Category: sotto

waiting for cocoy, what about sotto, calling out grace

sometime during the senate hearing on fake news by the committee on public info and mass media last wednesday, i said on my facebook wall that i found the talk refreshing, it was good to see and hear edwin lacierda, abigail valte, and manolo quezon, nakaka-miss ang intelligent discourse. (public status. 13 likes.)  we kinda took it for granted back in pre-duterte days.

not that the trio said much, except to deny that they were responsible in any way for the anonymous dilawan blog silent no more or that its webmaster was once part of pNoy’s comms team — though cocoy dayao wasn’t around to confirm the denial, so correct me if i heard wrong — and to demand that rj nieto prove his allegations, produce evidence, that mar roxas was responsible for the nasaan-ang-pangulo anti-pNoy campaign in the time of mamasapano.  nag-buckle lang si lacierda on the question of whether he is part (or something like that) of silent no more, and justifiably, because does one become a part of silent no more when one “likes” and / or shares the link of any of its blog posts on facebook?

smart of cocoy dayao not to show up.  but he should show up next time or he might have to go into hiding and then be tracked down by the cops a la ronnie dayan, ewww.  that would be so uncool.  cool would be if he came to the next hearing with bells and whistles, including a hotshot IT lawyer.  i expect that he would refuse (even in an executive session) to name his clients, i.e., the writer/s and / or owners of silent no more (and other anonymous blogs under his admin) on grounds of confidentiality.  it would be a test case on a citizen’s right to anonymity and privacy.

it would be interesting to see how sotto, and other feeling-aggrieved senators, will deal with that.  sotto, in particular, who was tagged a rapist in the controversial seven-sens post (6,600 likes, 2066 shares, 780 comments) has reason to cry LIBEL!  but then that would mean opening himself up to questions re the pepsi paloma rape case back in 1982.  under oath he would be crazy to insist that no rape happened as he has claimed in recent years.  the rape hit the front pages just 35 years ago.  marami kaming adults na noon na buhay pa ngayon, and we remember what a scandal it was, and we still marvel at how they managed to get away with it, dared brazen it out, the show must go on, eat bulaga!  no fake news that.

and because dayao was a no-show, napagtuunan tuloy ng oras at pansin at puna si mocha uson, duterte’s social media muse (5 million followers), at si rj nieto aka thinking pinoy (700K followers) who is second only to mocha when it comes to bashing dilawans and others critical of duterte, imagining scenarios based on iffy data, yet whom committee chair grace poe couldn’t praise enough for his “neutrality” and “excellent research,” never mind the times that nieto has had to issue “errata” dahil nagkamali, tao lang daw.  argh.  i’ve been blogging 10 years now and i don’t remember ever having to issue an erratum.

anyway, the next morning, on my fb newsfeed, a u.p. prof was wishing for the likes of recto, laurel, salonga and santiago in the chamber; the discourse would have been so radically different daw. (for fb friends only. 142 likes and counting.)  hmm.  miriam too?  “I lied!” was one of her favorite punchlines.

pero recto, laurel, salonga, oo naman, except what’s the point in wishing for better, based on a romanticized past, when there’s work to do confronting what is, now, and looking to the future.  roby alampay, tony la viña, and florin hilbay were outstanding.

as for senator poe, she can redeem herself by pushing through with the committee’s promise to plug legal loopholes that allow bloggers earning undeclared income from advertisements to avoid payment of taxes.  and senator nancy binay is right, tax also the so-called “influencers” promoting products and services on their social media accounts, said to be an underground billion (peso) industry.  better late than never.

bad english and fake news, anonymity and discourse, in a time of trolls

this post started out lamenting the decline of our english-speaking skills…

Pinoy nurses recruited for jobs in UK fail English test
Fifty-two out of 59 nurses recruited in Manila for a job in Medway Maritime Hospital in the United Kingdom have failed an English language test, stalling their employment.

Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent said 52 out of the 59 candidates had failed one or more of the listening, reading, writing and speaking tests.

… that i meant to tie up with randy david’s column that begins with The president as purveyor of fake news and ends on the uphill battle against misinformation and disinformation on social media courtesy of trolls with bad grammar, and who seem to live in a different world.

So huge is the battle against fake news that it cannot be left to the mainstream media to fight it alone. Neither can we expect scholars, experts, and specialists to weigh in all the time and correct the misinformation and disinformation that clog social media. For, there is a public out there that has long harbored a resentment against experts, that trusts in the power of its own commonsense, and that is sustained in its comforting delusion by the bits of information it picks up from Wikipedia.

This fight ultimately has to be waged in the internet itself by digital activists who refuse to have their reality defined by trolls that can neither spell right nor write grammatically, that resort to exclamation points to call attention, and that, most importantly, paint a world we cannot recognize.

agit na agit, of course, ang mga ka-dds sa facebook, and not because david said the president purveys fake news (!) but because david dared call out the bad english of trolls in general.  offended na offended both the ones who feel alluded to and the ones who don’t feel alluded to, and this from dswd usec lorraine badoy is priceless:

There is an eloquence in the faulty grammar and badly spelled words of the unlettered. But it is the kind of eloquence you can only hear with your heart—if you care enough to listen to them and not default on denigration—this denigration they’ve had to bear all their lives—and in the hands of those who ought to know better.

eloquence.in.the.faulty.grammar.  wow.  on a fine day i might concede that it’s not unimaginable, but only if the faulty grammar were not a reflection of faulty reasoning (thinking) because based on slanted (inadequate) information, the kind that the ka-DDS cohort specializes in doling out.

puwede rin namang i-level up ang discourse, aminin na we do have language problems (from english to tagalog) as a nation and let’s do something about it.  after all, badoy herself belongs to the smart educated class and if her heart is in the right place, she would want to do something about it?  smart-shaming denigrating david does not help the cause of the “unlettered.”

anyway, that got quickly overtaken and overwhelmed when ka-DDS heavyweights declared virtual war on anonymous dilawan blogs like silent no more that tagged as “malacanang dogs” seven senators who did not sign kiko pangilinan’s resolution asking the president to stop the killing of minors.  senator sotto, one of alleged “dogs” is so angry, “pakakain ko sa kanila computer nila hindi lang yung words nila.”

sino sila?  sass et al. have managed to identify the webmaster, but did he write that particular blogpost?  is he obliged to identify who wrote the post?  i’m not sure anymore.  anonymity has its uses.  one is braver, i think, when one is writing anonymously, but also maybe prone to errors because, you know, hindi nakataya ang pangalan?

it was careless of silent no more, tagging tito sotto a rapist when in fact the 1982 pepsi paloma rape case was vs vic, joey, and richie.  a little googling and some reading would make such a difference.  pero walang oras, ano?  nagmamadali kasi, para makarami, kaya bara-bara na lang.  this latest post on silent no more‘s fb wall says it all:

SNMph says
We have deliberately left the door open for the TROLLS to earn a living. Thank you for the valued engagements.  #SNMph have just hit the 10m engagements mark because of them. Those familiar with how FB algorithm works knows that we have just hit the jackpot! Salamat po!

pera pera lang talaga, ano?  trabaho lang, ika nga, but this time with walang patumanggang personalan at bastusan.   a new low in pinoy discourse.  to think that in 2008 i was complaining about intellectual doldrums and filipino voices, the group blog.  as it turns out, those were good times for the blogosphere; it never got any better than that.

by 2012 i was blogging in the wind, lamenting the loss of filipino voices, and feeling my way into facebook.  a completely different world meant to promote freedom of expression in aid of democracy but which has now evolved into a weapon for destructive propaganda worldwide.  so now, on top of everything that’s wrong with the world, we have to contend with fake news.  read Why Fake News Spreads So Fast on Facebook and Social media and democracy: optimism fades as fears rise.

