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Money and credulity drive Duterte’s ‘keyboard army’

By Rizal Raoul Reyes & Mia Rosienna Mallari | Correspondent

A YELLOW bill a day motivates this so-called Dutertroll. Bert (not his real name) spends at least five hours on Facebook every day and earns as much as P500 for doing so.

The 25-year-old works in a branch of a well-known Internet café. He said he spends his free time switching between seven carefully fabricated anonymous Facebook accounts he specifically made for amplifying any kind of posts related to President Duterte.

“’Yung iba, jejemon na ginagawa ko na pang-away. ’Yung iba naman kunyari disenteng tao—’yung may diskurso ba. Iba-iba para hindi halata [The other accounts are jejemons I use to rail people; other accounts I make appear as by a decent person engaging in discourse. I have created different accounts, so that it would appear these were made by different people],” Bert said, looking over the café counter.

According to Urban Dictionary, a jejemon is “anyone with a low tolerance in correct punctuation, syntax and grammar.”

Bert said he has been taking up offers of being a “keyboard warrior,” or an “online fighter,” as Bert describes himself since he was 20. He said he was part of a group of “warriors for rent,” but refused to divulge more information regarding their numbers.

Bert said he doesn’t consider himself a “troll,” a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community.

Job order

ACCORDING to Bert, Internet trolls are too many to count.

Basta madami kami. Madami ding grupo,” Bert said. “Ako minsan ginagawa ko na lang for fun ba, kasi nakakatawa mag-react ’yung mga tao. Lalo na kapag sa tingin nila totoong tao din ’yung inaaway nila online [Believe me, we’re many; there are also many groups. I sometimes do it for fun, because I get a kick from people’s reactions, especially when they treat the account as a real person].”

Bert said the group he belongs to has been active since the 2010 elections, and was formerly tasked to campaign online for a different political party, where the majority of the winning candidates came from. However, a better offer came during this year’s elections, he said.

According to Bert, all he knew was the “job order” came from an avid supporter of Duterte, not from someone working within the political system.

Bert lowered his voice as a customer checked out from his station and paid at the counter.

Basta ang sabi lang sa amin, mag-ingay at patunayan na solid ang suporta ng tao kay Duterte,” he said. “Syempre, susunod lang kami. Konting comment lang, pera na din ’yun ba [They just told us to create noise, and prove support to Duterte is solid. Of course, we’ll follow through, because a small comment also means money].”

Quite visible

ASIDE from the spicy and colorful character of the President, another noticeable element in the Duterte administration is the presence of people like Bert, who are quite visible in the social-media space.

Critics of the administration labeled them as paid hacks ready to defend ferociously the tough-talking President against any form of criticism.

“If you are saying that there is a formal, organized and government-paid group that is financially compensated to take the cudgels for the Duterte administration, I am not aware of that,” said Edgardo Clemente, chairman of the group called Metro Manila Duterte Movement. “I think that most of those who defend the President in cyberspace are mostly individuals who believe in what President Duterte stands for. To assume that the most vocal ones are paid hacks completely misses the point, because it will lull the Duterte detractors that once the money tap is closed, the Duterte supporters will wither away.”

Clemente also believes the anti-Duterte group operating in cyberspace does not have a financial backer, but are composed mostly of professionals who worked gratis—for free—during the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

‘Yellow Army’

CLEMENTE said his knowledge of the goings-on in the online social media comes from his experience as an administrator of the Facebook page of Mr. Aquino.

He mentioned there was a group of people who was called as the “Yellow Army,” in reference to the Aquino bloc’s political color.

“I know several of their members, some of whom are still active today against [Mr.] Duterte,” Clemente claims. “But they are mostly professionals and were never paid during the P-Noy administration nor are they paid today.”

He said the majority of the groups he formed and administered for Mr. Aquino were used in the plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the impeachment case against the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, and the plunder charges against Sens. Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Jose Estrada.

Due to a falling out with a member of the Yellow Army, Clemente said he agreed to divide their group.

“These same groups were used for the [Manuel] Roxas presidential campaign and are also active in the current anti-Duterte sphere.”

According to Clemente, the members he got from those who bolted out of the Yellow Army are the ones actively defending Duterte in the social-media sphere.

