Now that’s what we call being productive influencers!
A group of online personalities who dubbed themselves the Concerned Online Citizens trooped to the Supreme Court on July 29 to submit their 52-page petition challenging the highly contentious Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, making it the 21st overall to be submitted thus far. They did it with finesse too, as viral Tiktoker Macoy Dubs, or Mark Averilla in real life, sashayed to the site wearing heels and a black dress shirt, as seen on his Twitter Live coverage.
These 19 Internet individuals — bloggers, artists, writers, advocates, and activists one and all — share more than a million local followers between them. You might even be following some if not most of these figures online:
- Tiktoker Macoy Dubs, or Mark Averilla
- Twitter bhie bhie girl, or Mark Angelo Geronimo
- Artist, illustrator, and author Rob Cham or Robby Derrick Cham
- Blogger and columnist Tonyo Cruz, or Anthony Ian Cruz
- The ever-angry Aling Marie, or Marita Dinglasan
- Writer and LGBTQ+ advocate Thysz or Thyssen Estrada
- Blogger Maria Josephina Vergina “Jover” Laurio of Pinoy Ako Blog
- Blogger Lean Redino Porquia of Reklamador Facebook page
- Spoken word artist Juan Miguel Severo
- Doctor and mental health advocate Ma. Gia Grace Sison
- Mindanao blogger Oliver Richard Robillo
- Blogger and former Kabataan Partylist Representative Raymond Palatino
- Cebu tourism advocate Ka Bino Guerrero, or Balbino Pada Guerrero
- Writer Marcel Dar Stefan Punongbayan
- Blogger Jhay or Julius Rocas
- Artist Albert Louis RaqueÃ±o
- Community manager Noelle Theresa Capili
- Engineer and activist Victor Louis Crisostomo
- Agrarian reform advocate JC Mercado or John Carlo Mercado
The coalition, represented by San Sebastian College of Law Dean Rodel Taton, disputed certain sections of the Anti-Terrorism Act as unconstitutional, namely those defining terrorism and its related offenses; allowing the Anti-Terrorism Council to preliminarily rule out terrorists or terrorist groups based only on suspicion; and allowing arrest of suspected terrorists without a warrant and their detention without charge.
According to them, these statutes may be used as the basis for the “arbitrary application by law enforcers and may chill the people to silence.”
As outspoken Internet voices, they also face an unforeseen threat online. Alluding to the arrest of a teacher from Zambales for badmouthing the President online, netizens are also at risk of “being tracked down, followed, or investigated, or having their messages, conversations, discussions, spoken or written words tapped, listened, intercepted and recorded through various means, including computer and network surveillance, all of which are violative of their constitutional rights to privacy, free speech, free expression, and their right against unreasonable searches and seizures.”
Of course, the speeches didn’t end at the Supreme Court. To amplify their calls, these candid personalities took to Twitter and initiated the brazen hashtags #SueTheTurtle, #RampaSaKorteSuprema, and the most clever one, #COCBlockAntiTerrorLaw, which refers to their group, Concerned Online Citizens.
As relevant influencers use their platform to strengthen their petition and intensify their calls, all eyes are on our lawmakers now. And trust us, they wouldn’t want to make Aling marie even angrier.