Protest culture vs troll discourse



When otherwise intelligent individuals become trolls, putting down the protests that have been happening from Luneta to the People Power Monument, Manila to Quezon City, and across the county, I tell anyone who asks me about these put-downs: well, we must be doing something right, yeah?

Because imagine the amount of time these people waste. They have to look for photos that will prove what they want to say about a rally they did not attend. They cull from the hundreds of photos of the rally, the ones that will prove what they want to say: these kids know not what they’re doing, Mocha apologizes. Duterte devotees are suddenly dependent on mainstream media which they’ve lambasted all this time, using it as source for who was at the rally, and what happened there.

Imagine the identity crisis these trolls go through: shifting from being pro-Duterte to being pro-Marcos and back, wondering how exactly those who are pro-Duterte could be anti-Duterte-alliance-with-the-Marcoses, and just unable to grapple with the fact that the discourse of pro- and anti- does not capture at all what is a more complex task of learning and engagement, within and outside these protests

Don’t say bad words
They are offended by the words used by protesters.

The chant “Hukayin!” which was something that I first heard on November 18 at that spontaneous rally at EDSA, has been assessed as disrespectful and un-Christian. For how dare anyone demand that the dead be exhumed, transferred from the Heroes’ Cemetery and back to Ilocos Norte! they say in utter disgust.

A placard that says “F*ck you Marcos” has gotten the same ire. Trolls ask: Is this what being educated looks like? Is this what it means?

Many placards in fact curse at the Marcoses, some more respectful than others: “F*ck you po Marcos!” says one sign. And for a more contemporary Tagalized version: “Pakyu po.”

None of these offend me.

I never had an issue with President Duterte peppering his sentences with multiple ‘tang*nas, expression as that is – we are told by the Palace itself – of frustration and anger. I do not take issue with the youth expressing their dismay and disgust with a whole gamut of bad words either.

And really, when you have a President who goes to town with the rhetoric of “Kill!” and “Patayin!” how harmless can “Hukayin!” be?

Don’t get angry
There are circumstances and issues that call for this kind of engagement, the funny and irreverent, if not the hurtful, the kind that is offensive for good reason: we are enraged by the obvious machinations of the Marcoses to get back into power. We are angry that there is a President Duterte, Marcos loyalist, who has enabled this return.

The collective anger surprised even me, used as I am to seeing only the militant Left at protest actions. This is what is heartwarming about the protests thus far: it is the youth and millennials, generation X and Martial Law babies, and even senior citizens, coming out to unite on the issue of the Marcos burial at the LMNB.

Contrary to what the anti-protest, Duterte devotee-trolls think, it has evolved – clearly because of #BlockMarcos and the November 25 rally in Luneta with CARMMA – both of which declared in no uncertain terms that we are protesting, not just against the Marcos burial, but also against President Duterte’s alliance with the Marcoses, full stop.

This means that while we continue to discuss Martial Law history, that we also look at the ways in which the Marcos regime had set the stage for this return of the dictator’s family into power. This means that even as we protest the burial of the dictator at the Heroes’ Cemetery, and we discuss the vestiges of the Marcos regime in our current politics, that we keep an eye out for those who are out to take advantage of our anger, and seek to distract from the tasks at hand.

I say it again: this is a time of rage and unity and protest. It is also a time of learning and engagement like no other, and that can only be a good thing.

In the process, we might poke fun at Imee’s chin and face, Sandro’s expenses, Bongbong’s dream of the presidency. But all that is fair game given the Marcos progeny’s continued denials about ill-gotten wealth, corruption and plunder, not to mention human rights violations and killings during their father’s regime.

Don’t be blind
Between Mocha’s fake photographs of piled up trash, which by the way, is not even on EDSA or White Plains Drive, and the insistence that the people cheered when Leila de Lima arrived at the rally – one also realizes that Dutertrolls should get an award from Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella for best in creative imagination.

For really: I was right there when De Lima joined the crowd – it was during the speech of ex-NHCP Chairperson Serena Diokno. My friends and I stood on the sidewalk on the side of Camp Aguinaldo, and we gave each other looks, wondering why she was there at all. No one cheered for her, and no large crowd gathered around her. In fact, people were more interested in the caricatures of Duterte-Marcoses that was in front of us, than they were in De Lima.

And yes, Mar Roxas was there, too: but one can only be glad that neither he nor De Lima were given time on that stage. That tells me that whoever was in charge of the program could sense that a blatant Liberal Party agenda might not be welcome, if not completely turn off the crowd.

See, we are actually thinking about what we’re doing here – organizers and protesters alike. Not sure I can say the same for trolls.


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  1. My method for identifying trolls may be simplistic, but I’ve found it to be reliable. It goes: If a person acts like his idol and his supporters can do now wrong, and the opposition can do no right, that’s a troll right there. They twist logic so that even the most heinous action of their idol is justified, indeed, is even the work of a genius. They again use bizarre spurious reasoniing to condemn even the most beneveolent act from a rival.
    I am grateful for Duterte’s reforms, yet I disapprove of many other things, neither of which I’d rather not go into lest it provoke emotional outbusrts. Likewise, I admired Leni’s sincerity, and acknowlege her cutting the red tape in housing, yet I am leery that she may owe her LP sponsors too much. Can we not do both? Lay credit and condemnation where it is due based on the actions, and not the person who did it.

