALA | VICO SOTTO NAGSALITA NA KAY MOCHA AT BANAT (Netizens attack Joy Belmonte who is yellow | Vico Sotto answers Mocha and Banat)
Duterte Archives uploaded a 14-plus-minute video of a talk show on AM station DZRJ Radyo Bandido. A check shows the host criticized Belmonte but did not brand her “dilawan” as Duterte Archives did in its headline.
Quezon City, the country’s most populous city, validated 580 novel coronavirus infections as of April 9, accounting for the biggest share of COVID-19 infections nationwide. It recorded 58 deaths, 38 recoveries, 94 patients under investigation, and 674 patients under monitoring as of that date. The health department's counted 641 confirmed cases, including those without complete addresses.
The latest census in 2015 places Quezon City’s population at 2.94 million—1.16 million more than Manila’s—spread across 142 barangays.
Belmonte ran for vice mayor in 2010 and 2013 and for mayor in 2016 as LP candidate on all three occasions. She took her oath of office as mayor before Vice President and LP stalwart Leni Robredo. DDS Quezon City published a photo of the oathtaking in its post.
In May 2017, Belmonte officially became a member of PDP-Laban, saying she supported the shift to federalism, one of the ruling party’s core advocacies. She was sworn in by then PDP-Laban president Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III.
PDP-Laban, however, backed the mayoral bid of Vicente Crisologo instead of Belmonte’s in the 2019 midterm elections. She insisted that Duterte preferred her over Crisologo, going as far as raising her and runningmate Gian Sotto’s hands in front of the Malacanang seal.
Belmonte ran for mayor under her own party SBP, which joined forces with HNP in November 2018. Led by Duterte-Carpio, HNP’s senatorial ticket campaigned in Quezon City, drawing a crowd of 18,000 assembled by Belmonte’s party.
In October 2018, Belmonte’s father Feliciano, who was House Speaker from 2010 to 2016 when Aquino was president, resigned from LP where he was vice chairman. Duterte appointed him special envoy to Japan a year later.
Duterte Today’s post has more than 1,200 likes, 268 comments and 121 shares. Duterte Archives’ video has nearly 39,000 views and 927 interactions. DDS Quezon City’s post gathered 183 likes, 63 comments and 102 shares.
Balitang Balita TV | Duterte Archives. (2020, March 21). Kinuyog ng netizens si Joy Belmonte na dilawan pala | Vico Sotto nagsalita na kay Mocha at Banat [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Jxg-abuRg8
Belmonte, Joy. [MayorJoyBelmonte]. (2019, March 3). Maraming salamat, QCitizens! [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/MayorJoyBelmonte/videos/vb.1622845477799614/340490216808257/?type=2&theater
Cepeda, M. (2018, October 12). Look: Quezon City congressman Sonny Belmonte resigns from LP. Retrieved from https://www.rappler.com/nation/214194-sonny-belmonte-resignation-liberal-party-retirement-politics
Corrales, N. (2019, October 16). Duterte appoints ex-LP stalwart Sonny Belmonte as special envoy to Japan. The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1178180/duterte-appoints-ex-lp-stalwart-sonny-belmonte-as-special-envoy-to-japan
DDS Quezon City. (2020, April 9). Yellow QC mayor kulelat in the survey in grade minus 43... [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/pg/DDS-Quezon-City-565738750480138/posts/
Duterte Today. (2020, April 9). Quezon City, led by a Dilawan mayor, tops the list of cities with most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Imagine having a Dilawan president in these trying times [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/DuterteToday/posts/10157507039056379
Enano, J. (2017, May 12). Joy Belmonte: If Du30 party ‘would open doors for me…’ Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/896206/joy-belmonte-if-du30-party-would-open-doors-for-me
FactRakers. (2020, April 10). Chart on ‘net approval ratings’ of NCR mayors misleads. Retrieved from https://www.factrakers.org/post/chart-on-net-approval-ratings-of-ncr-mayors-misleads
Marquez, C. (2019, March 7). Joy Belmonte: ‘Duterte prefers me over Bing Bong.’ Retrieved from https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1093235/joy-belmonte-duterte-prefers-me-over-bing-bong
Mendez, C. (2019, October 17). Ex-speaker named special envoy to Japan. The Philippine Star. Retrieved from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2019/10/17/1960930/ex-speaker-named-special-envoy-japan
Merez, A. (2019, October 16). Duterte appoints ex-House Speaker Belmonte as special envoy to Japan. Retrieved from https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/10/16/19/duterte-appoints-ex-house-speaker-belmonte-as-special-envoy-to-japan
PDP Laban. (2017, May 10). ATM: QC Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and Councilor Gian Sotto take their oath before Senate President Koko Pimentel as member of the ruling PDP Laban [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/AttyKoko/videos/vb.150218985056317/1384237588321111/?type=2&theater
Philippine Statistics Authority. (2016, May 31). Population of the National Capital Region (Based on the 2015 Census of Population. Retrieved from https://psa.gov.ph/population-and-housing/title/Population%20of%20the%20National%20Capital%20Region%20%28Based%20on%20the%202015%20Census%20of%20Population%29
Pilapil, J. (2018, November 10). Sara, Joy Belmonte join forces for 2019 elections. Manila Times. Retrieved from https://www.manilatimes.net/2018/11/10/news/top-stories/sara joy-belmonte-join-forces-for-2019-elections/465089/
Quezon City Government [QCGov]. (2020, April 9). According to Department of Health, 641 is the confirmed case of#COVID19PHin Quezon City. 591 here has a complete address in our city. Our QC Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance Unit is now confirmed at 580...[Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/QCGov/photos/pcb.248694539851644/248693686518396/?type=3&theater
Tolentino, M. (2018, October 14). Sonny Belmonte leaves politics. Manila Times. Retrieved from https://www.manilatimes.net/2018/10/14/news/top-stories/sonny-belmonte-leaves-politics/451937/
VP Leni Robredo. (2016, July 1). Vice President Leni Robredo administered the oath-taking of Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte of Quezon City. House Speaker Sonny Belmonte and family members attended the simple ceremony at the Office of the Vice President [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/VPLeniRobredoPH/posts/vice-president-leni-robredo-administered-the-oath-taking-of-vice-mayor-joy-belmo/979785148805820/