Oxford University researchers said in a June report that social networks like Facebook and Twitter, which were intended to be a platform for free expression, “have also become tools for social control” in many countries.

Governments employ large numbers of people “to generate content, direct opinion and engage with both foreign and domestic audiences,” said the report by the university’s Project on Computational Propaganda.

The researchers, who studied social media in 28 countries, concluded that “every authoritarian regime has social media campaigns targeting their own populations.”

… Zeynep Tufekci, a North Carolina University sociologist who studies social networks and activist movements, said the platforms which helped enable the Arab Spring are now being used against dissenters.

“This is not necessarily Orwell’s 1984,” she writes in her 2017 book, “Twitter and Tear Gas: How Social Media Changed Protest Forever.”

“Rather than a complete totalitarianism based on fear and the blocking of information, the newer methods include demonizing online media and mobilizing armies of supporters or paid employees who muddy the online waters with misinformation, information overload, doubt, confusion, harassment, and distraction.”

the senate hearing on wednesday should be interesting.  the ka-dds camp is siccing senator sotto on LP senators kiko pangilinan and bam aquino who are allegedly behind the well-organized and well-funded propaganda machine run by cocoy dayao et al of silent no more.  of course it’s not as if these ka-dds aren’t part, too, of a well-organized and well-funded propaganda machine with matching anonymous questionable-news sites na sino kaya ang nagpopondo.  ayon kay kit tatad:

The regime has begun to unravel. Ninety-five percent of the social media trolls that used to support everything DU30 said or did are gone, only 48 pro-DU30 troll sites remain, according to IT experts familiar with the subject.

if true, this could be why the ka-dds vs dilawan war on facebook seems to be escalating.  maybe the dilawans are smelling victory and the ka-dds are feeling threatened?  or is it the other way around.  revolutionary government, anyone?  we will know soon enough, i guess.

 

 

Sotto ever trying hard

By Oscar P. Lagman, Jr.

TWENTY YEARS ago, I wrote in this space under the title “Unfit for the Senate” that senatorial candidates Ramon Revilla and Tito Sotto were not qualified for the Upper Chamber of Congress. Revilla had run for the Senate in 1987 and lost ignominiously, as he should have since he did not have the credentials to be a senator. But among the senatorial candidates in 1992 he ranked No. 3 in the surveys. His resume had not changed significantly from 1987, when he was rejected resoundingly by the electorate, to 1992, when he was regarded more highly by the same electorate. That was because he ran as Jose Bautista, his real name, in 1987 and as Ramon Revilla in 1992.

I ventured the opinion in the same article that if Sotto were to run as Vicente Sotto he would meet the same fate that Jose Bautista met in 1987. I wrote then that the Harvard-trained and veteran legislator has said he was not seeking reelection to the Senate because he did not relish the thought of debating with the likes of Tito Sotto, the master of toilet humor and sick jokes, host of the asinine TV show Eat Bulaga.

I wrote further that Senator Enrile should have perished the thought of debating with him as Sotto was not capable of engaging in such cerebral activity, as gauged by his participation in the Great Debate on the RP-US Treaty. His best effort in that discourse consisted of getting Eat Bulaga child star Aiza Seguerra, then too young to understand the issue, and the sex star Nanette Medved, a foreign citizen, to join the pro-base rally at the Luneta and leading the chant “Yes to the bases.” Such was Sotto’s grasp of the burning issue of the time.

Both Sotto and Revilla were elected to the Senate that year, Sotto placing first among the winners, no doubt by virtue of his popularity among what columnist Tony Abaya referred to as the “squealing masa,” the shrieking audience of the inane Eat Bulaga. As Sotto continued to appear in Eat Bulaga during his first term, he was elected in 1998 to another term. In all those years he was hardly heard in the Upper Chamber of Congress.

Then came the historic impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada. When the former Securities and Exchange Commission chair Perfecto Yasay testified, Sotto stood up and addressed Yasay. This is how the dialogue went:

Sotto: Can you tell this court the telephone service provider that you use for your cellphone?

