When the nail sticks out

rants, raves and randomness

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

Becoming famous or making someone (in)famous has never been so easy and so  cheap. Just look at Justin Bieber, Rebecca Black, Petra Mahalimuyak and more recently, the food-blogger, whose article on Filipino Food (I Would Rather Go Hungry Than Eat Filipino Street Food Again!) got liked around 37k times (last time I checked?)? Whether you like it or not, social media has a great power to make or break you. Depending on how and who uses it- and why. This is what social media has afforded us. It’s a a genie, waiting to fulfill your wishes, or a monster out to get you. Recently, a former classmate has been getting a lot of social media attention-for the wrong reasons. Another former classmate, working for the congress, posted on her FB:

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

It reads:

As government employees, we seem to be under everyone’s microscope especially if you’re a frontliner. It’s bad that our version of the story is the total opposite of theirs. What’s worse is that their story gets the limelight most of the time. People don’t even bother to get our side of the story. One classic example is this incident involving a college classmate who works for the BI. The “aggrieved” party already aired their side through social media. Now who’s going to air his? We swore to do our jobs and bound by the system that we work in. We are sorry we couldn’t bend some rules for you just so you could have it your way. We are sorry not all of us are made of the same fine substance but we do our best to serve you. We are sorry we are also humans.

Carlo Salazar, the “villain” in the post, turned out to be a PE classmate of ours back in 2001, although I realized that after I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. Because everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt these days, don’t you think? For the life of me, though, I can’t remember who he is- all my other classmates remembered him well enough, throwing a couple of adjectives here and there – all in vain, of course,because my memory is selective and really bad when it’s acting up.

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

Although we haven’t seen each other for years, the support for Carlo Salazar from our group is overwhelming.

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

I don’t remember you, Carlo. But I can’t imagine what’s it like to be internet-lynched and publicly humiliated, judged as guilty before you were given the chance to air your side. Aren’t there at least two sides to a story? How can people jump to conclusions when they’ve heard only one? (As of writing this, Carlo has not aired his side yet). Aren’t we all supposed to be innocent until proven guilty? Oh wait, this is Asia, where that is hardly the norm.

Almost everyone accused of a crime in Japan signs a confession, guilty or not. The Economist. Confess and be done with it. February 8, 2007. Web. April 2, 2014. < www.economist.com/node/8680941 >

Spate of wrongful convictions reveal shortcomings of judicial system with prosecutors putting pressure on judges over verdicts. Kaiman, Jonathan. The Guardian. China suspects presumed guilty until proven innocent. May 20, 2013. Web. April 2, 2014. < theguardian.com/world/2013/may/20/china-courts-presume-guilty-wrongful-convictions >

In the Philippines, let alone in Sulu, the law does not work for the people to whom it is supposed to be serving. The assumption “innocent until proven guilty” has never been the case but otherwise; you are “guilty until proven innocent” and, chances are, you’d be locked away in oblivion. Asian Human Rights Commission. PHILIPPINES: “Guilty until proven innocent”. October 8, 2010. Web. April 2, 2014. < www.humanrights.asia/opinions/columns/AHRC-ETC-031-2010 >

