THE downside to social media is that it can make many netizens act as judge and executioner of the object of their real or imagined scorn without even having to be near the “guilty” who is about to bid this world goodbye as he lays his head down on the chopping block.
In the Philippines, one of the latest victims of these cyber creatures gone berserk or bigoted with their opinion on what should or should not be is popular actress Angel Locsin.
Young, luminously beautiful, somewhat shy in person, but quite accomplished in her movie and television career, Locsin, apparently unknown to many, has another side to her character—her compassion.
Ironically, these very same qualities are what bashers in the virtual universe are exploiting to malign her, apparently for no other reason than to add color to their miserable lives spent before the keyboard.
And, evidently, they are at it out of envy (the bad kind) because Locsin elicits admiration just by passing between rows of football fans, the way she did in a game that featured the national team Philippine Azkals at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium in Manila a year or two ago that The Manila Times covered.
Also, according to a Philippine Red Cross insider, Locsin keeps to herself as she attends to chores (repacking rice, folding clothes, counting bottles of distilled water for typhoon or earthquake victims, among other tasks that she is told to do by Red Cross senior staff) as a long-time volunteer for the humanitarian agency.
But those who bully the actress online apparently became livid with jealousy when Locsin’s pictures were posted all over during and after her visit last week to evacuation centers in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte. Iligan is a neighbor of Marawi City in Lanao del Sur which the terrorist Maute Group attacked on May 23, forcing thousands of civilians to flee to Lanao del Norte.
But since temporary shelters cannot be put up in Marawi for security reasons, Locsin had to go to Iligan, a journey that provoked bloggers and other detractors to come out of the woodwork and accuse her of being a media hound out for publicity, not philanthropy.
A true-blue working journalist or photographer, Locsin fan or not, will try to interview or take pictures of her because she is good copy, and not just that she is an A-1 celebrity but also because she belongs to a rare breed that puts others before self. The bashers, ensconced in the safety and comfort of their homes, can only imagine the dangers that anyone other than Locsin faces in Iligan even if the city is relatively safe from the Maute gang of terrorists.
It must have taken the actress-volunteer a long time to convince her parents to let her go to Lanao del Norte, as it must have probably taken her even longer to decide that she just had to do it.
Meanwhile, her critics hiding behind hashtags or whatever must be thinking of whether to go to this bar for a drink, or to this mall for the Hermes bag of their dreams, just as Locsin is handing out instant noodles and canned sardines to a Maranao family in Iligan.
It is pathetic that these bashers still do not get it that when the likes of Locsin lay their safety, if not their lives, on the line, we should be envious of their steely resolve to help their fellow Filipinos make it through another day.
For the information of these bloggers who have nothing better to do than trash-talk, Locsin was not even promoting a movie or a TV series. Before the cyber noise over her visit to Iligan, she was reportedly being offered to do Darna one more time, an iconic role in Filipino movies that many newbies covet.
Locsin should have said yes, so she can zap the daylights out of her bashers.
On second thought, maybe she refused because there are sacks of rice to be repacked and instant noodles to be distributed.
Those who have never even seen life in an evacuation center, eat your hearts out, but don’t choke on it.
For details, get in touch with Angel via Instagram, Twitter, whatever.