Yasay: “I used at that time Piltel.”

Sotto: “Digital, analog, GSM?”

Yasay: “I was using an old Motorola set.”

Sotto: “Okay, thank you.”

That was the extent of Sotto’s participation in that significant chapter of the country’s history.

After the trial had been aborted, Sotto tried to justify his “no” vote on the opening of the Jose Velarde envelope by saying that he had consulted legal eagles including former justices of the Supreme Court, and all of them advised him to oppose the opening of the envelope. To have to consult legal luminaries on whether to open an envelope thought to contain incriminating evidence against Erap meant he was incapable of making even such a simple decision.

Having served two consecutive terms in the Senate he was ineligible to run for re-election in 2004. He ran again in 2007 under the banner of TEAM Unity, the coalition backed by then President Arroyo. It will be recalled that Gloria ran for the Senate in 1995 and for vice-president in 1998 as a look-alike of Nora Aunor — obviously to win the votes of the “squealing masa.” Had she found a party to sponsor her candidacy for president in 1998, which she had originally wanted to do, Sotto would have been her running mate. Anyway, demonized because of his “no” vote on the opening of the Jose Velarde envelope, as Senator Miriam Santiago put it, Sotto ended up in 19th place in that year’s senatorial race.

To keep his name in the consciousness of the voters, he was appointed in 2008 as chairman of the Dangerous Drug Board by his patron Gloria. During the Lower House’s inquiry in 2009 into the alleged bribery attempt to release the Alabang Boys arrested in a buy-bust operation, Sotto somehow was able to insert himself into the inquiry. He tried mightily to participate in the deliberations but since he was only peripherally connected to the issue at hand, he did not get any chance to voice his thoughts. But at one point, Quezon Congressman Danilo Suarez, another Gloria loyalist, asked Sotto, “Why are there Caucasians in PDEA operations?”

It seemed from the irrelevance of the question that Suarez was merely giving fellow Gloria ally the chance to get some exposure as the inquiry was being televised live. Sotto answered: “The PDEA is structurally different from the US DEA.” The answer equally irrelevant to the issue being resolved and Sotto having gotten his exposure, though fleeting it was, Suarez dismissed the matter. Sotto remained a mere onlooker/listener for the rest of the session.

In 2010 Sotto ran again for the Senate. To distance himself from the discredited Arroyo, he ran under the banner of the National People’s Coalition, the party of Boss Danding Cojuangco, who quietly supported the candidacy of Noynoy. Sotto got elected this time.

Then came the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, Arroyo’s first line of defense against future criminal charges. There was nothing Sotto had done since the Erap impeachment trial in 2001 to qualify him to sit as judge in the impeachment of Gutierrez. In response to the wide speculation that he, being an ally of Gloria Arroyo, would vote to acquit Gutierrez, the Inquirer quoted him as saying: “People should not be judgmental and avoid speculating on the individual stand for each senator. They’re not helping the Senate any by doing that.” Bothered by the wide speculation that he would vote according to the bidding of his former patron, he declared that there are 23 republics in the Senate, implying that all senators are independent minded.

Yet, in the trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona he admitted that he went by the wishes of the people when as judge he should have decided on the basis of evidence presented for his evaluation. Said he when he cast his vote: “The real judge in this trial is the citizenry. They heard the two sides. In my conscience, I have heard their decision. And for them I vote guilty.”

In his speech against the RH Bill, he said his son died five months after he was born, attributing his death to complications arising from his wife taking the oral contraceptive pill Diane. However, information indicated that the product Diane became available in the market only after his son had died, destroying completely his sob story. He didn’t sound credible from the beginning. Here is a macho man (what with his mustache and beard) sobbing like a little boy whose large scoop of ice cream had just fallen on the floor. It was obviously plain acting, and it was bad acting, including on the part of his former detractor Enrile, who was not moved one bit by the “emotional breakdown” of Corona during the latter’s trial but who came to console the sobbing Sotto.

