Petitioner to Mocha Uson: Use influence responsibly
Don’t distort facts.
The petitioner who sought to take down the Facebook page of Mocha Uson has this to say to the entertainer-turned-blogger after he initiated an online petition via change.org.
“She has all the freedom to write her opinion and share it to the media. But to write things to distort facts or to condition the mind of the public? It is no longer, I believe, protected by the freedom of expression,” Paul Quilet told INQUIRER.net in an e-mail interview.
As of posting time, the petition has gathered 33,175 signatures.
In an ironic twist of events, Quilet’s Facebook account was reported to the social networking site on October 24. But he said it has already been reactivated.
“Yes, after a day of being suspended, it was restored automatically,” he said.
“There are online blogs claiming that Facebook opted to suspend my account because of the petition. I would like to clear that my account was suspended because someone reported me on Facebook, apparently a basher, citing that I have allegedly shared indecent photos. Both claims, unfortunately, are far from the truth,” he added.
In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Uson described the move to take down her Facebook page as “hypocrisy at its finest.”
“Shocked kasi sino ka para pa-shut down ’yung Facebook ko? Galit kayo sa dictatorship pero ’yung nag-petition and ’yung mga nag-sign ng petition na ’yun, you’re acting like dictators. Sabi nga, hypocrisy at its finest,” she said.
(Shocked, because who are you to have my Facebook page shut down? You are mad at dictatorship, but the petitioner and those who have signed it, you’re acting like dictators. As they say, hypocrisy at its finest.)
But Uson said the petition to take down his Facebook Page turned out good for her.
“I would like to thank them for making the Mocha Uson Blog more popular. Since the petition, mas dumami po ’yung ‘likes’ kaya (it gained more ‘likes’, so) thank you for this,” she said.
Asked why he initiated the petition, Quilet said he was already frustrated with the fake news that was being proliferated on social media.
“I filed the petition mainly because of my frustration with how fake news proliferate in different social media sites/platforms and how these bloggers/social media users, like Mocha Uson, use their sites to cultivate the culture of misinformation,” he said.
While Uson’s Facebook page has more than four million followers, some have criticized her for sharing false information from fake news sites.
Quilet said taking down Uson’s page was not meant to “completely silence her.”
“I don’t think shutting down her Facebook page will completely silence her. She’s a celebrity. She has a number of connections and Facebook is not the only venue [wherein] one can exercise free speech. It may disconnect her to her target audience and millions of followers but not totally depriving her of her right to freely express,” he said.
“The freedom of speech, although placed on an exalted position in our society, can never cure false and misleading information,” he added.
Since he initiated the petition, Quilet said he has received online threats and bashing from the public.
“A lot of them: hate messages, ad hominems, a little bit of death threats,” he said.
But he said he has learned to ignore them.
“I ignore them. Especially those that are outright illogical. But if you can’t ignore them, laugh it off. I usually inject sarcasm in my replies,” he said.
“But others do raise some good issues to debate on. Issues like the petition’s effect on the right to free speech and the limitation of our fundamental rights,” he added.
Despite his move to suspend the Facebook page of Uson who is a staunch supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, Quilet said he is not anti-Duterte.
“If being critical on issues of national importance is anti-Duterte, by all means, call me one. If giving commentaries on issues that are socio-political in nature is anti-Duterte, then label me as one. I may not have a sweet spot for our president and I may not share posts that will put him in a positive light but that does not mean I want him to fail,” he said.
“Criticizing someone does not make you hate them and that is a fact of life we Filipinos should start to accept,” he added.
Asked if he had any message to Uson, Quilet urged her to use her influence responsibly.
“You are in the position where you influence a lot of people. No matter what your goals or motives are, use this power wisely and responsibly,” he said.
Amid debates that suspending Uson’s page was against freedom of expression, Quilet said “rights are not absolute.”
“To the public, I know I have said it before but please allow me to say it again: rights are not absolute. A long list of Supreme Court decisions held that, time and again,” he said.
“In paraphrasing Uncle Ben in Spiderman, with rights come with responsibilities. There is that thin line between the two. You cannot exercise one without the other,” he added. CDG
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