Youth leaders harassed online after seeking Mocha Uson’s dismissal

MANILA, Philippines – Members of Akbayan Youth have received threats in their Facebook page after they asked the Office of the Ombudsman to dismiss Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson from office.

The student leaders disclosed this in a statement on Saturday, April 7, 5 days after they filed the complaint against Uson.

Nathan Austria from Akbayan Youth-University of Santo Tomas said the abusive online comments started earlier this week.

“After suing Mocha Uson, we have received comments and messages online from people who want us hurt, raped or killed,” said Austria. 

“Some people angered with our case against Mocha have told us to kill ourselves. Since Monday, supporters of Mocha wished that we get raped or gunned down on the streets,” he added.

Akbayan Youth included screenshots of the hate comments in their media statement. 

A certain Mark C. Tolentino wanted the student leaders to get raped or killed. 

Dapat kayo ang nirerape at pinapatay ng mga riding in tandem (You should be the ones being raped or killed by those riding in tandem),” commented Tolentino.

Screenshot from Akbayan Youth

Another comment from user Nelzkie C. Serrot goes: “Pakamatay na lang kayo. May silbi pa kayo (Just kill yourselves. You’ll serve a purpose then)."

Austria said it is “possible” the commenters belong to the online army supporting President Rodrigo Duterte, whose rise to power also saw an increase in online trolls who swarm critics of his administration. (READ: State-sponsored hate: The rise of the pro-Duterte bloggers)

Uson herself is known to incite anger among Duterte’s online supporters, whom she calls as “ka-DDS (fellow Duterte Diehard Supporters)” whenever the President’s decision or policy is opposed by someone. 

She has also been caught spreading false information online. (READ: Mocha Uson: Fake news victim or fake news peddler?)

“It’s possible that these are the army of online trolls supportive of the Duterte dictatorship. If that’s true, it’s cruel that our taxes go to people who threaten our lives,” Austria said. 

“We are just students who want government disinformation and lies to stop. Why are we getting punished for wanting our public officials to be held accountable?” he added.

Austria said Akbayan Youth, however, is not intimidated by the trolls. The student leaders are seeking legal advice on dealing with the online bullying on their page.

“We are not backing down. No threats will intimidate us. The case against Mocha and the campaign against all lying public officials will continue,” he said. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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