Will Facebook truly help us Filipinos?
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Philippine Star) - April 4, 2019 - 12:00am

It seems that social media company Facebook has reiterated its commitment to ensure the integrity of the upcoming midterm elections in the Philippines as it braces for abuse and malicious use of the online platform. 

“One of the things that my team focuses on, and Facebook is focused on, is the elections coming up here in the region and throughout the world this 2019,” Facebook head of cyber security Nathaniel Gleicher mentioned in a press briefing last week. I’m glad that finally, we have an ally in Facebook in our efforts to finally have clean and honest elections for 2019.

As I’ve already mentioned in my previous column that we had senatorial candidate Atty. Glenn Chong in our “Klarohay Ta Mega Cebu Forum” at the Buttenbruch Hall in the University of San Carlos (USC) Main Bldg. where Glenn Chong attacked the collusion of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) with Smartmatic for the simple issue that Filipinos should never allow a foreign company to handle our national elections. Worse, cheat in the elections! So why until now we still don’t know our real Vice President?

For evidence of this collusion between the Comelec and Smartmatic, ask yourselves whatever happened to former Comelec chairman Andres Bautista who was accused in August 7, 2017 by his wife, Patricia Paz Bautista of nearly P1 billion worth in unexplained wealth. In his 2016 Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), Bautista reported a net worth of P176.3 million and truth to tell, even what he reported in his SALN is highly questionable for a government worker. How many honest government workers have so much money in their bank accounts?

In her affidavit, Bautista’s wife gave an accounting of the peso passbook accounts of her husband in the Luzon Development Bank (LDB) having P329,220,962 and in an RCBC account worth $12,778.30. She revealed that her husband also had an HSBC Bank account with HK$948,358.97. He also has condominium units in BGC and in San Francisco, USA. I find it odd that many self-righteous people are demanding for honesty and integrity in these coming mid-term elections, but they are mum on the obvious disappearance of Andres Bautista?

Facebook said it would step up efforts to protect the integrity of the midterm elections in the Philippines. Katie Harbath, Facebook’s director for global politics and government outreach, said they were working closely with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and other organizations to help detect and prevent bad actors from abusing the platform. So let’s ask Facebook, if they truly want to help the Philippine elections, to help us find former Comelec chairman Andres Bautista? Can I also ask my good friend, Atty. Greco Belgica to start looking for Andres Bautista? After all he heads the anti-corruption campaign of President Duterte.

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Still talking about Facebook, I was truly shocked to see what my friends sent me… that sex video that went viral of Jim Paredes, formerly of the Hiking Society. Jim Paredes has always been one of Pres. Duterte’s pain in the neck, publicly attacking him and many others for anything that the President does, charging him of immorality among others.

Then came this horrendous video that I’m sure shocked even his own yellow supporters. At first, many people thought that it was a false or even photoshopped video, but apparently even Jim Paredes has apologized that he was the person we saw on our social media network. 

On April 1, Jim confirmed the authenticity of the video, which he said is private and not meant for public consumption. In his public statement, he said “I know many of you have judged me and condemned me, and those who held me in high esteem are disappointed in me, to put it mildly. I apologize for my irresponsibility. But most especially, I stand in bottomless sorrow and contrition before my family who are reeling from the hurt and aggravation, and the embarrassment and shame, that should only be mine. I pray that they be spared any more wicked trolling by those who would revel in their pain.”

There is no question that the reputation of Jim Paredes is now in tatters and whatever he would say in the social media networks, only a few people would believe him. He pins the blame to politics that his video was released. In the first place, he should not allow himself to be exposed in a video even if it was for private consumption.

But I’m glad that he admitted his irresponsibility for his misappropriate act and in the spirit of Lent, may I suggest that he ought to go out of his way and seek reconciliation with God. If he is still a Catholic, then the sacrament of confession awaits any sinner. After all, we are all sinners and need reconciliation with God.

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Email: vsbobita@gmail.com.

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