  2. I simply cannot understand this extreme fear of the marcoses. Yes, martial law was a dark era in our country’s history. Yes, seek justice for victims of martial rule.

    But how exactly did pres duterte allow the marcoses to return to power? The former first lady and daughter imee are both elected officials, BBM was elected senator. It isn’t as if duterte appointed them. So, just because the president allowed the burial of ferdinand marcos at the LNMB, they’re back in power? What if BBM decides to run for pres in 2022, and he gets elected, what then? We are after all a free country, and just about any tom, dick and harry can run.

    For all your impressive educational credentials, you allow yourself to be riled by mocha uson? I would like to believe that whatever she posts , whether fake or not, people have more sense to judge by themselves.

  3. These dutertrolls did not make noises when you tried to stop the burial by going to the supreme court which stopped it for several months. You sent all your best lawyers to argue your case. Then you lost! So what are you doing? Marcos was buried as soldier and ex-president and Not as hero. So where’s your case? Did you check all who were buried there to see if all of them are heroes?

  4. Its over tapos na ang election si de lima matagal na namamaho yan. The sheer incompetence of the Previous administration made the people angry. We will voice our convern again next election, you’ll see there will be no more lp nore an ally of the yellow and reds will occupy another seat in the national scene.
    The more that you act as if you guys are the moral guardians of the country further reaveal why marcos declared martial law.
    Even I once taught that marcos was evil because he declared martial law. I think he did the right thing, now with this kind of attitude, and people impeding the progress. The Marcos regime was correct on abolishing congress and declaring martial law.

  5. bakit ayaw nyo sumulong ang Pilipinas? di ba kayo naawa sa mga tao. Pag punta mo pa lang sa Maynila sa Quiapo o sa Lawton ang daming natutulog at nakatambay na mahihirap.
    Pabayanan nyo na dumiskarte ang inihalal ng tao. Nung panahon na taga ateneo ang naka upo nanahimik ang mga tao kasi nanalo sya.Fair and Square Malas lang kasi maski bobo nanalo.
    Ngayon eto katakotakot na trabaho ginagawa ng Presidente di nyo supurtahan.

  6. “But all that is fair game given the Marcos progeny’s continued denials about ill-gotten wealth, corruption and plunder, not to mention human rights violations and killings during their father’s regime.”

    Can you mention a proof of these accusation, as journalist as you are? or you are one of too many people always says general term. ask enrile, baka mapahiya ka pag sinabi mo yan sa harap nya.

  7. The Yellowturds are truly incurable and bat-blind creatures who are overly obese with gorging on a blatantly distorted version of history. This is what 30 years of Yellow propaganda has inflicted specially on the young. Pity.

  8. Just on the outside chance that you yellow undertakers will succeed in your “hukayin” dreams, who will benefit? The cleric-fascist Mrs. Robredo, thats who. Now you know why its the Jesuits and the Makati Business Club who are leading the charge. By the way, the LP(Lapiang Palpak) is just a sunset of the yellow tribe, get it?

    • The Filipino people, including the trolls, will benefit. Future historians will be proud that the millenials of this period who stood up against paid hacks and a wannabe-dictator.

  9. Jaime Dela Cruz on

    In the US, when a black person commits theft, he is a criminal and should go to jail. When a white American goes to a school and shoot kids, he is deemed mentally disturb and should be go to therapy. This is pretty much what Katrina Stuart Santiago is saying. Anyone who does not agree with their call for “hukayin” is a troll and anyone who calls for “hukayin” and “oust Duterte” is a protester. Is it the cause that makes a troll and protester or is it the money paid to both parties. Are the ones paid cheaply to say something in the internet are called trolls, and the more organized and handsomely paid commenters called are protesters?
    “And yes, Mar Roxas was there, too: but one can only be glad that neither he nor De Lima were given time on that stage. That tells me that whoever was in charge of the program could sense that a blatant Liberal Party agenda might not be welcome, if not completely turn off the crowd.”

    Really? No Liberal party agenda? Roxas and DeLima need not say anything in that rally to send their political message. All they need to do is show up and we all know what is meant. Perhaps it is you, Katrina who is naive to believe that you are convincing the country of a pretentious and noble cause of the protest. I suggest you read about the works and writing style of Lourdes “Chit” Estella Simbulan, you might still have a chance to become a real unbiased writer.

    • That’s the problem with those “elite” with “superiority complex”, it’s ok even if they say bad words/curses but are so sensitive when they are called names which I believe they truly deserve. They are used to being at the top ruling and looking down on the ordinary citizens which compose the majority. They are hypocrite and conceited, believing that they are always right, the upright, the straight, a gift for the country, the “well-educated”, the decent.