In the wake of Monday’s presidential election, in which Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. seems like to emerge as the winner with over 31 million votes, Vice President Leni Robredo — who trailed in second place — seems to be taking her apparent loss in stride. Robredo recently did a livestream showing off all of the gifts that she has received from supporters throughout the course of the campaign and announced plans to open a “pink museum” to put some of these items, ranging from handcrafted artisanal items to crowns and even a surfboard, on display.
While Robredo’s post-election efforts have helped maintain the collective morale of her supporters (who are known as Kakampinks — a portmanteau of kakampi (ally) and pink, her campaign color), those same supporters are trying to lift their candidate’s spirits by trying to make a meeting happen between the VP, who is set to fly to the U.S. this weekend to attend her daughter Jillian’s graduation from New York University, and pop music icon Taylor Swift.
It’s not a random request. Swift will also be in attendance as the graduation’s guest speaker on May 18, and she is also set to receive an honorary doctorate in fine arts from NYU.
A supporter named Mac Dionisio first made the call, tweeting, “hi @taylorswift13. the philippines’ vice president, @lenirobredo, will be attending her daughter’s nyu graduation where you’ll be delivering your commencement speech. she went through a lot as a woman fighting for the soul of our country. she’s a fan. i hope you meet her. Please.”
The post has since been liked over 65,000 times as of writing.
The Taylor Swift connection to the recently-concluded Robredo campaign is palpable: many of Robredo’s young supporters are Swifties as well. They have leveraged their fandom with the hashtag #Swifties4Leni and co-opted the pop star’s lyrics to spread their message of empowerment on their candidate’s behalf. One such example is Swift’s politically-laced banger “Only the Young” — Leni supporters created shirts and signs with references to the song and its lyrics about “the big bad man and his big bad clan,” as The New York Times wrote. Another lyric, “Oh, how quickly they forget,” has been used to refer to the effect of social media disinformation run by pro-Marcos machinery in whitewashing the atrocities that took place during the years of martial law under Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s regime.
Robredo’s own daughters, as well as the vice president herself, are also known to be Taylor Swift fans. In November, Robredo posted a video of herself dancing alongside supporters in Cebu to the hit song 22 just after Bongbong Marcos and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte had announced their decision to run as a tandem.
“A lot of things happening,” Robredo tweeted in Filipino with a cartwheel emoji. “But just as (sis) Taylor said: I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22. Let’s just chill.”