WHEN someone uploaded the YouTube video showing an angry woman allegedly harassing a female security guard at LRT-2 Santolan, it became viral on the same day.

The woman was supposed to have refused having her bag searched and shouted at the security guard for treating her as a criminal. She repeatedly shouted at the guard, “I’m a liar? [So you’re saying] I’m a liar?” (Later on her inveighing was shortened to and parodied on social network as “Amalayer”).

The woman was identified as Paula Jaime Salvosa, and just like Robert Blair Carabuena, who assaulted a Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) officer for calling his attention for a traffic violation he had committed, she gained instant infamy and became a victim of severe cyberbullying.

Salvosa later defended herself by saying that the female guard provoked her by treating her rudely while inspecting her bag. Because of the abuse she was getting on media, she deactivated all her social media accounts.

Salvosa’s case was clearly different from Carabuena’s, who, despite his very obvious traffic violation, berated and even manhandled the MMDA traffic enforcer.

With the public expressing their sentiments toward the woman guard, Salvosa has become another victim of cyberbullying. She became the target of memes and parody videos making fun of her, if not demonizing her.

Salvosa’s case shows how powerful the social media can be. With a single click, one can make or break a single person.

The fact that somebody took her video while was she was protesting the inspection was already a violation of her privacy, something lost in today’s promotion of “citizen’s journalism,” which is sometimes a disguise for voyeurism and privacy violation.

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Lost in all of the parody and cyberbullying is the fact that Salvosa was merely protesting why, as a passenger of a utility for which she has paid for with her taxes and fares, she was being subjected to bodily and manual security frisking when the LRT management and the security agency it has contracted should in fact provide for metal detectors and less bothersome—and surer—means of checking security.

Her cry represents the protest of every Filipino taxpayer who’s being manhandled by government with its history of corruption and incompetence: “Am I a liar?” The burden of proving one’s innocence—of one not being a terrorist or a security threat—is carried by the taxpayer—not the government and its police and military forces that have ignominiously failed to provide security to the people, and themselves have become grave security threats to the people.

It would seem that social media now are being used as a means of bullying rather than healthy communication. It is being used to accuse people that they’re liars.

People cry foul over the Cybercrime Law. Yet, these same people are most likely the ones who instigate cyberbullying, only proving the need for the law no matter how stupid it may seem.

With the various uses and advantages provided by the social media, a person must be responsible with his use of the use of social media. He must make good use of his very right to freely express himself responsibly while ensuring that others enjoy the same freedom.

As former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Nelson Mandela said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

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