Mistaken identity? Ex-journalist Jay Sonza poked fun at a stranger who he thought was Rep. Sarah Elago

August 9, 2019 - 5:01 PM
Sarah Elago Anakbayan
Kabataan Party-list Representative Sarah Elago (RTVM/Released)

Former journalist Jay Sonza mistook a photo of a random female Facebook user for Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago in a post that was supposed to mock the lawmaker.

Kathe Luna called Sonza out on Facebook for the error and the offensive remarks she received from his followers because of it.

Sonza’s post had since been deleted. But Luna was able to make screenshots of it and share them on her account.

She also tagged Sonza’s Facebook account. The latter has yet to respond.

“Hindi muna kayo nag double or triple check to make sure na tamang tao ang ipopost nyo! Nabastos po ang pagkababae ko sa mga comments ng mga bastos nyong followers tulad nyo!” Luna said on August 8.

Based on the screenshots, Sonza used a beach photo of Luna, who he thought was Elago.

He then quipped in the caption: “Parang si Risa lang, nang mapuwesto sa philhealth, nagbagong anyo.”

He went on and cited Elago’s no-show at a recent Senate hearing involving Anakbayan’s alleged involvement with five missing students.

“Ganito rin itong pinaghahanap kahapon sa Senado. Dating panay sa kalye, ngayon, uma-aura na rin sa mga beaches.”

Luna also aired her ire against Sonza in the comments section of his now-deleted post and on her Instagram stories. She threatened to take the matter to court.

“Private na tao po ako na walang kinalaman sa politics at hindi ko deserve madrag at mabastos ng ganito! Will take legal action for this!” Luna said.

Elago soon noticed this and later showed her support for Luna on Twitter.

“Kasama niyo po ako na hindi papalagpasin ang ganitong kabastusan at pang-aalipusta sa mga kababaihan!” she said.

Online shaming, cyberbullying

Online shaming can be considered libel provided by the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

Libel is considered a cybercrime offense if it was committed with the use of “a computer system or any other similar means.”

Article 353 of the Revised Penal Code defines libel as the “public and malicious imputation of a crime, or of a vice or defect, real or imaginary, or any act, omission, condition, status, or circumstance tending to cause the dishonor, discredit, or contempt of a natural or juridical person, or to blacken the memory of one who is dead.

Acts of libel can be done by means of “writing, printing, lithography, engraving, radio, phonograph, painting, theatrical exhibition, cinematographic exhibition, or any similar means.”

In 2016, Rep. Rolando Andaya of Camarines Sur filed a more specific measure on online bullying called “The Anti-Cyber-Bullying Bill.”

Unfortunately, there are no updates about it so far.

Missing minors?

On August 7, mothers of five missing students who were allegedly recruited by leftist groups such as Anakbayan testified before the Senate hearing of their cases.

Elago was not able to attend to this conference because the invitation was given to her at a short notice.

“We received the invitation from your honorable office on 05 August 2019, with the hearing being set for Wednesday, 07 August. Unfortunately, we will not be able to attend because of prior commitments which we will not be able to move considering the very short notice,” she said.

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG), meanwhile, filed kidnapping charges against them on August 1, days before the hearing.

This complaint was only for the case of one of the missing teenagers.

Anakbayan denied these accusations and noted that joining their organization is on a voluntary basis, hence no force recruitment.

Elago also recently disproved a statement circulating online she supposedly stated about the missing children.