October 10, 2012
In an interview published at today’s issue of SunStar Baguio, City Mayor Mauricio Domogan expressed support on the controversial Cybercrime Law as he claimed to have been a victim of cyber-bullying. The incumbent mayor raised concerns that the law can redress “acts of ridicule and malicious attacks” which could become rampant especially now that the election is months away.
This rhetoric by the incumbent mayor still planning to run for reelection next year seems to resound that of Senator Tito Sotto who also claimed to be a victim of Cyber-bullying after anomalies of plagiarism plagued him last month. It is as if these public officials are so divested of power that they are easily maimed by remarks made against them in the internet. They are in fact reversing the situation by making themselves look like the victim of discourses which they control and where they actually dominate. As the internet becomes a viable and widely-used tool to participate in the discourses in the community, a participation that is already stifled in other avenues through bureaucratic measures such as the No-Permit No-Rally policy and the constant breaching of the people’s right to peaceful assembly, opinions of the people with regard to their community and their public officials are conveniently aired online. The Cybercrime Law masks the potential of quelling even this propagation of critical discourses in the internet. Also, we can see this as public officials’ tactic in protecting their “reputation” which is often rightfully subjected to criticisms what with their anti-people policies and attitude towards governance. With the objective of protecting their presently beneficial positions, these public officials mistake valid criticisms with so-called “malicious attacks.”
As early as now, Domogan seems to be prematurely defensive in assuming the role of the helpless sheep in the face of ferocious attackers which can be expected as the mid-year elections approach and as he continues to fall short in addressing key issues in the city such as the waste problem, the privatization of Baguio General Hospital and Baguio Convention Center among others and the cutting of trees in SM Baguio. Supporting the Cybercrime Law is only logical for a public official continually threatened by a growing unpopularity and criticism that is increasingly launched online. With his aspirations for reelections next year, we can see that this stance towards the controversial law is nothing but driven by his self-interests and not his true concern to the needs and interests of the people.
Ivan Emil Labayne, Chair