THE thing about exercising a political right, if it comes from the heart, is that you pour your inner soul into it, and your words become pure, even if these may include curses, epithets and cuss words.
In contrast, a paid troll whose politics stems from a contract, whether it is as a social media conscript as a keyboard warrior working on a per-post basis, or as a regularly paid staff member of a politician, like a senator or even a Vice President, will always appear indecent even without cursing. Their words will reveal the lost cause they are paid to bear.
This is precisely why the main weapon of Robredo trolls populating the Internet is to accuse people like Mocha Uson, Sass Rogando Sasot, RJ Nieto also known as Thinking Pinoy, Trixie Angeles, Rocky Gonzales, Krizette Laureta Chu, Lorraine Badoy, Vince Rivera, MJ Quiambao Reyes and all the others who they perceive as defending the President and are critical of Leni Robredo as paid or “bayaran.” The Robredo trolls know it is demeaning because it is who they are, and they are ashamed of it, that is why they take refuge in names such as Superficial Gazette, Madam Claudia and Silent No More.
I have been accorded the honor of being included in their distinguished list of political warriors.
We are called “bayaran” but we are not the ones hiding our faces only to inflict the worst of insults on our enemies. We take responsibility for our words. We are lawyers, doctors, graduate students and writers. We are graduates of respectable schools. Our boldness to be more revealing in some of our social media profiles is evidence that we are confident not only about our minds but also our physicality.
We are fiercely independent that we do not agree on everything. Our politics is one of commitment, and not as an income-generating activity, or a mere day job. We engage our followers not with canned responses and memes, but with our own words that we prepare and craft every day as authentic expressions of what we believe in.
And ranged against us are the Robredo trolls unleashed by that command from her office, which was revealed in #LeniLeaks and has effectively damned her. One columnist in the diaspora, appearing to be erudite, claimed that there is no “Leni” there, considering that the unsecured conversations were made only about her, and she took no active part in the discussions.
That is the problem with Leni Robredo. Her apologists paint her as a helpless, clueless beneficiary of political plots. She has to rely on her paid social media operators to save her failing image. This is the same Leni that is unaware that others were moving to commit a massive electoral fraud on her behalf. Pieces of evidence of this fraud have been revealed, from the mathematical disparities of an anomalous straight line, to the existence of an illegal fourth server, and now to the suspicious presence of data in the SD cards of unused VCMs.
But what do you expect from someone whose life as first lady of Naga City was one of detachment that she had to rely on a Girl Friday to do her bidding. When Typhoon Nina struck, in her absence she yielded her voice to Georgina Hernandez.
And now, she once again relies on others to fight her dirty war. Her office instructed her paid trolls, whose anonymous sites appear to be well-funded, to declare open war on all of us her critics. We are being called the worst of names.
The thing is, instead of fighting her cause these anonymous keyboard warriors further damage her. They spill enough vitriol to infect some students, faculty and graduates of UP, Ateneo and La Salle and turn them into trolls too, when they behave in exactly the same way they paint the Duterte masses—allegedly uncouth and uneducated. I have seen many of my decent colleagues and former students behave in trollish ways, forgetting their moral compasses, and using words unfit for the kind of day jobs they have—as teachers of minds, animators of development and as decent citizens of this Republic.
Sometimes, I pity Leni Robredo. I wonder whether she realizes that she is sinking fast in the quicksand that her clueless politics has thrown her into.
One who is politically astute will be more discerning not to piss off cyber-activists who are so committed to their politics, courageous enough not to hide their identities and are so articulate that words pour naturally from their minds into their keyboards
One who is ready to become President would not unleash a paid army of trolls who are only too willing to fight her battles from a position of anonymity using memes that do not even spell “wannabe” correctly, and whose best argument is to assault us with the trite allegation that we are paid operators and Marcos loyalists.