He also claims to have managed to recruit millions of other members in the months before the 2016 presidential elections.

Clemente said he has offered the use of these members to key officials of the Duterte administration, “but they declined”.

He added that some group members may not be Filipino citizens or in the voting age of 18. Facebook admits members as young as 14 years old.

“There could [also] be duplications in people joining more than one of our [Facebook] groups.”

All work

BERT said their group leader is a fortyish man who gives out assignments to people who are available.

No names are dropped, no employers are ever known, he said in Filipino. All we know is that if we keep the comments coming, the money comes in, too, he added.

Bert said he also has no information about his fellow trolls. He’s not certain regarding their identity or whether the accounts they are working under are made up, as well.

For most of us, this is all work. The money puts food on the table. The more accounts you have, the better, he added.

“Sideline lang naman po ’to, ma’am; extra ba. Maliit lang bayad ko dito sa shop. Pero hanggang pito lang kaya ko i-manage [This is just a sideline for me, ma’am, something extra. What I pay for use of the computer in this shop is small. But I can only manage seven accounts].”

When asked about how he manages to argue all day, he said he doesn’t have to make sense all the time. Bert said he just has to support Duterte and continuously bash the Liberal Party. He said he reads articles from time to time to get information on current events to make some of his fake accounts’ discourse more believable.

Madali madala ang mga tao sa Facebook. Napatunayan na namin [It’s easy to sway people on Facebook. We’ve proven it].”

 

Image courtesy of
90 comments
  1. panigurado ako na dilawan lang naman ang my pakana niyan gusto lang nila siraan ang pangulo itong mga dilawan naninira pero sila lang naman ang may gawa-gawa niyan!.

  2. hoy mga dilawan kayo lang naman gumagamit ng trolls para suportahan ang mga gingawa niyo na walang kabuluhan at para siraan ang pangulo tanggapin niyo na lang kasi na sadyang marami lang tlaga na supporters si tatay Digong

  3. ano ba naman yan Dutae kailngan mo pa tlaga ng trolls para lang suportahn ka?kasi naman huwag ka mamilit kung ayaw sayo ng mga tao!

  4. yan ang mga istilo ng mga destabilizer ng mga yellow army yung mga ginagawa nila ay binibintang sa mga supporter ni duterte

  5. hooo mga dilawan lang namn ang may pakana niyan gusto lng siraan ang pangulo hindi naman yun mangyayari dahil madami ang naniniwala sa pangulo.

  6. ano ba naman yan Dutae ngkakaroon ka pa ng mga paid trolls para lang purihin ka at suportahn ka! naku naman malala na sapak mo!

  7. Nakakatawa ang mga comments accusing this article as dilawan, Come on, andami nang lumabas na articles on Duterte trolls and bots . Especially sa Inquirer, you will see 5-7 comments showing up every so often having the same text but different accounts na off-topic or has nothing to do with an article. As if naman you don’t see it online everyday also how dissenters get attacked and mobbed with nonsense arguments o pang-aasar lang by fake accounts. What about the fake news from dubious websites and stupid memes being shared not only by fanatics but mismo cabinet members ni Duterte? Best president in the solar system, Americans want to borrow Duterte, Justin Trudeau seeking alliance with Duterte and many more. Lol. Kaya nga there are FB pages dedicated to busting fake news because of the Duterte social media machinery of lies and deception. But I guess ang nagko-comment dito ay either the trolls or just the gullible supporters na naniniwala sa mga fake news at kasinungalingan ng Duterte camp. Don’t us! Bistado na kayo.

    1. Libre nga halos yung campaign nya…mga supporters nga ang gumastos tapos ngayon magbayad na ng trolls….stupid article….clear fabrication

      1. The Duterte camp attributed their win to online warriors who influenced public opinion through social media and this is no fairy tale. It was on the news. And what won him the elections will also keep him in power hence the government has NEVER issued a statement against online harassment of dissenters by his rabid followers, whether they are real accounts or not. How can you explain the bots and the fake news that I mentioned earlier? You think the software for internet bots and domain names of fake news sites do not cost money? Now who would pay for them? They promote Duterte and discredit the opposition. Alangan naman mga dilawan gagastos para sirain ang sarili nila.