It seems like despite the territorial disputes and the warmongering, the hate and racial bigotry, these three Asian nations seem to agree that suspects are  presumed guilty until proven innocent. So who can blame the legions of keyboard bullies when they gallop around on their high horses while passing judgement to the poor fellow whose side they haven’t even heard yet? They are passing guilty verdicts because it is the norm. It must take great power to resist the norm! Besides, don’t we all hate the power-trippers, those mercilessly inefficient public servants who keep us waiting for three hours on a workday, missing work, lunch and all to get this document required by POEA? Or haven’t all tried to renew our passports at the embassy where the officials, self-important and overbearing, shout at you through the mic (for everybody to hear) that you-stupid you-have once again brought the wrong docs and you’d have to reschedule your long awaited appointment three weeks from now, because that’s all the slot they have? I know. The folks at the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo were incredibly rude. It didn’t help that  every time I called, the “required documents” change – who can blame these people *ahem* us-if we brought the wrong docs with us, when half of us were hardly literate here? I only got a better treatment when I spoke to them in my (not so ) flawless English – both on the phone and in person, a thing I normally wouldn’t do. Thrown off balance, they seemed to respect me more. But this story doesn’t end there. Going out of the embassy was another story, where these Filipino folks handing out flyers berated me for ignoring them  (which is what I do to all flyer folks – Japanese or Filipinos- ignore them ) as if I owed them my attention or my time. EXCUSE ME! “Si Ate parang walang kausap!” shouted the flyer lady as I passed in front her when I ignored her flyers and her beseech to use her company’s visa services (because I don’t need a f*cking VISA !!!!). She was, to put it simply and bluntly, BASTOS. I never got that from a Japanese – whether I ignore their flyers or not. For a moment, I was torn between putting up a fight or ignoring her. I chose the second because I had something else to do. My point is , rude people are everywhere. They are working in the embassy AND outside of it. They are both public servants and flyer persons. So before you press that share button- sharing a story in which you were neither a part of nor a witness of- I invite you to take a step back and do more research because you never know, the person you want to publicly persecute may just be the victim of  a skewed story. Maybe the flyer lady, for all the goodness in her, imagined I was being rude and maybe my photo is now circulating in her circle as the  person who “ignored her flyers” and therefore deserves public lynching. Who knows, the next person can be you! While I respect everyone has the right to express themselves – write a review about a hotel or a restaurant (or a school) or complain about a terrible (public)  service- and that the underlying motive may be nothing but to improve the current state of things. We do want things to progress, become better. Call it a constructive complaint, if you like.

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

Through our reviews, we manage to eliminate the worst and bring the best to the top (which also works for commenting : the more thumbs up the more it remains at the top). It works because there is a general assumption that most people are good and will not abuse the power given to them (to say, mark a valid comment as a spam).  And rightly so. Except that, in some cases, I find that people are not willing to hear the other side of the story before commenting. Look at the amount of the sympathizing comments Teacher Roselle Carreon got!

Such a shame Philippine public servants act that way. Had an experience with them as well at NAIA 1 and at Terminal 3, they are very rude, ill-mannered, boastful. The Philippine government should investigate this matter and have them compelled with disciplinary actions, much better have them removed from their post. They don’t deserve the post they have. Government officials and other public servants should always be at their best etiquettes, behaviour and public service should be delivered in a manner where people will compliment them instead of complaining them. Honestly, I’ve been to many countries and comparing the way those countries served me, totally different. They are very polite, they will explain everything to you even a hundred times without complain nor showing of irritability or being annoyed. These people should be eradicated coz they are a huge disgrace and a total humiliation to our Nation. – Joey S. Manalang we will support you for your action. that ignorant Carlo Salazar from BI should be oust. hindi lang yan ignorante, for sure magnanakaw din yan. kagaya lang yan ng naglagay sa kanya sa position. nakakahiya ka Carlo Salazar. tyak kinahihiya ka rin ng yung pamilya. Carlo Salazar isa kang demonyo. – people of cebu

Are you kidding me? Magnanakaw (thief)? Aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves? Just because you had a bad experience with a public servant doesn’t mean that Carlo Salazar is indeed the reincarnation of evil. And in the same way, just because some foreigner was mercilessly ripped off by a Filipino doesn’t mean all Filipinos are thieves. I know people tend to be emotional about their experiences – I am too- and tend to think that , if it happened to me, it can happen to others. True. But if we don’t want to be labeled after one person’s (alleged) wrong behavior, then please avoid doing that to others – whether they are your countrymen or not is beside the point. Remember : it is alleged, yet to be proven. It doesn’t matter how serious the allegations (or charges) are, they have to be proven true first. Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of bad public service – both back home and here in Japan (Read:   Job Hunting in Japan : the horrors of Hello Work. Alternative job sites? )-  but I would definitely not accuse anybody anything whose side of the story I personally don’t know. I try to accord each one a clean slate because everyone deserves it – because this is not North Korea, right, where people are guilty by association?-  and because everyone deserves to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and because there’s always at least two sides to story and we’d have to hear both of them before jumping to conclusions. Yes, I am asking you to consider breaking the norm:Innocent until proven guilty and not the other way around. I didn’t get Carlo’s side directly, and I have to refrain from saying anything I heard about what he said, to respect his wishes. [screen cap deleted] From another witness :

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

And which reminds me of a Kick Ass quote– actlikeabitch1     *Images from Facebook and Brainy Quotes

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31 comments on “Guilty until Proven innocent: the Culture of internet Lynching. The case of Carlo Salazar.

