ANTI-DUTERTE BLOGGER SMOKED OUT
Now it can be told: Despite the male icon on the Pinoy Ako Blog (PAB) page, Mr. Pinoy is actually a woman.
Jover Laurio, whose anonymous blog critical of the administration has reached nearly four million hits last month, revealed her identity on Friday after allegedly being harassed and threatened by online supporters of President Duterte.
Despite being forced to out herself, the 36-year-old professional who is taking up law, said her blog would continue.
“They were able to force me to reveal my identity but they cannot stop me from blogging. I know I am in the right. They cannot do anything to me as a person and a blogger. They can’t stop me from expressing my freedom of speech,” Laurio said in a phone interview.
Laurio’s coming out as PAB disproved previous claims by pro-Duterte social media warriors, particularly Thinking Pinoy’s RJ Nieto and Sass Sasot, that one Cocoy Dayao was behind the blog.
Laurio said that Dayao was her blog’s web administrator until recently, but that her PA Bposts were her own. She added that she chose “Mr. Pinoy” as her icon and byline for no special reason.
The pro-Duterte groups’ witch-hunt of the people behind anonymous anti-administration sites was triggered by the “Seven Deadly Sens” post on a Facebook page called “Silent No More,” which called out seven senators for not signing a Senate resolution demanding a stop to the killing of minors in the government’s war against illegal drugs.
The seven senators—Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Vicente Sotto III, Manny Pacquiao, Cynthia Villar, Gregorio Honasan II, Juan Miguel Zubiri and Richard Gordon—protested the memes that resulted from the original Silent No More post, and convened a Senate hearing last week on the prevalence of fake news on social media.
Laurio said the pro-Duterte groups managed to eventually connect her to Dayao. Several vlogs (video blogs) recently posted by Nieto discussed PAB and Laurio.
After being named in Nieto’s vlogs, which are available on YouTube, Laurio said she has seen posts and comments that she believes have maligned her person and character.
She will file civil and criminal cases against those who have harassed her, Laurio said, adding that former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay has offered to be her lawyer.
She had to file a leave of absence from work because of threats and hate messages directed at her personal account on Twitter and Facebook, Laurio said. “I have filed a leave of absence from school, too,” she added.
In one of her latest PAB posts, she wrote: “These people are trying to destroy my life by exposing my picture, my real name and my school. (Every day) the attacks are escalating.” Her mother, she added, has started getting affected by the slurs directed her way, but had told her to “keep fighting.”
“I know I’m doing nothing wrong. I am an ordinary person. But I write in these times when there is a need to stand up to people, to debunk fake news,” Laurio said.
PAB, which has over 90,000 followers to date, often has screenshots of quotes, photographs and news items to prove as fake news some of the social media posts of Duterte supporters, notably Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.
Sarcastic and funny
Laurio said she launched PAB in February 2017, as a reaction to the constant suspension of her Facebook page which was targeted by a group of netizens calling themselves Duterte Cyber Warriors. The group had admitted to reporting accounts critical of the Duterte administration en masse.
In her blog, Laurio is often sarcastic and funny in calling out the President, other government officials and their supporters, on issues that she believes they should be held accountable.
In her post where she revealed herself (“Ako si PAB, o eh ano ngayon?”), Laurio wrote that PAB represents Every Filipino—from the mother of victims of extrajudicial killings, to the public fed up with fake news and the soldier defending the West Philippine Sea.