Trolls

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

A FEW years ago there was this quar­rel among some peo­ple in the me­dia stem­ming from the pur­suit of eth­i­cal stan­dards. Some­body nat­u­rally ze­roed in on those cov­er­ing the Bu­reau of Cus­toms (BOC) beat. The BOC, af­ter all, is a mag­net for the cor­rupt prac­ti­tion­ers and the so-called “haoshiao” me­dia peo­ple or “kom­e­dya” and the so-called “Fri­day Club” of old.

Again, that was years ago and I don’t know how the BOC is be­ing cov­ered now by the me­dia. That “some­body” who crit­i­cized the cov­er­age of the BOC did take it upon him­self to do the cov­er­ing him­self.

As an old hand in the cov­er­age of the BOC would later tell me, the critic nat­u­rally got stumped when he went to the BOC be­cause he was clue­less of the pro­ce­dure and where the pos­si­ble sources of cor­rup­tion were. He didn’t know where to start his sleuthing. He even­tu­ally let go and never went back to the BOC again.

I re­mem­ber that story when Pres­i­dent Duterte de­ployed the mil­i­tary to watch over the run­ning of the BOC. The mil­i­tary per­son­nel can be at the BOC premises all they want, but as long as they are clue­less about how the agency is be­ing run, all that they can do is in­tim­i­date the BOC per­son­nel and hope they will change ways by in­tim­i­da­tion. Aside from that, they could not do any­thing much.

Cor­rup­tion in the bu­reau­cracy, like the il­le­gal drugs trade, are com­plex prob­lems. That is pre­cisely why both have sur­vived through the years. In­tim­i­da­tion alone can’t solve these prob­lems. As they say, com­pli­cated prob­lems can only be solved us­ing in­tri­cate so­lu­tions. De­ploy­ing the mil­i­tary is too sim­plis­tic an ap­proach and may not work by its lone­some.

Ev­ery­thing has been silent so far at the BOC front. It would be in­ter­est­ing to find out what is hap­pen­ing there days af­ter the mil­i­tary de­ploy­ment.

•••

The trolls are in­tact, or their pres­ence may even have been strength­ened with the 2019 midterm elec­tions just around the bend. Or at least that is what I could glean from the re­port about the killing of Charie Mae Man­cia, who was found in­side her room with mul­ti­ple stab wounds in the neck and other parts of her body Sun­day (Nov. 4) dawn. The re­port posted on Face­book im­me­di­ately at­tracted trolls.

The spin was nat­u­rally di­rected at priests and hu­man rights ad­vo­cates. Even if the sus­pect was not iden­ti­fied yet, the trolls im­me­di­ately con­cluded he (or she?) must be a drug ad­dict and blamed priests and hu­man rights ad­vo­cates for what the sus­pect did.

The woman would not have died had drug ad­dicts al­ready been erad­i­cated, so goes the trolls’ line.

It ac­tu­ally took me a while to block the trolls from my ac­count. It’s ac­tu­ally good that re­ports like this are posted on Face­book be­cause it al­lows me to see who the trolls are among my Face­book friends or even those who merely post their com­ment on it. Be­cause of that, I am able to block more trolls.

The trolls won’t go away de­spite the re­cent moves by Face­book, like the purg­ing of the ac­counts of trolls. We should do the purg­ing on our own. Trolls can only wreak havoc on our ex­is­tence if they are read. For our peace of mind, let those trolls be the voice in the wilder­ness.

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