A troll by any other name is a sad, sad case of wasted Filipino

The photo about integrity that trolls objected to.

By JoeAm

I had my first troll swarm on Facebook the other day, a simple post with a picture of Leni Robredo at Independence Day rites at Rizal Park, walking in the rain. The photo was accompanied by the text:

“As President Trump refuses to attend ceremonies in the rain and President Duterte can’t wake up to attend important meetings, I am reminded of a woman who puts them both to shame. This is not rocket science, folks.”

The posting got over 7,200 reactions and 3,600 shares and maybe 200 trolls popping in to pop off.

I set out to block and delete a lot of the trolls because they were citing nonsense and bogging down the discussion which was INTENDED to be about integrity. Not umbrellas or rain. Integrity.

Before blocking them, I would visit their FB page to see who I was dealing with.

The responses were mainly from Marcos trolls and their Facebook walls were thin of content. They were either seeking to make money or were the most patriotically and morally empty batch of people on the planet. They couldn’t discern Filipino integrity if it were a wet fish flying into their face.

  • Most typed “Fake VP” or “Lugaw” or ridiculed the Vice President’s clothes or hair. Simple one-line insults made up maybe 75 percent of all troll postings.
  • A few said President Duterte also paraded in the rain and showed a picture of him in a jeep in the rain at a military gathering.
  • None, absolutely zero, commented about the President sleeping at an important meeting.
  • A couple expressed doubt that President Trump refused to go to ceremonies because of rain.
  • None, absolutely none, picked up that the posting was about integrity. I guess I should have spelled it out explicitly.
  • About 75 percent were men and 25 percent were women.
  • I’d estimate that about 90 percent were between the ages of 20 and 40, generally shading toward the younger end of that range.
  • Around 95 percent just popped off, bringing in no new information and teaching nothing; they were not trying to get opinions from others, for sure. All output.
  • A good number were Filipinos in other countries. Maybe 20 percent.

As I did this analysis and blocking for four days running, I started feeling a great sadness that this is what so many people do to find a little income or meaning in their lives. They find their meaning by demeaning others. People who should be in the prime of life working full time and building careers and families and teaching their kids good values are prowling around Facebook insulting people. Decent people (Leni Robredo for example, or me for that matter).

Come to think of it, very few posted pictures with their kids.

The sadness came to me for two reasons: First, it is sad that the Philippine National Government has historically failed to give Filipinos feelings of worth and hope. And second, it is sad that these people – these trolls – are so financially needy or intellectually vacant or emotionally under-developed as not to be able to respect Filipino dignity.

Both conditions, that of government and that of citizens, remain pronounced today across Philippine society. That same intellectual and emotional vacuity reside in mainstream media and in the legislature and in the courts, and, I suspect, in teaching positions at primary schools and universities.

There is precious little pride, of the humble, confident, hope-filled, patriotic, giving kind. The pride that exists is for tactical wins for boxing or beauty pageants or voting into office punishers who will get even with anyone of dignity for having failed at changing the nation.

It is a miserable life. The trolls, I think, live miserable lives. Most Filipinos do, it seems to me. How can a life without hope, without promise, be anything but miserable?

The leaders of the nation, the wealthy and the empowered, do not live miserable lives.

They just game the miserable. They use them. Pay them off, a little pittance of alms for the beggars. “Find ’em. Use ’em. Pay ’em. And Forget ’em.”

I hope there are new, younger politicians coming onto the scene who can teach dignity, and hope. And what it feels like to belong to something meaningful. And to actually cherish good people like Leni Robredo because they represent the Filipino so beautifully. So respectfully.

My confidence level is low.

But at least I know that hope is precious and ought not be squandered being trolls or users.


75 Responses to “A troll by any other name is a sad, sad case of wasted Filipino”
  1. madlanglupa says:

    Just around midnight, Facebook experienced a huge slowdown. Kind of a hidden blessing because for that moment some people are shaken out of their being distracted, that it threw a monkey wrench into the propaganda machine.

    Whoever the geniuses behind the propaganda machine must have done well because these young women have become amazingly brainwashed, as they were convinced that we must give up liberties and rights for supposed prosperity and security.

  2. arlene says:

    I don’t engage with trolls. I’ve met some on my own wall at FB (previous school mates in UST). I put them on restricted status and blocked some. They are so unreasonable – bulag at bingi.

    I laughed at one of those memes about Bong Go saying that the Ayalas are Chinese. My golly, they were my former bosses, the Zobels’ ancestors were from Spain.

