Anti-Marcos protesters sexually harassed online, lawyer offers free legal aid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The sudden burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos last Friday triggered mass action and thousands of social media posts from both anti-Marcos protesters and the strongman's loyalists.

Online criticism is considered par for the course when you're an engaged netizen. But among the social media posts most viciously attacked through the weekend until Monday were those of anti-Marcos protesters, mostly women in their early 20s.

The comments against the female protesters were lewd, sexually graphic, and life-threatening.

A netizen posted to a Facebook page a photo collage of a young female anti-Marcos protester next to the image of an older male pro-Marcos supporter.

"Ganda nito ahhh [So beautiful]. Future pornstar... Come to papa, I'll fill your mouth and your pockets, too," said a certain Eric Voltaire de Leon in his comment describing the woman.

Another troll, Calvin Castro Menrige replied to De Leon's comment, saying they should "gang bang" her and tie her up so she doesn't get the chance to fight back, to which De Leon agreed.

A certain Chriscor Jones asked how much an hour with her costs, implying that the protester is a prostitute.

 

In another Facebook post, the photo of a young female protester carrying a placard with "Kay crush di ako makamove on, paano pa kaya kay Marcos" also attracted misogynistic netizens.

"Just show your tits, it would be much better," said a certain Litao Angelo.

Enzoi Quirsten suggested she should do porn instead of rally outside her school. A Mark Coline Naval said the student may look young, but he firmly believes she will soon have a sex scandal.

The crude comments did not only come from male netizens; women also joined in on harassing the female protesters.

"Pampam [attention seeker]," said one Crizzy Villasoto Nakamura.

Some accounts have been deactivated as of posting after netizens called them out for their lewd comments.

Related: ‘Boys will be boys,’ and the other ways we perpetuate misogyny

Legal action

The misogynistic, threatening posts were too much for netizen and lawyer John Molo, who said in a Facebook post on Monday that he is offering free legal services to any of the female protesters want to sue the trolls.

"I am done with just shaming and correcting acts of blatant misogyny perpetrated online," he said in his post.

"If anyone knows any of the female students who are being sexually harassed by lewd pro-Marcos trolls, please ask them if they wish to pursue legal action. We will offer our services for free," Molo added.

He also urged his fellow lawyers and law students to not stop at expressing their disgust at the incident, but to also put their words into action.

"We owe it to our mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters to ensure that the internet is no safe haven for misogyny," his post said.

 

Early this year, Renee Karunungan received threatening messages after posting on Facebook criticisms against then-Presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. She has filed a criminal case at the Justice Department and an election offense case at the Comelec.

Senator to file bill vs. online sexual harassment

Senator Risa Hontiveros will file three legislative measures on Tuesday to fight sexual harassment and violence against women online.

In Hontiveros' press statement Monday, she also attached a screenshot of the sexual attacks on the female protesters.

The bills, called "Tres Marias Bills," aims to penalize gender-based electronic violence, peer-to-peer sexual harassment, and amend the Anti-Rape Law.