There is a strange painting seen behind Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and other leaders at the House of Representatives while he was conducting a press conference on Tuesday, March 10.
The painting was captured in photos that a Rappler reporter took while she covered the briefing about the looming expiration of ABS-CBN‘s legislative franchise.
— Mara Cepeda (@maracepeda) March 10, 2020
The pictures featured Cayetano sitting with House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and Rep. Franz Alvarez (Palawan), the chair of the House Committee on Legislative Franchises.
At the briefing, Cayetano expressed his opposition to the proposal to authorize the National Telecommunications Commission to give ABS-CBN provisional authority to operate post-franchise termination.
After Cepeda posted the live coverage of the press conference on her Twitter account, a number of Filipinos suddenly became interested in the detail behind the House speaker.
It was a painting of the plenary hall of the House of Representatives with their arms raised towards the direction of a bespectacled man who appears to be in kneeling in prayer.
Cepeda confirmed that it was “based on an actual scene,” specifically when “lawmakers prayed over Cayetano after he just won the speakership election” on July 22, 2019.
Some Filipinos linked pictures of the actual event that the painting was based on.
— chuperman (@Superman82847) March 10, 2020
The painting specifically depicted Cayetano being prayed over by his colleagues before he ascended for his oath-taking as the new speaker of the House.
The “pray over” was presided by Rep. Eddie Villanueva of CIBAC party-list. Villanueva is the founder of the evangelical Christian movement Jesus is Lord.
The artwork also caught the attention of BBC News Philippine correspondent Howard Johnson who called it “interesting.”
Others likened the painting to other pictures with similar “energy,” such as the image of dictator Adolf Hitler giving a speech in the Kroll Opera House in April 1939.
same energy pic.twitter.com/F7H5kH1b3M
— Mar Escalona (@escalonamar) March 11, 2020
An online user wondered if the painting is a depiction of how Cayetano “perceives” himself.
“Is this how he perceives himself? Worst concept of self-image so far ha,” the Twitter user said.
Another online user linked a news item reporting that Cayetano has gained the majority of lawmakers’ votes for the house speakership last year with a total of 266 votes.
His opponent, Rep. Benny Abante (Manila), earned only 28 votes.
Only two lawmakers abstained while Rep. Edcel Lagman (Albay) voted against Cayetano.
Cayetano will only hold the speakership position until October due to a term-sharing deal with Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque), a stalwart of the ruling PDP-Laban party, following President Rodrigo Duterte‘s suggestion.
Their rivalry recently made headlines when The Daily Tribune reported Rep. Lito Atienza‘s (Buhay party-list) view about the matter.
It was titled “Coup’ pals in House drama” which social media users found witty as they perceive the first two words a pun on the Filipino word “kupal” often used as an insult.