NBI asked to probe ‘scandalous’ memes on Deles, Ferrer and Iqbal
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A Mindanao-based peace activist has called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into memes portraying Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos-Deles, government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) negotiator Mohagher Iqbal “in a highly scandalous and sexually perverted manner.”
Mary Ann Arnado of the Mindanao People’s Caucus said the NBI should also prosecute those behind the proliferation of these memes on social media and the Internet.
“So let me say this to those who made the memes: you are sexual harassers. And, because you are sexual harassers, I urge the National Bureau of
Investigation (NBI) to investigate who you are and file cases against you,” she said in a media statement.
Arnado said she took personal offense with “the foul images.”
“Whoever did this is a rabid anti-Muslim, anti-peace maniac whose gutter style propaganda deserves the condemnation of all women in this country and all over the world,” she said.
Arnado said she was holding Senator Alan Peter Cayetano responsible for the proliferation of these memes “because it was he who resorted to verbal
attacks that poisoned the minds of the public against these two women.”
She said Cayetano should issue a public apology, within March, the month dedicated to women, over his “venomous and highly irresponsible statement that effectively massacred, maligned and demonized the good names of these two (women) internationally acclaimed peacemakers.”
Arnado said she was no “big fan” of Deles and Ferrer but she has decided to defend them from sexual harassment.
“If he is indeed a statesman and public servant, Cayetano owes this apology to each and every self-respecting woman of this country. And it is fitting for Cayetano to issue the public apology this March, which is the world’s women’s month,” Arnado said.
In a recent article published online, Sylvia Estrada Claudio of the University of the Philippines’ Center for Women’s Studies, said it was not difficult to be convinced that the “Philippine culture is sexist and that a whole lot of men out there think it’s okay to be sexually violent to women… Look at what these people have come up with,” Claudio wrote.
“I am incensed that whenever some people disagree with a woman, they degenerate to hitting her through the sexual and intimate. This is a hatred of women, our bodies and our sexuality masquerading as political commentary,” she added.
Arnado also defended Deles and Ferrer from accusations of treason by saying they have “succeeded in convincing the biggest Islamic revolutionary
movement in Asia to sign a peace agreement with our government.”
“How can that be treason? How can that be Stockholm syndrome? How can Alan Peter Cayetano fault these two women for simply doing their jobs? Clearly the forty years of bloodshed and war did not solve the problem. Where the military had failed in bringing peace, these women have succeeded through peaceful negotiations,” Arnado added.
She also questioned the silence of “chauvinistic senators and media” on President Aquino’s role in the peace process while portraying Ferrer for
example as “a sly, treacherous woman who misled the President by actually working for the enemy.”
“Why single out these two women whom we know are mere agents of the principal, President Aquino himself. Why shoot the messenger? Alan Peter Cayetano, who is the majority floor leader in the Senate and a known ally of the President, obviously does not have the balls to lash out directly at the President so he merely directs his venom against these women,” she said.
Arnado described Cayetano’s tirades as “double-standard.”
“This, for me, is the most classic, glaring example of an anti-woman, chauvinistic mentality that had long been condemned by the civilized world as a thing of the past,” she added.
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