  3. Zen wolff says:

    Yes it is all a game to them. Today I couldn’t help replying a Troll to say he is a Sh…. Troll. He was twisting the logic that he is against dictatorship but not through Ninoy’s legacy because Ninoy died a Malaysian not Filipino. He tried arguing he is not aTroll and I ignored him . Best way to get rid of them, I suppose.

  4. Sup says:

    Once you search something online ”fakebook” remembers your search till death…
    So…………..If a page places a fake news like what happened this week with a Bato page with 1.000.000 followers about Marcos ”best president in the world”?
    With the technology and AI and whatever ”Fakebook” can do is should be easy to remove the post and let the owner of the page know it was removed after a fact check and give a warning that if they spread again fake news the page will be taken down.
    The shares should get the same warning and the likes from the main page, share pages etc should get a warning that liking fake news is a criminal offense in the Philippines.
    My 5 cents today.

  5. Emerson N Moral says:

    I totally agree with you JoeAm. We are lost as to how address the points you raised, and move on as a nation. We, Filipinos at this point of our national existence has failed our past and present generations. And we may fail the next, unless something happens. We have lost the very institutions fought for by the generations ahead of us. And unless we do something “miraculous,” we will totally lose the remaining glimmer of hope. I hope the mid-term elections will create the spark and lead back to the “checks and balances” we lost with Duterte at the helm. GOD have mercy on us!

  6. Micha says:

    Granting that the other side has a completely distorted view of political ethics and values, how or why did we come to this pass?

    • Failure of leaders to inspire individual initiative and the values that accompany fair play. My best guess.

      • Micha says:

        An individualist society is what we have now. Fragmented. Atomized. Divided.
        Why would our leaders want to encourage that?

        • Right. There is an individualistic society with no sense of common cause or inspiration arising from unified achievement, and being a part of a dynamic whole. All the individuals today are separated from these values. I write a blog because I am contributing to the building of something. It is an internal drive to want to be of help. The individuals of the Philippines are largely takers and not givers. Leadership has demanded the giving, but has not motivated it, within every Filipino.

          • Ancient Mariner says:

            How right you are JoeAm. As an expat my most frequent observation of the average Filipino in the street, mall or on the highway is that he/she does not care too much about the effect of their actions on others. As a consequence they take it for granted when they are treated the same way.

          • Micha says:

            That’s exactly what is wrong with strong societal emphasis on individualism because when it comes to the individual’s pursuit of his well being all moral and ethical considerations are fair game to be set aside or at least relegated to hypocritical lip servicing.

            A Duterte supporter will disregard all moral considerations as long as he believes Digong will make things better for him – and to hell with the social construct.

            • Yes, I see your point. The individualism has to be bound to group moral and ethical values.

            • edgar lores says:

              The way I understand it, it is not individualism. It is more herd mentality.

              • Individualism is good all around.

                It’s when certain individuals don’t fight for their honor or that of theirs, or not even honor just simple survival. The point of individualism is each is suppose to fight (personal or abstract).

                It keeps everyone on their toes,

                if a certain number of individuals don’t fight for what’s right (subjective reasons) then what you have are slaves.

                edgar’s herd mentality is slave mentality, which rhymes with colonial mentality and crab mentality.

                The point, no one is fighting.

                It’s not so important what you’re fighting for, just fight, create friction in society, so a spark or two occurs.

              • Micha says:

                No, not herd mentality. Individual initiative that Joe mentioned is what has animated capitalism in its early stages as it replaced the feudal system. It’s one of the bright promises of capitalism. The serf, the ordinary individual, so the story goes, can liberate himself from the protection and arranged servitude to his feudal master by setting out and engaging in some profitable ventures. All the risk and all the rewards will be borne by him free from the intervention of the feudal lord.

                Some set up shops and became bakers or shoemakers or merchandisers etc. And it was deemed good, to a certain point. Society did supposedly benefit from all the ingenuity and innovations. Fast forward to over a hundred years later and individual initiative took a not so pleasant turn as prospectors set out to amass wealth not only to gain freedom but to gain power. This is characterized by robber barons and pioneer exploiters in the US like J. D. Rockefeller or the Vanderbilts, the Morgans, Carnegie etc. They were celebrated. Wealth became power. They became capitalism’s royalty. And of course in a population of millions not everyone can be pioneers. This led to the fraying of the social fabric. Originally touted as guarantor of individual freedom, capitalism mimicked the social arrangement of the feudal system. Master and servant was just replaced by employee-employer relationship.

