It is a mystery to the camp of outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo why she remains a target of internet trolls despite losing the recently concluded May 2022 presidential elections.
Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez lamented how trolls are still targeting Robredo and her daughters despite the overwhelming number of votes garnered by President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
“Hindi ko nga maintindihan. Ito lang ‘yung nakita ko na eleksyon na nanalo na, pero feeling ‘di nanalo yata. Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ‘yung paninira doon sa mga taong hindi nakakuha ng pinakamataas na boto sa eleksyon (I don’t understand. This is the only elections where they won, but it felt like they lost. The defamation against those who didn’t get the highest number of votes in the elections still continues),” he said during Robredo’s weekly radio show on dzXL.
However, Gutierrez noted that they are already used to trolling and disinformation, stressing that the huge difference now is that the Vice President will fight back after her term ends on June 30.
Though many are waiting for details of her Angat Buhay NGO, a continuation of her flagship anti-poverty program but now under the ambit of a non-government organization, Robredo’s spokesman said they will also begin an initiative to fight disinformation and possibly file legal cases against fake news peddlers and the social media platforms that allow these to proliferate.
“Kasi kung hindi natin kikilusan ay magpapatuloy. Di ba? Kung magpapatuloy, patuloy na may mga malilinlang, patuloy na ‘yung paninira ay hindi titigil, ‘yung ganitong klase ng diskurso na nakabatay sa mali at hindi totoo, eh hindi natin puwedeng hayaan ito (Because if we are not going to act, it will prosper. Right? If it will continue, others will continue to be fooled, the defamation will not stop, this kind of information anchored on the wrong and lies, we cannot allow it),” Gutierrez said.
“Hindi lang para kay VP Leni, hindi para sa maraming tao na naging biktima ng ganitong klaseng paninira sa social media, pero para sa kapakanan at kabutihan ng ating buong bansa at ng ating buong lipunan na ‘di ba, kailangan maipalabas natin ‘yung totoo (It’s not only for VP Leni, not only for many people who were victimized by this kind of defamation on social media, but for the welfare of the whole country and our society that need to know the truth),” he added.
The discourse about many issues and topics in society should be based on the truth and data and not on fake news, the spokesperson stressed.
Robredo is the top target and biggest victim of disinformation based on data gathered by an academe-media fact-checking collaboration.
University of the Philippines journalism professor Yvonne Chua said during a Senate hearing in February that most instances of disinformation on social media platforms are directed against Robredo, while Marcos benefited the most from fake news.
The outgoing Vice President is still the target of internet trolls and detractors on social media, with many calling her “bobo (stupid)” and “fake” even as she already refused to comment about the elections and the myriad national issues.
During the election, videos of her speeches and debate answers were spliced, the most popular of which was her supposed criticism of the Filipino seafarers’ lack of skills when she was merely referencing the European Commission which called out the seafarers’ education, training, and certification system for serious deficiencies.
Even her daughters weren’t spared as both Aika and Tricia were tagged in malicious videos, while Jillian’s video in Baguio City with a Marcos supporter was cut to look like she scolded the person.
“Grabe eh, parang nananaig ‘yung mga balita na hindi totoo; nananaig ang kasinungalingan, eh hindi natin maaaring hayaan lang ‘yan (It’s too much, fake news are becoming dominant; lies are becoming dominant, we cannot allow that),” Gutierrez said.
He shared that more information about the Angat Buhay NGO initiative and how people may join it will be released in the coming weeks.