  1. Joe America
    April 2, 2014

    Fascinating. I was quick to condemn Mr. Salazar because I overlaid my own multiple experiences with Immigration staff and find them comprehensively to be a rude and over-bearing lot. Only when adding a gratuity to the fee (“keep the change”) did anybody actually smile and go out of their way to be helpful. I think an organization reflects the tenor of its management, and the requirements that management sets down as guidelines for interacting with clients. Immigration does not have a “service” culture, in my observation.

    But you are right, very few of us consider that the “news” is sometimes only one side of a story. We just go with it. Social media is a wonderful place to play . . .

    • ikalwewe
      April 3, 2014

      I had to edit the original post to take out the screen cap of Carlo’s original message, as per his wishes. So congratulations, you got to read the original post 🙂

      Re: immigration. I haven’t been there myself, but I am not surprised with bad service in the public sector 😢 It’s the norm than the exception, sadly. On the other hand, many people close to me work as public servants, and this is not the first time I’ve witnessed them getting berated for implementing rules, rules they didn’t make. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t!

      So how do we ensure a good public service? SLAs. Customer feedback. Proper avenue to air out our frustrations. If you call Citibank, they warn you that the call may be ‘recorded or monitored’. In my school, there are mics in all classrooms and the mentor can listen in anytime to your lessons. Hardcore, I know, but it’s a small price to pay for the protection of both the clients and the employees.

      It’s very tricky. On one hand, when you post your experiences, you want people to believe you. On the other hand, there are those who may “suffer” because of your post. I think that’s what the internet act is all about. It’s about being more responsible netizens, thinking twice about bad mouthing anyone online.

      It is impossible to suffer without making someone pay for it; every complaint already contains revenge.
      Friedrich Nietzsche
      Have a great day and thanks for the comment

      • Dominique Padua Balabat
        April 6, 2014

        Thanks for your blogpost… No matter how humiliated a public servant is, he shouldn’t have acted like that. Alam ko tao lang din yun. Wala kaya silang training about public service? No matter how aggravated you are, you don’t ever do that to your customers. You can call security if you need help but you never shout back at customers.
        I would call security officers kung public servant ako at inaaggravate ako… it’s part of my job (kung saka sakali) to deal with different kinds of people…

      • ikalwewe
        April 7, 2014

        Because Carlo refused to air his side (and he has to right to remain silent. Anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law), I can’t know for sure if he indeed “shouted” at the couple. It seems like one of his defining qualities, if you read the facebook exchange is “saksakan ng lakas ng boses”.
        Thanks for comment. Ciao

      • Meynard Sanchez
        October 11, 2014

        I agree with the gentleman about customer service. All people dealing with customers should have Customer Relations training. Customer is always right, it’s the same principle throughout the world! It doesn’t matter if the customer has been cussing Mr. CARLO. If Mr. Carlo was professional enough, he could have dealt the situation with tact. He is the top of the position and he should have been acting professionally representing his position as a public servant and not an idiot exchanging barbs with Customers. I publicly condemn him guilty before proven innocent based on the corroboration of one person attesting his unprofessional exchange with the couple. Is it true that one bad apple doesn’t represent the entire lot. But if almost all the time you see bad apple everywhere, you can generally label most as bad apple.

  2. MrsPresson
    April 2, 2014

    The problem with Social Media is that people are too quick to believe, click and share. It’s easy and only takes about a few seconds to do so. Then it spreads like wildfire especially when it’s about the government. What people don’t realize is the damage of that simple “sharing” is far worse. It’s a man’s reputation that’s been ruined by hearsay. People seem to have forgotten the word “Responsibility”. People don’t practice responsible journalism and social media responsibility. Think before you react. Think before clicking and sharing.

    • ikalwewe
      April 3, 2014

      True that. Let’s FB share responsibly! Think before you type. Don’t jump to conclusions right away. Tsaka wag na tayo manggatong kung wala naman tayo doon. The damage you can do with your words may be hard to undo. Just think about it – what if it were you? What if you were convicted in the court of public opinion?

