By Raïssa Robles
It is because supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte were told by someone on Facebook – who calls himself Dr. Salim McDoom – that my story on Duterte was “libelous” and therefore I should be punished by having my Facebook community page reported so that it will be suspended, or worse, banned.
Who is Dr. Salim McDoom? Why does Facebook allow person(s) like him or her to hide behind a cloak of anonymity without accountability while reaching a global audience?
I find the actions of these Duterte supporters fascinating from the viewpoint of a journalist but worrisome from the viewpoint of a human being because a certain Jose Baldonado who goes by the handle “Hose Zurc Jhem” from Tarlac, Tarlac so very casually said – “patayin na yan” (kill her).
You can find Jose Baldonado’s Facebook page by copying and pasting this link: https://www.facebook.com/baldonado.jose.9?fref=ts
Another scary thing here is that not one of them bothered to ask what I had written that was libelous. Their actions were akin to that of a mob, only in this case a digital mob.
It was clear that many of them had never even heard of me. That many of them did not even know what they were banning or blocking me for.
It was just sufficient for them to be told that I had allegedly libelled President Duterte in my post – Did President Rodrigo Duterte just confess to being drug dependent? This was even though the source of my article – that Duterte was taking the powerful painkiller drug Fentanyl – was no other than Duterte himself talking about it to businessmen in Malacañang Palace.
Some of them blocked or reported me in order to “support” Duterte or to “protect the president”.
Someone named “Kei Acero” even said I should be hanged “bitayin na yan”. You can view Kei Acero’s Facebook page by copying this link – https://www.facebook.com/kurimaw.kaskaro/media_set?set=a.101902076555778.3820.100002079578824&type=3
I have copied and pasted and turned into a PDF the entire thread of the call to action to “Cyber Tokhang” me. It runs to 43 pages. It’s a very fascinating example of a digital mob in action.
“Tokhang” is a term introduced by the Duterte administration: it has an innocuous literal meaning but a sinister interpretation . It’s a portmanteau of two Cebuano words, “toktok” (to knock) and “hangyo” (to request). It’s supposed to describe a procedure – of dubious legality and constitutionality – where police go to houses in a neighborhood and ask the homeowners for permission to inspect their homes for drugs. They do this without a warrant. It’s supposed to be a key feature of the administration’s war on drugs.
In practice, what tokhang seems to have produced is death lists and corpses, the bodies of thousands of people murdered extrajudicially. Operation Tokhang has resulted in 5,927 deaths, according to the Philippine National Police. Some 2,086 of these fatalities were killed during police operations (nanlaban or they fought back); and 3,841 were vigilante-style killings.
In this light it’s easy to equate “tokhang” with murder, and even easier to guess that trolls have nothing good in mind when they say somebody should be targeted for “Cyber Tokhang.” In fact, as the post of Jose Baldonado (a.ka. Hose Zurc Jhem) shows, some of Duterte supporters have been pretty open about it.
As Baldonado wrote, “Patayin na yan.”
You can view the entire PDF voa Google Drive: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bw7R_87iVf5nOXlsZjFqZkpkdzQ/view?usp=sharing
Or via Slideshare: (Note: You can adjust the size of the text below by clicking on the “+” sign found at the bottom right of the slideshare panel.)