                Nonetheless, individualism became a pursuit and a narrative which continue up to this day.

                In Philippine context, the fraying of the social contract also became inevitable as our economic royalty also adopted the as-long-as-I’ve-got-mine-I-really-don’t-care-that-much-about-the-others mentality. The marginalized sought livelihood and refuge overseas but the social tension is apparent. Duterte exploited that and so here we are…lamenting his trolls and the unpleasantness of his reign.

              • edgar lores says:

                Thanks. I take the term, not in the economic sense, but in the psychological sense.

                I grant the term has several meanings.

                I am making the point that the emphasis in Philippine society is not on individualism. It’s on conformity, reliance, and obedience to authority.

              • You have my sense of the meaning correct. It pertains to emotional make-up.

  7. edgar lores says:

    1. These are sad days for Filipinos.

    2. Even from 5,800 kilometers away, and the seas in between, I can feel the shock of loss and dismay that Filipinos are feeling today with the loss of national sovereignty.

    3. Trolls play the Greek chorus to the Philippine tragedy. Of leaders giving away the national patrimony. China has come.

  8. “I set out to block and delete a lot of the trolls because they were citing nonsense and bogging down the discussion which was INTENDED to be about integrity. Not umbrellas or rain. Integrity.”


    as your former Chief Troll here (or was this title re-instated without me knowing?) the photo with caption was about umbrellas and rain, and how that somehow equates with “integrity”. You , IMHO, failed to make a case as to how that photo equals integrity.

    Another picture may have worked better, ie. her hugging a shabu addict, putting one of these fresh mainland Chinese immigrants in a headlock at customs, i dunno, but something that actually equals integrity.

    Or how about cutting thru the chase, skip photos, and actually talk of VP Robredo’s integrity, give examples. Preponderance of evidence blog, or say an Ode something popoy would pen. But integrity like perfect butt photos are hard to capture.

    Like a perfect ass, it can be faked like the Brazilian butt lift or JLo augmentations , or do a lot of squats, or stairmaster. My point, is yeah you can take a picture of it, but it’s just one of those intangibles you have to see, feel, touch, squeeze, caress , all 5 sensory experience.

    Otherwise you’re just whistling Dixie. I love to read a play by play of VP Robredo in action and how all her actions (and results) now translate to INTEGRITY.

    As Chief Troll (former or re-instated) , integrity is just one of those things you have to prove, not symbolically represent, otherwise you leave yourself open. Like when Elizabeth Warren presented her DNA “evidence”,

    unless you’re gonna roll out your grandma in full Cherokee regalia , she shouldn’t have had bothered addressing it at all. Like Jerry McGuire , SHOW US THE MONEY!!! This is how you shut trolls up.

    • I don’t mind that you didn’t get the point on integrity, as thousands did. Your creative choices are yours and I would be hard pressed to live up to your personal expectations as to how to draw up a tweet or blog article. So I will continue to do what has proved fairly meaningful in the past, words, word images, and images. I hope you follow up and put your walk behind your talk and read about Robredo’s integrity, because there is plenty of material for you to find. But I won’t be your gopher and I for sure know the futility of engaging in dialogue with trolls.

      • Joe,

        You have to be able to rattle off examples of integrity, if your candidate is to succeed. it’s campaigning 101. This is what happened to Mar Roxas, crickets so people equated him to Korina Sanchez, that’s all they know of him.

        Just a quick Wiki of VP Robredo, and shows she was thrusted to the lime light 2012 after her husband’s death. Where she ran for public office before that time she was merely a community lawyers/social activist.

        So if any examples of integrity are to be had, it would be from 2013 on, IMHO, current. then of course as VP under DU30.

        Tell stories of integrity, not just list of what she’s done, that’s more for results based narrative. Results play a crucial part too, but people (especially I’m sure Filipinos ) like stories w/ pictures the better.

        Now this is more edgar’s forte, but there are typologies and topologies of integrity.

        For example,

        “I cannot tell a lie” cherry tree type integrity is pretty much useless. Nice for elementary level.

        Then there’s end justify the means type integrity, have you seen “Miss Sloane”? results based. I like these stories.

        Then there’s the integrity that people want, the type that mirrors their daily sludge, which I think Ireneo is a fan of, re slippers, but I tend to be more skeptical of.

        a lot more fragile too, since essentially your deifying the person, one mistake and it all comes crashing.

