Monday, November 19, 2012


The best and the worst of the face of digital technology has shown its face.

Last week, the video of #amalayer went viral. The video showed Paula Jamie Salvosa berating lady guard Sharon Mae Casinas at the LRT Santolan station after the guard had told the former to place her bag in the conveyer belt for scanning as part of the security procedures of the train stations and going into the train station at the wrong entrance. Apparently peeved by the guard, Salvosa went on a psychotic anger spree and the rest is history. [She probably had too much espresso that morning.]

Salvosa has gone down in history, courtesy of YouTube, and digital technology as the most watched and trending topic worldwide, replacing even the "Chuck Norris" jokes. Several spoofs were born from the original video that was shown on major network stations during prime time news. After going viral, the life of Salvosa would never be the same again. She probably will never get a job anymore, except probably as some floosie cocktail waitress or masseuse or go-go dancer somewhere in the Santolan area as well.

Technology has made lives of people more productive and communication across all barriers has been torn down. On the other hand, it has served as the medium for destroying careers and personalities.

You will recall the fighting tiff between Raymart Santiago and Mon Tulfo at the Cebu Pacific counter. The sex videos of Dr. Hayden Kho has been the final ax on his blossoming career as a supposed "cosmetic surgeon" (when in actuality he is only a general practitioner) and increased his popularity as a porn star stud. Christopher Lao the Ateneo law school graduate who berated a MMDA officer because Mr. Lao had forced his car to go through a flooded area only to realize that it was neck deep. He was angry with the MMDA officer because the latter had not warned him of the depth of the water. He later accused people who uploaded the video of cyberbullying him. Then there was the case of the Robert Blair Carabuena who berated and slapped the MMDA officer who accosted him for beating the red light. The Human Resource executive of Philip Morris now has a pending case with the government and his driver's license has been permanently revoked.

Media has had a frenzy at the various YouTube uploads lately. Short of having enough news to report, they have included what has become "viral" in an effort to increase their respective viewers. With various networks battling each other for every nook and cranny for the popularity ratings, what has turned "viral" alone in YouTube has now become a "contagion" with media fanning the flames of stupidity, idiocy, sex, violence and profanity.

On the other side of the sword are the faces of success from technology. Charice Pempengco's life changed overnight after Ellen Degeneres and later Oprah made her an overnight sensation. Efren Penaflorida had won the CNN Heroes of the Year a few years ago because the Filipinos had pushed for his achievements online.

And so the story goes, while digital technology has improved in connecting the stories and lives of many, it has also served as the destruction and downfall of others.

The moral of the story - the next time you open your mouth or go into an outrage - STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. Someone beside you may be taking a video of your rampage and I guarantee you, life with never be the same again - no matter how much you try to explain your side. Media will always be "holier than thou". After all, to media, it's only about the numbers. It will not matter what you say at the end of the day because you have been judged from hello.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Over the long holidays, the news of a UST alumna who was murdered in cold blood hogged the headlines. Cyrish Magalang, a 20 year old cum laude graduate of Tourism was found dead, hogtied with 49 stab wounds and her face bashed with a hollow block so that no one would recognize her.

Suspects Rolin and younger brother Roel Gacita, both tricycle drivers, were later arrested.

From the ABS-CBN news desk, this was what was in the media report of the side of the Gacita brothers:

"Rolin, in an interview with radio dzMM's Rated Korina, admitted to killing the UST alumna while he was under the influence of drugs.

He said Roel, also a tricycle driver, picked up Magalang. He then told his brother to go to an area where he killed the Thomasian alumna.

"Naano po yung pag-iisip ko, tulirong-tuliro, dahil sa nag-away kami ng asawa ko at naka-inom ako, kaya naka-gawa ako ng 'di maganda," he said.

"Wala ho ako sa sarili ko, tulirong-tuliro ang isipan ko. Dahil nga sa, 'yun nga, 'yung droga. Kaya 'di ko na alam ang nagawa ko," he added.

Rolin said he stabbed Magalang with a screwdriver and then smashed her head with a hollow block.

He also insisted that his brother never had a hand in the crime. He also denied that he raped Magalang.

