Padilla explains hand gesture he made during Sona anthem singing | Inquirer News

Padilla explains hand gesture he made during Sona anthem singing

/ 11:36 PM July 26, 2023

Senator Robin Padilla explains hand gesture he made during Sona anthem singing.

Sen. Robin Padilla seen with his hand gesture during the singing of the national anthem before President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos’ 2nd SONA last July 24, 2023. | PHOTO: RTVM /

MANILA, Philippines — A clenched fist with the index finger pointing upward is “a show of Islamic faith” that “asserts the oneness of God,” Sen. Robin Padilla said on Wednesday.

He was explaining the controversial hand gesture he made during the singing of the national anthem at the second State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.


He said the gesture represents a Kalima, a phrase that Muslims often recite — “La ilaha ilalah,” which means “the oneness of God.”


Some netizens, following the Sona, criticized Padilla for this hand gesture.

“I always do the Kalima La ilaha ilalah with my hand here. Why can’t you do that? I would rather resign than [have] somebody telling me I cannot [practice] my faith,” he said.

“If I will not be successful in pushing for a federal parliamentary form of government I’d rather be an imam, I’d rather go to Malaysia and study the Koran than be a senator.”

Padilla converted to Islam in the 1990s while serving his sentence for illegal possession of firearms at the New Bilibid Prison.

He was convicted in 1994 and sentenced to serve a maximum prison term of eight years. In April 1998, then-President Fidel Ramos granted him a conditional pardon.

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TAGS: 2023 State of the Nation Address, Robin Padila, Sona

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