Way back in 2010, GMA7 premiered a sitcom starring rapper-comedian Michael V called “Pepito Manaloto,” about an impoverished family man who wins a lottery jackpot and starts navigating through the wealthy life with his wife and children. On near-regular occasions Pepito has been pestered in the show by Tommy Diones (played by Ronnie Henares), a scam artist hoping to get-rich-quick at Pepito’s expense, usually leading off his latest request for handouts by declaring, “Pepito my friend.” Who would have expected over the past week that this sitcom line will become a meme attached to Tokyo Olympic gold-medalist weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz?

But there it is as told by Inquirer.net; a funny photo edit that has been circulating in social media, about the “Pepito Manaloto” supporting character Tommy asking for some scratch from Hidilyn Diaz, “Hidlyn My Friend” and all, has become viral all of last week. And over the weekend, the actor who brings Tommy to life in the Kapuso sitcom, Ronnie Henares, has acknowledged and given his thumbs up to the newly-minted joke meme on his official Instagram page. He even wrote a little comment in character as Tommy Diones to ride the surprise humor for all it is worth.

“Somebody is spreading this around!” commented Henares on IG. “In fairness, I already owe Pepito over a million in debt. Perhaps, with all of the millions Hidilyn will get, maybe she could spread at least one million.” In the screen-cap from the FP page “Pepeng Pinakamalupet,” the meme image consists of a photo of Diaz celebrating her gold medal win in Tokyo, with the background dotted in million-peso values. Underneath is a scene from Pepito Manaloto with Henares as a smirking Tommy, with the accompanying subtitle replacing the name “Pepito” to read “Hidilyn my friend.”

Just to refresh, after Hidilyn Diaz won the women’s 55-kilo weightlifting event at the Tokyo Olympics last week, she was earmarked for multiple cash rewards and incentives for the honor she claimed the country, including P10 million for national athletes winning gold, another several million from donors in the private sector, and still a few more millions from the pocket of President Rodrigo Duterte, along with a new house and lot in her Zamboanga hometown. Somehow the grasping Tommy Diones, as made iconic by Ronnie Henares, just feels right butting in to ask for money. “Pepito Manaloto” is currently running a prequel storyline, subtitled “Ang Unang Kuwento” since July 17, weekly on Saturdays at GMA7.

Image courtesy of Philippine Star