        There’s all types is my point, i’m sure there are more, and hopefully before her run for presidency, you guys can have those stories down pat, don’t make the same mistake with Mar Roxas where Korina became the focus.

        Standing in the rain w/out an umbrella is not a story of integrity.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Lance Corporal X
          as Mr. Sloane
          He will stop at nothing.

        • edgar lores says:

          Me: “Do you see it now?”

          X: “No, I can’t see anything.”

          Me: “Here. Use my glasses.” (* removes and hands glasses )

          X (* puts on glasses): “OMG!”

          • LOL!

            but seriously, I’m just looking for examples of integrity of VP Robredo , ie. is she really as perfect as Joe thinks?

            More thoughts on integrity, typology/topology:

            1) there’s true north, man made, map needed.

            2) there’s magnetic north, natural where compasses point (from God?);

            3) and there’s north you can surmise, ie. by knowing which side moss grow, sunsets/sunrise, stars, etc. no need for compass

            4) then finally, there’s Google maps north and GPS, you can trust it but bots and hackers can screw with it.

            4 is your problem now, 2 is what you guys say VP Robredo has, I’m 3 I look on the ground for clues of north, but my 2nd go to is 1 map based.

            • I did not say she was perfect. Stop the trolling. She has integrity, is intelligent, knows the law, is gracious and well spoken, is widely respected, honest, a superb mother, and competent. She has the kind of character the Philippines needs much more of in top government positions.

              • I would add that I follow Philippine current events daily and engage in two main social media channels that share a lot of information and insights, plus the blog here where Will has done interviews and many comments are made. When you ask me to justify my conclusion, you are asking the impossible, because I cannot replicate my own track back through the facts of discovery. It is up to you to make up your own mind on VP Robredo and do such research as a diligent person would before deciding if this were someone you would vote for or not. Don’t ask me (or others) to carry your luggage. Carry it yourself.

              • As one thought leads to another . . . the troll’s talent is setting himself up as a moral authority. This is done through fallacious arguments to give appearance of intelligence, and through little tricks like diverting arguments, asking questions to push the onus of walking to the edge of the plank onto others, and demanding others always justify justify justify. It is endless. So, no. I’ve done my personal due diligence and made my conclusion and will not bow to the arrogant demands of a troll to do what he can easily do himself if he is half awake and half sentient.

              • “When you ask me to justify my conclusion, you are asking the impossible, because I cannot replicate my own track back through the facts of discovery.”

                My point isn’t research, Joe, my point is campaigning, isn’t campaigning sharing all your track backs, influencing others to your conclusion?

                Otherwise, you leave yourself open to others’ interpretations (p.s. I don’t have an opinion on VP Robredo yet– she may not run for president at all, not until 5 candidates line up for the spot, then it becomes a compare & contrast job, ie. the best man or woman for the job).

                One or two stories of integrity will suffice, but more will eventually be needed during campaign season.

              • I don’t campaign for people. I argue for more sense and civility in the Philippines and share my observations with those who find them in some way helpful. A wayward American who does not know the key players in the Philippines but persists in seeking my attention is of no priority at all.

            • chemrock says:

              Integrity to me is stickiness to some ethical or moral principles. A person who walks the talk. Who is true to those moral and ethical principles even when no one else is watching.

              Leni lives the advocacy of helping the very poor with many outreach programs to places where no politicians go. I suggest you do a google search “leni robredo in the slum images” and compare that to say “imee marcos in the slums images”. You see the stark difference. Here/s one example:

              You are right integrity is kinda difficult to portray in a photo. I think Joe did with what he felt best in that photo. It is not right to swing the discussion round into questioning Leni’s integrity. Proof of integrity is to be found in the little things that one observes. Here’s onbe example


              • “It is not right to swing the discussion round into questioning Leni’s integrity.”

                You’re right , chemp, if you notice I just did it on this thread. i agree with you. And yes, it’s all about the little things, but one must rattle them off on demand if one expects to campaign for such and such persons. Good example!

    • popoy says:

      My high school teacher teaches: “Money is the passport to all places except heaven. Money can buy everything except happiness.” And Popoy learned later in life money is a passport to an empowered arsehole. Money can buy cheap retard trolls.

      • popoy,

        This was St. Augustine’s balancing act in “City of God” (vs. City of Man). At the end of the day VP Robredo will not win without capital, both in money and narrative, if she’s to be President.

