The first Philippine online witchhunt for 2012
Every year, several people end up incurring the ire of what seems to be all the Filipinos in the world. There was Christopher Lao in 2011, known for driving his car into a flooded area and laying the blame on everyone else; Tracy Borres in 2009, for her highly disdainful and bratty Facebook notes detailing her immersion experience in an Aeta community; Jacqueline Bermejo in 2009 again, for comments expressing glee at Typhoon Ondoy which were attributed to her; and Malu Fernandez in 2007, who wrote a magazine article that was filled with eye-rolling about having to fly on a plane with OFWs. I may have forgotten a few other people here.
For early 2012, the Filipino online community has found its first target: a certain Ahcee Flores, who commented on the recent earthquake in Visayas, “Let us all pray……. Na matuloy ang tsunami para maraming bisaya ang mamatay, para mabawasan ang mga baduy sa pilipinas [I hope the tsunami pushes through so people from Visayas will die..so the outdated will cease].” Naturally, people are now trying to find out who this Ahcee Flores is and if she’s a real person, but of course, people are going well beyond that, making threats on her life and declaring her persona non grata in Visayas. There’s an idea floating around that Ahcee Flores is simply a false name, and now, people are digging up the information they can about the supposedly real person behind Ahcee Flores. Many are taking it too far, however, posting what appear to be real addresses and phone numbers. This is pretty dangerous, as they could be exposing perfectly innocent people to harassment. But who cares? This is an online mob, and they will dole out justice however they see fit.
It’s true that what the person wrote was really very insensitive and wrong. But on the other hand, people should learn to roll their eyes at comments like these, whether or not the person was simply trolling; it’s always a good tactic to stop feeding the troll, and stop making it seem as if what she said is worthy of any attention. Lots of people will say lots of ugly, stupid things that other people won’t agree with. Expressing your disagreement is normal; making heartfelt threats of murder and vigilante justice is just, well, silly, and doesn’t make you look any more intelligent or righteous than the person you are threatening to kill.
*sits back and watches how this plays out, then revisits the issues in three months to see if the people threatening to murder the offensive murder still feel just as passionately about the issue, or remember it at all with the same level of rage*