"Hindi naman ho 'yung kapatid ko 'yung nagplano. Nagulat na lang siya nung sinabi kong ihinto niya 'yung motor... Nagulat siya nung pumasok na lang ako sa tricycle... Pinilit ko lang siya na dalhin 'dun…Ako lang naman po [ang pumatay]. Bale yung kapatid ko, nasa labas lang, nakabantay lang sa motor niya," he said.

Rolin claimed he has no other criminal record, saying he was only a simple tricycle driver who sidelines as a vegetable vendor.

He also appealed to Magalang's family for forgiveness. "Nagsisisi ako sa nagawa ko. Pagdurusahan ko po ang kung ano mang ibibigay sa aking parusa para mapatawad lamang ako ng mga magulang niya," he said. – with reports from Eric Dastas and David Oro, dzMM"

The interview was a startling revelation of no remorse on the part of the criminal. He was able to aptly describe (in spite of his being in a drugged state) the senseless gruesome act that he committed.

The sheer fact that he claims that he has had no criminal record and that he was "only a simple tricycle driver who sidelines as a vegetable vendor" is hogwash and a pathetic excuse to make him look like a sheep in wolf's clothing. There is no such this as a "simple" driver. The mere fact that the killer is hooked on drugs is a crime in itself. There must be a more thorough investigation on how the alleged killer was able to get prohibited drugs, who the source (or drug pusher) is, and get to the bottom of the prohibited substance industry.

Methamphetamine HCl (otherwise known as Shabu) is one of the most common substance abused drugs in the Philippines. Otherwise known as poor man's cocaine, Shabu thrives mostly in the poorer communities of the Philippines. It is estimated that almost 80% of those living in the slum areas have used shabu in their lifetime, while 60% of these 80% are regular users of shabu. Obviously, because of its euphoric effects, its users range from the very poor to the affluent in society.

Shabu is a stimulant and a psychotropic agent in the amphetamine class. Ephedrine and amphetamine carry similar chemical structures, which makes it easy to manufacture methamphetamine HCl or Shabu in any ordinary backyard laboratory.

What makes Shabu appealing to drug users is not only the low cost for getting high - it's the getting high part. Shabu induces mania, euphoria, increased libido and self-esteem, alertness, self-confidence, and increased energy. Because of these effects, almost 95% of prostitutes in the Philippines test positive for shabu use.

You can always detect a user. Symptoms of heightened alertness, diminished fatigue, weight loss or no weight gain and no appetite, constantly thirsty with dry lips yet looks dehydrated (you'll notice this among some of our movie personalities or models), excessive talking and during the "high" stage, shabu users are awake all day. When the drug's effects wears off, the user begins to crash and this is when they become violent, aggressive, and confused.

Drug addiction has become a large problem in the Philippines. Drug mules are a dime a dozen with China executing several Filipino drug mules who want to earn a quick living and dash for the execution chamber. The irony here is that the Philippines and Jejomar Binay are quick to dash on the next plane to ask for a reprieve for the crimes they commit. Crimes that bring shame to the Filipino people as a race. Crimes that we commit in our own country and cannot seem to grapple at containing this heinous act of drug peddling.

I don't think we get the picture clear here. I am sure that we have military officials and government officials that are the biggest fish here. If you don't have the highest people in the land coddling these drug pushers, they won't exist.

And the problem won't go away until the President of the Philippines wages an all out battle against what destroys and kills the very future of our people. It's not the Gloria Arroyos or the Marcoses or the Chief Justice that should be his major agenda. It's sending a message to an all out war against the very core of what kills the Filipinos. While it may not get "pogi" points as political vendetta, it is the right road (read - ang tamang daan) to take.

The all out war against drugs must take precedence over friends and colleagues in order to end these senseless random acts of violence. Only a true leader who has the balls can take this all out war against drugs in the Philippines.

I sympathize with the Magalang family on the loss of Cyrish. Dreams snuffed in one senseless act where some "simple" tricycle driver gets high on drugs because he has a scuffle with his wife and gets a tantric moment and goes on a killing spree. The "simple" tricycle driver has really no role in life. He was born to what? Get high on drugs and become a murderer? How much more sense could you put into this picture?

Do our leaders have the balls to rise beyond politics? Do our government officials even have the brain to think about this picture?

Next year as we troop to the polls to select local government officials, think about it. Are the leaders you vote for in this for serving the public in where and what and when it really counts? At the end of the day, it's really up to us to decide whose hands we put the state of our nation.

No one to blame but us.