        Personally, I think she should be trying to upstage DU30 at every turn now. Maybe 2018 is too early. But she’ll eventually need to show some teeth, sly smiles will not do. You have to fight for the City of God was St. Augustine’s point,

        with blood & treasures.

        My point, money is important— all capital at your disposal.

  9. karlgarcia says:

    I read some comments on your fb page on another fb status defending the powernapping that “a presidents job is so demanding, what is your job and what have uou done for our country?”
    The excuse coming straight from the mouth is:
    “You in media know I don’t eat breakfast, what is wrong with my naps?”

    Regarding making the discussion about umbrellas: Here on TSH sorry for participating on LCX skepticism and cynicism, it backfired again, I decided not to reply further.

    • The problem with umbrellas and integrity was solely mine for not making it clear. Integrity was between my lines but almost no one read there. Certainly it was not clear on FB, although the post here at the blog was more explicit. The headline was “INTEGRITY WALKS BEFORE YOU, RAIN OR SHINE.”

      • popoy says:

        To me who considers himself still a trying hard wannabe integrious individual, Leni is already, doubtless an integrious person among thieves and cheats. When I first read the word power naps, I thought who in hell hole invented or started using those words. Power is never associated with physical or mental weakness or illness and must not be used as an adjective of the word naps or napping. Anyone caught napping is NAPPING, period. You’re napping man! Wake up man!

        Trolls REALLY don’t because they can’t SHARE in cyberspace. THEY CONTAMINATE.

    • chemrock says:

      The truth about that power nap.
      So that he can avoid rubbing shoulders with a bunch of higher intellects and get drawn into conversations for which he does’nt comprehend and has nothing to contribute.

  10. Naba Jelo says:

    If I remember it right, duterte tried to copy what the VP did for the sake of publicity stunt. But ended up getting sick the a few days later.

  11. popoy says:

    so sorry please delete the wrong link above, but not my bad, try this one

    a mere woman did not need an umbrella

  12. popoy says:

    Darn I give up, the song is You”ll Never Walk Alone, Helllppp NH.

  13. madlanglupa says:

    OT: After what amounted to the most demoralizing two days of kowtowing I ever saw this week, earlier tonight the Azkals tied up against the formidable Thais, 1-1, in a wonderful match.

  14. Micha says:

    A leader of communist China being greeted with protest by Bayan Muna – the visual is rich.

    Members of civil society groups should have joined that protest.

  15. eduardomaresca says:

    I apologize if my comment came across as a nonsense. With my joke about the “presidente na nakaupo sa palasyo at ang “Emperador” na lagi “nakatayo” (sa mesa) I was trying to make a point: alcohol, as well as other forms of distraction, controls the minds of Filipinos more than politicians do. What I was trying to convey is that distraction and instant gratification and an overall superficiality take the attention of most Filipinos away from more weighty matters. By indulging in alcohol, entertainment and other quick fixes many Filipinos are certainly not creating a mindset characterized by integrity and other core values that are the foundation of a mature society. By the way I am asking myself how to tell the difference, in the Tagalog language, between mere “faithfulness” and “integrity” or “loyalty”, as the only word I know to translate these 3 concepts is katapatan….Anyway sorry if my comment came across as a superficial one. It was not my intent

    • It did not, so no worries. I think you are right on point, with the challenge being how to get from A to B.

    • edgar lores says:

      The trope passed over my mind. I never made the connection to alcohol.

      About katapatan. Truthfulness is also katapatan.

      The root word “tapat” — apart from faithfulness, integrity, loyalty, and truthfulness — can mean honest, sincere, reliable, candid. It can also refer to position: in front of.

      The Philippines is a high-context culture and Tagalog is a high-context language. The use of one word — katapatan — depends on context, on what is being discussed. On what is the associated object.

      o Tapat sa asawa — faithfulness to spouse
      o Tapat sa kapwa — loyalty to others (also sincerity, honesty, reliability)
      o Tapat sa sarili — integrity to self
      o nasa tapat mo — it’s in front of you

      • eduardomaresca says:

        Thanks for the clarification

      • eduardomaresca says:

        the doubt about the word katapatan came to my mind because I was asking myself about how to say in one word (loyal or faithful) that a person is “faithfully abiding by the law” in the sense that he faithfully respects it as long as there is police around and one who is “loyal to it” in the sense that he does so out of integrity regardless of whether police is around or not and the only word available i Tagalog seems to be tapat. However, as you say, Tagalog depends on the context.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: