If the Internet, as they say, has been weaponized in 2016, then words are surely its ammunition. Political emotions have been running so high this year that with enough context, single words can bear enough power to assemble masses to a cause or trigger the most terrible online vitriol. Here, we give you the biggest online personalities who went viral.
Save for her role in the popular ABS-CBN series FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano (which, it must be noted, casted her as the repentant wife of a powerful drug lord named Tomath Tuathon), Isidro hadn’t been in the public eye for some time until that post went viral. She had already been posting other more subdued criticisms of the administration on Facebook, racking up likes in the hundreds, but ”psychopath” was a catalyst. As of this writing, that Facebook post has over 51,000 reactions and 12,479 shares—numbers that were certainly inflated by the ire she drew from pro-Duterte hiveminds.
At the height of it, she received some of the lowest, most vile online ad hominem: “Manganak ka muna bago ka mangutya sa aming mahal na pangulo. Kaya ka iniwan ng iyong asawa kasi baog ka,” as well as attempts at character assassination, when a fake Agot Isidro page farmed hateful comments by blaming the President’s sinfulness for typhoons and earthquakes.
It wasn’t all bad, though—many were quick to rally behind Isidro, even reminding everyone of her educational attainment (she graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, and has a master’s degree in Communication from the Ateneo de Manila University). One more popular form of it was a meme that read: “Be an Agot Isidro in this world of Mocha Usons.”
But despite the attacks against her, Isidro seems staunch and unfazed. In the wake of her “psychopath” post, she even insisted upon her psychiatric assessment of the President once by sharing a Psychology Today article that defines the condition. She does continue to jab at the state of things, often with just a meme or a furtive caption, but Agot Isidro hasn’t quite returned to the fore. Perhaps she has no intention to. “As opinionated as I am, I know that I would have to deal with this in a more introspective manner,” she wrote, in a long and somber post about her shock following the events of November 8 and 9. “I would still remain vigilant, my eyes and ears open to the daily events that unfold.”
Nothing she has posted since has been quite as incendiary as “psychopath,” but Isidro has made her point and sent a clear message. Few other celebrities have.
Imelda Schweighart, who represented the Philippines for Miss Earth 2016, became the subject of controversy after an awkward conversation between her and Miss Earth Austria Kimberly Budinsky. Schweighart, who is half-German, asked Budinsky point-blank if Hitler was from Austria. Budinsky brushed it off, telling Schweighart that “we don’t normally talk about Hitler.” Miss Earth Philippines then remarked, “Our president is doing Hitler stuff in the Philippines,” referring to Duterte’s comparison of his War on Drugs to the Holocaust. Needless to say, her comments blew up on social media, and a cursory apology ensued.
She later resigned from Miss Earth after she was caught on video calling out pageant winner Miss Ecuador, saying, “‘Yung nanalo peke ilong, peke baba, peke boobs! Miss Earth, dapat natural.”
Teddy Locsin, Jr.
Anyone who criticizes Donald Trump’s use of Twitter may find themselves taken aback after following @teddyboylocsin. Few other (read: no other) local public figures—political or otherwise—are as loud and imprudent about their opinions on Twitter as our U.N. Ambassador. Throughout 2016, Locsin Jr. faced public scrutiny for everything from Nazi sympathy to body-shaming Leila de Lima. He has since deleted a few of his most controversial, instigative tweets and apologized for them, but outrageous ones still remain, and his Twitter fingers are still on the trigger. Here are some of his greatest hits.
This year, the Filipino public was introduced to political scion and future statesman-slash-DJ Ferdinand Alexander Marcos III, when news broke that he had accidentally shaded two circles for president on his official ballot (thereby invalidating his vote). Sandro Marcos later implied, via Twitter, that because the total votes tallied for president didn’t match the total votes for Vice President, there had been a case of #DayaangMatuwid. The tweet has since been removed and apologized for, but he continues to be something of a celebrity on Twitter. When DJ @sandromarcos7 isn’t dropping dope beats and getting places turnt, he finds time to fend off his tens of thousands of female admirers on Twitter. And if, perchance, he manages to withstand their adulation and contain their raging libidos, Lil’ Marcos will bless us with gems of political wisdom, such as...
From a global political economy standpoint, Duterte shying away from the US actually makes sense in the long term, at least for now— Sandro Marcos (@sandromarcos7) October 20, 2016
Sandro, who is currently pursuing a post-graduate degree in London, frequently uses Twitter to demonstrate his mastery of global politics.
Trump's answers are like when you're writing a paper and you need to reach the word limit so you just exaggerate everything #Debates2016— Sandro Marcos (@sandromarcos7) October 10, 2016
Haha I guess this Brexit would be an appropriate time to say #walangforever— Sandro Marcos (@sandromarcos7) June 24, 2016
His astute observations of the world are likely the results of his top-notch education and his innate love for knowledge.
@shellorojas hahaha Wealth of Nations is one of the most boring books I have ever read— Sandro Marcos (@sandromarcos7) April 26, 2016
But despite his superior intellect, Sandro is always modest and self-aware.
Bam Aquino's line of questioning is direct, articulate and extremely progressive. So impressed!— Sandro Marcos (@sandromarcos7) January 27, 2016
@juliousolleta Tagalog ko Hindi pa magaling eh haha sorry— Sandro Marcos (@sandromarcos7) April 24, 2016
He also makes it a point to keep abreast with the times, making sure to have an opinion on matters aside from politics.
How I Met Your Mother > Friends— Sandro Marcos (@sandromarcos7) May 13, 2016
Rogue One is incredible— Sandro Marcos (@sandromarcos7) December 18, 2016
And, like his parents and grandparents before him, Sandro is always very gracious in victory.
??????— Sandro Marcos (@sandromarcos7) November 8, 2016
Mocha Uson, who was recently appointed as an ambassador to this year's Metro Manila Film Festival, hardly needs an introduction. Whether you've been unwillingly made witness to the insidious mind-bending tactics of her posts or assaulted by her slew of followers, the "ka-DDS” on Facebook, you're no stranger to the level of fanaticism and brute loyalty she inspires. In this age of post-truth, when elaborate theories are being made to justify each new addition or groundbreaking complication in a narrative—transmitted through online strongholds built to doggedly hold people together by that same belief—what should be a harmless blog becomes a modern-day Pied Piper, leading all the kids of Hamelin to drown in a river from which a return to the upright world, devoid of conspiracies and binaristic thinking, seems unlikely.