'Sana mamatay ka': Netizens harass wrong woman in taxi row
MANILA, Philippines – In a classic case of mistaken identity, Christine Joy Icamen-Interior was at the receiving end of online harassment by netizens after being mistaken for the woman caught slapping a taxi driver over a traffic altercation.
In an interview with Rappler, Christine said the harassment started on Monday morning, December 18, a few hours after the video of the incident in Congressional Avenue in Quezon City went viral. The video on Facebook that has racked up 10 million views and 228,800 shares has since been taken down.
As of posting, Christine estimated that she had already received over a hundred messages from strangers. The messages ranged from innocent inquiries about her identity to vitriol-fueled messages peppered with curses and death threats.
"Mamatay ka sana. Kawawa 'yung matanda. 'Pag ikaw nakasalubong [ko], papatayin talaga kitang h*yop ka," read one of the messages. (I hope you die. I pity the old man. If I bump into you, I will really kill you, you animal.)
As far as she knows, Christine said she is not related to Cherish Interior, the controversial woman who was caught slapping a taxi driver. The victim of mistaken identity said that her photos had also been posted on a Facebook page about Cherish, alongside other screenshots of Facebook users bearing the same last name.
"This issue has greatly affected me, my work and my entire family, especially now that I have been receiving a lot of rude and offensive messages and death threats from different people," Christine said.
She also urged those behind the malicious Facebook pages to exercise responsibility on social media.
"Stop using my name, my pictures and my identity. Spare my family, we are not what you think we are. Please give us the peace we deserve, and please think before you click," she added.
Online threats, just like the one experienced by Christine, were among the top 4 cybercrime complaints in 2016. Based on the data from Philippine National Police-Anti-Cybercrime Group (PNP-ACG), the other top cybercrime complaints include online libel, online scam, identity theft, and anti-photo and video voyeurism.
The taxi driver, Virgilio Doctor, 52, went to LTFRB on Monday, December 18, to file a case against Cherish Interior for physical injuries and damage to property.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said on Wednesday, December 20, the woman motorist may lose her driver’s license.
"We will let the LTO (Land Transportation Office) decide if [it's a] suspension or cancellation," LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada told reporters in a text message. – Rappler.com