‘Why single me out?’: Taiwan OFW praised for courage amid deportation, cyber libel threats

April 30, 2020 - 7:05 PM
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SEA games
The Philippine flag at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan during the opening ceremony of the 30th Southeast Asian Games (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

The Filipina caregiver, who was recently accused of cyber libel by the Department of Labor and Employment, questioned the selective stance of the national government on the exercise of freedom of speech during a recent televised interview. 

The caregiver Elanel Egot Ordidor, also known as Linn Silawan on Facebook, earlier posted a video of her berating President Rodrigo Duterte for his measures on COVID-19.

This post earned the ire of Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag, who sought for Ordidor’s deportation for supposedly committing cyber libel under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. 

The DOLE in a statement said “wilful posting of nasty and malevolent materials against President Duterte on Facebook intended to cause hatred amidst the global health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Taiwan, however, did not accept the Philippines’ deportation request, citing the overseas Filipino worker’s right to freedom of speech.

RELATED: Taiwan OFW deportation vs Chinese Embassy’s Iisang Dagat video: A comparison of how gov’t interprets freedom of speech

In an interview with ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol” on April 29, Ordidor denied that she sought to oust the Duterte administration in her controversial video.  

However, the OFW stood by her criticisms and refused to issue a public apology, which was earlier ordered from her.  

Ordidor then questioned the government for not invoking the same punishment against pro-administration bloggers RJ Nieto or “Thinking Pinoy”, Sass Rogando SasotAndrew Olivar and Mocha Uson, who is also a government official, after continuously making malicious remarks against Vice President Leni Robredo 

“Noon sila Sassotsila Mocha Uson, sila Andrew, sila Thinking Pinoy na binabalahura si Madame Leni, iyon po ba ay inoobliga ng gobyerno na magsosorry sila sa Vice President natin?” Ordidor asked 

She also emphasized that these government officials are in their positions because Filipinos voted for them, therefore bearing the right to be critical of the policies they implement.  

Taumbayan po ang nagpapasahod sa kanila kaya sila nandyanTaumbayan ho ang nagluklok sa kanila kaya sila nandyan. So bilang taumbayanbilang isang mamamayankarapatan ko ang punahin ang nakikita kong hindi tama,” Ordidor said 

Karapatan nating lahatkaraptan nating bawat Pilipino, may karapatan tayong mamuna,” she added.  

Praises for Ordidor’s courage  

A screenshot and a video clip of Ordidor’s interview was shared and praised by several Twitter users, particularly for speaking up on behalf of Robredo.  

Robredo has been the subject of hateful posts and videos mostly circulated by pro-administration bloggers on social media due to her vocal criticisms against Duterte’s bloody drug war and other controversial decisions.  

Tama si ate. Kapag DDS nagsalita ng masama against kay VP Leni wala naman silang naririnig. Pero pag ordinaryong pilipino nagsalita ng masama sa Pangulonaaalarma ang gobyerno?” an online user said 

“Philippine administration so unstable, kahit hamak na caregiver, kinakatakutan na,” another Twitter user said 

Prior to Ordidor’s interview, some initiatives were made to hold fake news purveyors accountable. 

Nieto was charged with cyber libel by former Sen. Antonio Trillanes for calling the latter  “little narco” or a small-time drug lord.

In September 2017, Trillanes also filed three counts of libel against Uson, then Presidential Communications assistant secretary, for spreading “fake news” about his supposed offshore bank accounts.

On the other hand, the Philippine National Police said Olivar has criminal liability for violating Presidential Decree 1727 or the Malicious Dissemination of False Information Concerning Bombs when he posted a supposed bomb threat during the commemoration of EDSA People Power in 2018.    

Misrepresentation of Taiwan 

Meanwhile, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque was also slammed by Taiwan after he remarked that it is part of China in his response on Ordidor’s case.  

“We leave that wholly to the decision of Taiwan and China. Taiwan is part of China,” Roque told ANC. 

Taiwan foreign affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou immediately responded and reminded local authorities to stop misrepresenting the sovereignty of Taiwan.  

“My country expresses strong dissatisfaction and high regret over Philippine government officials wrongly accusing Taiwan as part of China,” Ou said. 

Taiwan is officially called the Republic of China (ROC). However, it has been governed independently from China or the People’s Republic of China since 1949.  

When Roque was asked about the remark again, the presidential spokesman maintained his position.  

“We have always had one position with this regard, together with other countries in the world,” Roque said.