  3. Chris Sarile
    April 3, 2014

    If this is true, then does that mean everything Ms. Carreon said was false? Mr. Salazar said it was one-side. So he means his side of the story just was not told.
    I think the the purpose of this article is to show how the power of social media can easily be abused. However, in this case, if Mr. Salazar did shout at the couple because of them being rude first, I don’t think it gives him the license to be rude to them in return. So in no way does this article justify the act of Mr. Salazar. And it shouldn’t. Many of our government personnel really just don’t understand how big of a deal it is to be called a public servant, the huge responsibility and obligations for one to be always professional in dealing with clients or the general public, most especially the citizens of the country he/she serves. Given that the couple were extremely ill-mannered and were most probably interrupting the general work of all the employees and disturbing other clients, Mr. Salazar had all the reasons to just simply have them escorted out, without trading verbal barbs and making a scandal. I read Ms. Carreon’s story, and she says Mr. Salazar didn’t quit even after he scolded the couple, speaking to himself loudly, yelling that the couple were ignorant and annoying. That’s human emotions right there. Is he human like the rest of us, of course he is. Only difference is, he’s a public servant. And public servants don’t act that way. Can they defend themselves when they are abused by unruly clients? Of course they can, but not by being rude themselves. They should handle situations like that in the most professional way. PUBLIC SERVANT. If they can’t handle what is expected of them, then they should just get out of the government.

    • ikalwewe
      April 3, 2014

      Thanks for your comment. Cheers!

      • Roy
        October 9, 2014

        Perhaps, government frontline agencies should consider some sort of “anger management” (as part of customer service) system, wherein another person will intervene in case there is a “situation” in the frontline. In this case, Mr Carlo is no longer in the best position to manage the situation after the exchanges with the couple or after explaining in vain what the procedures are. There should be another person (of a higher position). What surprises me is (if it is true from the account of the wife) that he is the supervisor and yet he was the one attending to the couple (?). I can understand his frustration that lead to him “shouting” if he was the person attending to the couple all along, but if he is the person who steps in when the “situation” escalated, then he would be in another level. In other government agencies (the DFA main for one, the passport application submission), there is one person in charge of talking to, explaining to, answering questions from and assisting “customers” (not sure though if that system still exists until now). Be that as it may, it’s comforting to see through the case, unlike what I see very often on FB where one is left hanging on what happened afterwards. I have been a witness to many a similar situation and I can say that it takes a lot of patience to be in Mr Carlo’s position.

      • ikalwewe
        October 10, 2014

        Why all the comments now??????? This happened 6 months ago. But thanks for the comment.

  4. Chris
    April 4, 2014

    All accounts aside, considering his is true, why the phrase “shut up.” It’s a phrase that can never be defended. C’mon people!

    • ikalwewe
      April 4, 2014

      Thank you for your comment. Cheers!

  5. Toni
    October 9, 2014

    I believe you are right. There is always 2 sides of a story. Reading all the posts here just proves that Mr. Salazar did not do his job well. Why? It was mentioned in one of the comments of someone who was actually there that it was the foreigner who started raising his voice. IMO (in my opinion) what Mr Salazar should have done was explain to the couple for the last time that this is the policy. If you refuse to understand and continue raising your voice I will have to call security. It would been a much better thing to do than tell them to SHUT UP! It is part of their job, they are paid to handle situations like that in a PROFESSIONAL MANNER. By yelling at them too and telling them to shut up, you lose your integrity and lose the respect. Then you should be ready to be criticized. This is my opinion.

  6. Jose Rizal
    October 9, 2014

    After reading the eye witness statement, it had proven my suspicion that Carlo had reacted towards a loud action. Principle Laws of Attraction: Push and Pull in full effect. SADLY, at the end of the day. He being the professional, he being the public servant, he being guy upholding the policy…SHOULD NOT HAVE JUMPED ON THE HIGH HORSE AND RODE WITH THE KAZAHKSTANI. Yes the article proves that Social Media is a force to be reckoned with and can get truly brutal. It also proves Salazar to be did fail to uphold the basic definition of a public servant. Last time I checked, “servant” meant to give service or assistance. He obviously gave more than that. I’ve had my share of bitchin’ high profile clients. Still do now. Will they go away? Nope. Will I lose my cool? Probably, but in closed doors privately. Why? Because in a business where you interact with people, you will have your share of intellectually challenged individuals. You get paid to handle these situations without the power tripping. You own up the scenario. You choke on it if you have to. You don’t tell the client to shut up. If he or she isn’t understanding your guidelines, it means you have to dumb down the explanation. You don’t tell them to shut up. In this situation, the customer isn’t always right. One thing’s for sure though (according to the eye witness) which is close to defining the prologue of the whole story, Carlo Salazar lost his cool. He should be reprimanded for it. As for the Teacher and her Hubby, get a proper marriage contract certified copy and a SPA handy. Acts of prevention is more efficient than acts of rehabilitation. We already know our public government offices are saturated with policies undermining other policies and making it hell not only for the public but also for the frontlining public servants. Lastly Miss Teacher, teach your husband that don’t bite the hand that feeds you. With that kind of attitude, I’m sure he’s had his share of bitching a handful of waiters at restos. The same waiters that told the cooks and chefs to add “special” ingredients to his order :).

