These issues made headlines in 2018… and netizens were 'shookt'
MANILA, Philippines – If there was one word to describe Filipinos on social media in 2018, it was "woke."
While the spread of disinformation remained the toughest issue netizens had to deal with on social media, they were not spared other major social and political issues in 2018.
Filipino netizens made sure that there was no time to sit back and relax. Instead, they took to social media to air their sentiments and views on these issues.
From defending press freedom to the issue of bullying, Rappler lists down 2018's most talked about issues on Philippine social media.
Revocation of Rappler’s license
It was a tough 2018 for Rappler, as the news organization started the year with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoking its license to operate for allegedly violating the Constitution through the issuance of Philippine Depositary Receipts to Omidyar Network.
The SEC's kill order is the first of its kind in history – both for the Commission and for the Philippine media. The news organization, however, maintains it is a clear form of harassment. (READ: Stand with Rappler, defend press freedom)
For netizens, the move was a blatant effort to silence the press for its critical and fearless reporting. (READ: 'Rappler now, who's next?' – netizens)
"Rappler now. Who's next? Everyone is not safe unless you play along, but what happens to democracy if and when everyone plays along to whoever is in the administration?" Twitter user @_LittleRedShoe said in a post.
Bloggers, school organizations, press groups, and journalism youth groups also rallied behind Rappler, posting statements of solidarity with the company. Journalists' organizations, as well as lawmakers, also issued statements of support for Rappler, all condemning the SEC decision as an attack on press freedom.
Rappler filed a partial motion for reconsideration with the Court of Appeals asking it to annul the SEC decision.
Aside from license revocation, Rappler also faces tax cases before the Court of Tax Appeals and a Pasig court. (READ: Maria Ressa, Rappler Holdings charged in court for alleged tax evasion)
The Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) drew criticism for a string of mistakes on its articles in 2018. Not once, not twice, but thrice.
Netizens spotted an error in a post on the PCOO's official Facebook page about outgoing Norwegian Ambassador to the Philippines Erik Forner, who paid President Rodrigo Duterte a farewell call in Malacañang. In its caption, Forner was dubbed "the representative of Norwegia."
Forner's nation, however, is known the world over as Norway.
The original post was edited, but netizens continued to flood its comments thread with indignation.
A day later, the PCOO drew flak yet again for using the wrong name for the late National Security Adviser Jose Roilo Golez in its media releases. In a tweet, PCOO referred to the late National Security Adviser and former Parañaque congressman Roilo Golez as "Rogelio." Golez's first name, however, is not Rogelio but Jose Roilo.
In its third mistake, it was the name of a senator – Sherwin Gatchalian – the agency got wrong.
A PCOO article published on June 13 marked the ceremonial signing of an agreement between the Commission on Higher Education and state universities, colleges, and local universities for the implementation of Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act. The signing was witnessed by President Rodrigo Duterte and other public officials.
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian pointed out the mistake himself.
Mocha Uson's federalism video
Mocha Uson also found herself in hot water over a video on federalism. (READ: Why don't you just say sorry, Mocha?)
"Have the decency to apologize," wrote one netizen, tagging @MochaUson on Twitter. "Then again, maybe that's wishful thinking?"
Netizens raged online over a video of then Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and blogger Drew Olivar, which featured them explaining federalism in a song-and-dance number.
Olivar danced with his hands on his chest and crotch area while chanting, "I-pepe, i-pepe, i-dede, i-dede... ipederalismo!" The words "pepe" and "dede" are colloquial terms for vagina and breasts, respectively.
Just last year, Uson also made headlines for spreading disinformation online. (READ: Mocha Uson: Fake news victim or fake news peddler?)
After a year and 5 months of government work marred by controversy, Uson resigned.
This came after lawmakers, citizens' groups, and Uson's own colleagues at the PCOO called on her to step down or for Duterte to fire her.
After resignation, she filed her certificate of nomination and certificate of acceptance of nomination (CONA) to run for AA-Kasosyo party-list representative.
The return of Gloria Arroyo
It might just be the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2018's biggest plot twist, netizens said.
Now, few of the people who watched the pre-SONA drama in the House of Representatives on July 23 might have likened the plot twist to Game of Thrones, where the fate of most characters are unpredictable and ever-changing.
In true Game of Thrones fashion, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Pampanga 2nd District Representative, was supposed to have become the new House Speaker following a "vote" in the House of Representatives. Her "election" was less than an hour before the 4 pm SONA was to have unseated Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.
As expected, netizens were shocked by the turn of events, as well as the sight of Arroyo – last thrust into the limelight when she was acquitted of plunder and freed from nearly 4 years of detention – standing on the House rostrum, waving to fellow lawmakers, and taking what appeared to be her oath as the new Speaker.
Many compared Arroyo's seeming political comeback to the popular Game of Thrones character, Queen Cersei, who also had a love-hate relationship with power.
PNP’s ‘double standard’ towards Imelda Marcos
Social media momentarily erupted with celebration when news came out that the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan convicted Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos of 7 counts of graft. (READ: DOCUMENT: Full decision convicting Imelda Marcos over illegal Swiss foundations)
The celebration, however, was short-lived as people began to ask whether she would go to jail or not?
The stark contrast between how PNP was handling the former first lady's case and other recent controversial arrest cases did not escape the attention of many Filipino netizens. (READ: Netizens angered by PNP double standard towards Imelda Marcos)
The Philippine National Police (PNP) primarily cited Imelda Marcos’ old age when asked why they did not send an advance team to standby for a court order for her arrest. (READ: No cuffs for Imelda Marcos if arrested – PNP)
If health and age are factors for cops when they conduct their arrest, netizens asked: What about the old man detained after stealing a bar of chocolate?
Sereno ouster, De Castro's appointment
People were not pleased with President Duterte's appointment of Teresita de Castro as Supreme Court Chief Justice, replacing the ousted Maria Lourdes Sereno. (READ: 'Ayawan na': Netizens dismayed by De Castro's appointment as Chief Justice)
This came as no surprise, as De Castro has already been lambasted earlier as "rude" and "egoistic" by netizens for her heated exchange with Sereno during the oral arguments on the quo warranto petition for Sereno's ouster.
De Castro served as Chief Justice from August 2018 until her retirement on October 8.
President Duterte appointed Lucas Bersamin as the new Chief Justice.
Ateneo bullying incident
Netizens took to social media to demand accountability from Ateneo de Manila University over the video of a bullying incident that went viral on December 20.
The hashtag #NeverTolerateBullying trended on Twitter as netizens called on the academic institution to act swiftly and decisively over the serious incidents of bullying which Ateneo de Manila Junior High School (AJHS) initially described as a “fighting video.”
After calls for action, Ateneo dismissed the high school student who was caught bullying.
Which of these issues got you ‘shookt’ the most? Sound off in the comments! – Rappler.com