Our lawmakers are trying their best to deal with the pandemic. Like they say, we heal as one. Too bad that focus might swerve when someone calls them out on social media. Case in point: Sen. Bong Go sending subpoenas to his critics. Including a mere college student.
This is why #TanginaMoBongGo is trending on Twitter. Threatening people with subpoenas apparently ain’t enough to shut down the Sen. Go meme train.
In a Rappler article, Sen. Go had indeed asked the National Bureau of Investigation’s (NBI) Cybercrime Division to investigate posts that were critical of him. “We wrote letters to the NBI requesting them to conduct investigations on certain social media posts that may fall under possible violations of the cybercrime law, particularly libel, and other applicable laws,” said Go in a statement. “Kung nag-subpoena ang NBI sa kanila, sagutin na lang nila dahil may proseso naman na magpoprotekta sa kanilang mga karapatan.”
Don’t get him wrong though. He might’ve filed complaints to several individuals criticizing his work through status updates and memes but he wants us to know that he still respects our freedom of speech
“Nirerespeto namin ang karapatan at opinyon ninyo. Kung tingin ninyo ay wala kayong ginawang iligal, wala kayong dapat alalahanin. Sagutin niyo lang ang paratang laban sa inyo at may proseso naman ang batas na poprotekta sa inyong mga karapatang pantao,” explained Go to ABS-CBN. Although these subpoenas have been issued, Go still hadn’t disclosed what the posts contained and what cases he had filed against critics.
What will the NBI cybercrime division prioritize? Youth groups getting red-tagged or government officials getting criticized online?
On Apr. 7, the NBI issued a subpoena to an individual who posted about and criticized the government’s two billion peso jet. “Either he is an author of fake news or a whistleblower. Kung whistleblower meron kang knowledge that in times of crisis bumibili ang gobyerno ng two billion pesos na private jet plane,” said NBI Cybercrime Division Chief Vic Lorenzo.
Getting a vague subpoena for criticizing the government online should instill fear but this didn’t stop folks on Twitter to make #TanginaMoBongGo trend. “Filipinos online were quick to ridicule Go for his thin skin. Others made memes taunting the NBI,” wrote Rappler.
Sen. Go might not be used to critics bashing him, however, youth representatives, youth groups and activists eat red-tagging and death threats for breakfast. While he is filing complaints against critics, Cong. Sarah Elago herself also submitted a complaint through NBI on July 16 against users posting death threats and red-tagging comments against progressive youth groups.
“What’s gravely concerning is that these fake statements and false allegations inciting harm and hate on activists and dissenters are coming from police, military and government agencies using public funds,” said Sarah. According to Inquirer, she presented some 30 posts to the NBI that encourage hate and harm against youth and student groups. Some of the posts were from the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ social media accounts.
What will the NBI cybercrime division prioritize? Youth groups getting red-tagged or government officials getting criticized online? Anyone can take a guess. But knowing this great nation, we all know what’s about to go down.
Art by Rogin Losa