    • ikalwewe
      October 9, 2014

      I don’t know where my hits are coming from all of a sudden? But thanks for the comment

      • Jose Rizal
        October 10, 2014

        Social Media 🙂

  7. Dumdum
    October 9, 2014

    I think people’s penchant for viral, outlandish news in today’s ADHD-driven social media as part of the problem. If the agitated individual bothered to get Carlo’s side of the story, the post’s intensity and outrage would certainly have fizzled out, making it un-share-worthy. For the attention-starved or people desperate for validation via “likes” and “shares”, skewed versions of a story is preferable to seeing both sides of the coin.

    • Dumdum
      October 9, 2014

      Oh, and I’ll also add that too many of us like to place blame towards everyone else except ourselves. So few actually take the time to look in the mirror and rethink if maybe we should shoulder some of the blame ourselves.

      Just look at people complaining about horrible government then go out and vote the same set of retreads, their kin, and even their pet dogs again and again every 3 years.

    • ikalwewe
      October 9, 2014

      Wow. Where are you guys coming from? LOL. You are the third person to comment on this [somewhat dated] entry today. But thanks for your insight.

  8. Dale
    October 9, 2014

    Wow… ako tunay… given na sumigaw ang CLIENTS, dapat din ba siyang sumigaw in return as a public official? HINDI! Napakasimpleng sagot iyan. Bakit hindi i-air ang side ni Mr. Salazar para malaman ng publiko? Ang plano ng article na ito ay ipinakitang biktima si MR. SALAZAR… linisin ang pangalan… well, karapatan naman niya iyon. Baka magtataaka ka, Miss kung saan ako galing… 🙂

    • ikalwewe
      October 9, 2014

      Wow, all these comments. I wrote this in spring, it’s fall now! What’s going on? Why so much organic hits about my former classmate about an issue 6 months ago ? Is there a new issue related to him? thanks for the comment

  9. Dame Wit
    October 9, 2014

    The BI and the International airport are offices that should have polite and respectful employees. Carlo lost his cool plain and simple. Any human being just like him will react if the client sounds demanding and unwilling to listen or even follow the rules. And why not.. it is a given that many employees might bend the rules if given some “incentives” but in this case, there can be no bending of rules and the complainant should have sensed that already.. Carlo started to show his high horse being in a position to do so (acting God Like) and the complainant demading to be treated with respect (expecting a consent from Carlo to bend the rules) and also on a high horse.. then the combat begins.

  10. ResurfacedArticle
    October 9, 2014

    Two lessons to be learned:
    -Not to judge too quickly
    -Bad behavior is not justifiable

    I only knew of this story today, as a Facebook friend shared the link today. Was surprised to find out this happened back in summer pa pala :))

  11. Icei Nhell
    October 10, 2014

    Now this is so much BS. Regardless if the client raised her voice first, the government official is in no way in the proper place to shout at the person to shut up. I think that Salazar guy needs to be fired. He doesn’t deserve that position. If he doesn’t have the patience and the people management skills, I don’t think he is appropriate to his position to lead a department that is supposed to provide “customer service”. If you have an rowdy individual, there are better ways to handle the situation. Only stupid people will shout at the person to “shut up”. Apparently, this Salazar guy is stupid. Thus, I don’t think he ought to be in that position. We already have too many stupid people running government offices.

  12. lois
    October 10, 2014

    many of us are quick to believe that this happened because we have been, at one time or another, subject to insults, put-downs, indifference, and rudeness from government employees, including those from the BI. granted there are excellent civil servants out there, but there are more who are neither civil, nor understand that their work entails service. if you’ve never had a bad experience in any government agency, you’re fortunate… but it could be because you have a lot of classmates/friends/relatives in the government offices that you’ve had to go to.

    having said that, neither believe the posted story, nor your classmate’s… if you must, go to the office incognito and ask around, or observe… though, by now, he must be more subdued.

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