Military asked to investigate ‘anti-AFP’ memes
MANILA, Philippines — An investigation is being sought to track down an anonymous Facebook account that has been posting memes supposedly mocking the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
A letter reportedly from Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc of the AFP Public Affairs Office and requesting a formal investigation into the matter was recently leaked online. The letter, dated November 27, also asked that active military officers and personnel caught liking, sharing and commenting on Facebook posts created by Cassandra Pod and Choly Abila Cabanban be subjected to an investigation. Sources at Camp Aguinaldo have confirmed the authenticity of the letter.
Pod and Cabanban posted the memes, or text or images designed to go viral on social media, on Facebook.
Leaked Cabunoc correspondence
A certain Jose Gatsby posted a copy of the AFP letter at the “This is the true Anti-corruption page” Facebook page last December 10.
“How to use government resources to do your bidding when someone attacks you on Facebook: 1.) Build up a case and make it sound really bad 2.) Cite the rules and regulations so your people cannot comment or like. 3.) Mention the names of those who you want to be targeted. Send a letter to the AFP chief to let the [Intelligence Service AFP] investigate and build a case. 5.) Sit back and let events unfold,” Gatsby said in his Facebook post.
The letter from Cabunoc was addressed to AFP chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr.
According to the leaked copy, Catapang acknowledged receiving the letter last November 29.
“The memes circulating in the internet are purposely circulated as a public mockery to the [AFP chief and Chief PAO] and the AFP as an institution. Some of the messages are deceiving and intended to generate reactions from netizens,” part of the letter read.
The document said the AFP also wants to investigate whether Pod is an organic member of the AFP. If she is, legal sanctions may be pursued.
“In her posts, Cassandra Pod is also portraying herself as ‘defending the cause’ of ordinary soldiers by orchestrating noble projects such as Christmas Cards for Soldiers. However, she has also demonized the AFP, the organization where these soldiers belong, through her discriminating and humiliating memes. It is believed that she intentionally pursues these ‘pro-soldier’ projects to portray herself as a true friend of the soldiers and to gain ‘followers’ whom he/she can use to attack the AFP as an institution. It is believed that this person is either an active military personnel or a dependent,” the letter said.
Cabunoc recommended “a thorough investigation” to identify the officers who have liked, shared and commented the posts and be sanctioned with appropriate punishments.
“As active members of the organization, soldiers are duty-bound to follow military rules and regulations whether in person or in social media,” he wrote.
In recent months, Cabunoc has engaged in heated exchanges with some netizens on Twitter over Marc Sueselbeck, the fiancé of slain transgender Jennifer Laude.
Sueselbeck tried to enter the detention center of Joseph Scott Pemberton, the suspected killer of Laude, by climbing the fence of the highly guarded facility at Camp Aguinaldo.
Sought for reaction, Cabunoc declined to comment but instead said that an official statement would be released once the results of the investigation are out.
In Cabunoc’s office, notes supposedly intended for Pod were seen posted on a wall.
“I was so surprised why you hate me so much and you are using all your power and connections to destroy me and my family. I did my best to find you and ask for your forgiveness for whatever sins I committed to you but I failed,” Cabunoc said in a note titled, “Victory jump, Dr. Cassandra Pod!”
“I don’t know you and we have not met but you did everything so that I will notice you. You want me to feel so sorry about myself because I’m not good looking like you and your husband….I have already forgiven you both, doctor. The mighty Allah has his own ways of serving justice in his own design. Oh, please don’t forget the golden rule: Do not do unto others what you don’t want done unto you,” the note said.
In the note, Cabunoc also hinted that he would be relieved of his post.
“You have succeeded in getting rid of me here, Mr. and Ms. Beautiful couple, but you won’t succeed in derailing my pursuit to institute reforms in the Armed Forces. No matter what the obstacles are, I will always fight for what is right,” Cabunoc said.
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