Tito Sotto should stop trying to sound and look like a senator in the mold of the senators of the 1950s. The more he tries, the more he reinforces his image as the intellectually challenged student of Wanbol University, the fictional school in the TV variety show Iskul Bukol.

In fact, the TV clip wherein he let out a guffaw after saying he could not have plagiarized Robert Kennedy because what he said was in Tagalog, a language Kennedy did not know, could pass for a scene in Iskul Bukol.

“70% of us are for the RH Bill”

My Rant
Marian Pastor Roces

Tito S affects gravitas. He will simply not be goaded by riffraff. He will not be persuaded to engage mere pests. We are all beneath him. If we’re so smart we should have been voted into the Senate. But we’re not in the august halls because our smarts have been bought by drug lords.

His contempt is so extreme, we have to invent new words to detox. Such poison!

He thinks he will have the last laugh. I can just hear him think this in his complete silence as we enjoy ourselves.

Yep this is one helluva male chauvinist pig (pardon the period vocab).

So this ugly business can’t end here.

So I won’t let it rest—if only for one more day. Even if it costs. Time and poise. In fact, even if it costs me the patience of some of you out there.

Because we can’t yield to Tito S an inch of what we’ve earned in political maturity. Because we can’t cede to this cretin our common sense.

All of us who earn our keep by creating. Paragraphs, projects, objects, strawberry jam, alternatives, rice harvests, buildings, toys, blogs, systems, dikes, events, boats, policies. Satire. Cheating, we know, drains the product of sizzle. Makes our work like soda without the fizz. Di na lang bale outcomes.

Plagiarism, we know, is a particular kind of stealing. It is a crime that comes with a slap and a kick at our earnest effort.

Plagiarism is Robert Blair Carabuena slapping and cursing at Saturnino Fabros trying to do a job with dignity.

Copying without attribution invites the derision of innovators. And reduces makers into cheap labor—not a fate our leaders should wish upon us.

Copying, we know, is different from emulating, evoking, distilling, paraphrasing, mimickry. Different, in fact, from making facsimiles and repros, as lawmakers everywhere ought to know.

Copying, in fact, is kleptomania. Sotto helping himself to other people’s stuff when he thinks no one’s looking—a pathology.

And translating, we know, needs to name the original voice. Otherwise, its just impudence. But impudence, we know, is the capital Sotto used to gain notoriety.

We KNOW all these fine points.

Tito S knows all these fine points. Its not as though he was born in jail or something.

But the dif between him and us, is: we don’t imagine we’ll get away with this level of bad. With this assault on the concept of an honest day’s work.

Seriously, this is the same impunity Zaldy A thinks he’s entitled to. Seriously, this is not hyperbole.

And here we get to the reason for my rant.

Both Zaldy A and Tito S (and a lot of you politicians out there) imagine they have the masses in their corner. Think their enormous power derives from the approval or silence of unthinking multitudes.

Hell, no. Their enormous power comes from old-boy-old-girl cabals. Comes from huge, nearly unimaginable monies staving off any possibility of trapo meltdown.

And given the chance, WE KNOW, the poorest, the most prostituted, the most demoralized Filipinos, know what indignity is. Know what trapo arrogance is.

But know, too, that impunity is self-delusion.

Those who indulge this delusion, think that fine lines— like the lines plagiarism draws between conceit and diligence —are merely middle class issues. That the poor don’t care.

This is my image: we are all Saturnino Fabros, traffic enforcer. We all have 6 children. We all know the 6 children can’t have 6 children too. Yes even the cyber bullies are Fabros.

70% of us are for the RH Bill.

We speak different languages but we are not as divided as Tito S and his ilk assume. For those on the net, the languages of satire and informed banter. For those like Fabros, the language of quiet dignity.

And this majority that can come together in a 70% consensus, we know, is not a delusion.