          1. Yes, anyone can claim to be a Duterte paid troll and get away with it because of numerous manifestations of Duterte trolling across social media after the fact. Hehe.

          2. This article is proof enough. Like I said, too many manifestations online pointing to it as true.

          3. Lol. Which results are you talking about? That we are as safe as Singapore according to Cayetano, in a state of lawlessness according to your lord almighty Digong that he even intends to suspend habeas corpus or the body count of over 5,000 victims of EJKs with cops being involved in them? I believe you’re not a paid troll because you are not getting any proper coaching of what to write here.

          4. Yeah, the simple-minded theory of fanatics is that when you’re an addict or pusher, you are also a rapist, if not, a murderer. Has any rape victim identified her rapist from among the dead bodies piled up by the PNP at all? None that I have read so far. Regardless, were those who turned up dead really the bad guys or were they potential witnesses that needed to be silenced by cops involved in the drug trade? Cops seem to always get a free pass from the president despite documented evidence of EJKs against them. And while the little people are getting killed, the biggest drug lord, Peter Lim, continues to go about his usual business. After vowing to kill him, the president has been silence about him since their meeting in Malacanang. Only a few dots to connect here, don’t you think?

          5. I’m sure the killings committed by cops because “nanlaban” and cops disguised as vigilantes do not land in the stats no. Hehehe.

          6. Without due process we wouldn’t know that, would we? But 99.99% of criminals still living are cops. And there will be no proliferation of drugs if cops do not work in collusion with drug lords. If you’re not a troll or you’re dilawan (lol), you would be able to discern that.

          7. Lol. Have we ever been this divided before? Sabagay, why should I even care or why should Bato be reduced to tears because he no longer knows who to trust among his men? Statistics show victims of EJKs, TokHang surrenderers and even those what you call collateral damage were Duterte supporters. Enjoy your imagined world of Dutertopia. Ciao.

          8. what division? 90%-7%-2%? where 90% is the consistent number for du30, 7 for abstain and 2 for you? Is that a division? hehehehe

            Youre group cant even muster a mammoth crowd even if you bring the anti marcos card hehehehehe

          9. Hahaha! Clearly you are blog reader and not a news reader. You take surveys without reading the fine print, FB likes and views as a gauge for your lord almighty’s popularity. And as for the rallies, you guys could only muster 30 counter-protesters from 11 the previous rally so where are the Mocha Usons of Dutertopia? What Marcos card? You think it is always about motive. Duterte is a psychopath, a narcissist and an absolute trapo and Marcos wannabe who is big on utang na loob even to plunderers like the Marcoses. He is bayaran and that is no fault of LP, the church or whoever and whatever.

          10. Uy! reputing without substance hehehehe tingna mo lang rally nyo mga mongoloid hehehehe kakapirangot lang sumali hehehe

            Du30, was able to gather 2M in one night in metro manila, remember?…

          11. Are you talking about the ORGANIZED rally at Luneta during the campaign? 2M? Hahahahahaha! 50k tops. You only occupied a portion of the park. The entire park kahit na without structures and trees CANNOT accommodate 500k people based on the land area, 2m pa kaya? Hahahahaha! You guys just exchange fairy tales with each other don’t you? Kaya fake news proliferate because of gullible people like you. Also why compare the anti-Marcos rallies with the election rallies? You are just trolling.

          12. Are you hallucinating? hello! hehehehe ogok lang maniwala sa yo hehehe

            I am using that rally because the yellowtards are using it as a chance for a possible power…..pero naging Langaw Power hehehe

          13. You’re the one who’s hallucinating. 2m vs. ilang hectares lang ang Luneta Park? And why use a lie to justify a conspiracy theory that the yellowtards are seeking power? Wala ka bang common sense? Hello! Your lord almighty controls the PNP, AFP, communists and rebels, both houses of kiss-asses and maniacs, the oligarchs, religious groups, hundreds of online propagandists and of course, the 16m cult followers. How many politicians remain in LP? You can count with both hands kung ilan nalang because the lot of them jumped ship to Duterte’s party after the elections. Napaka-bobo na talaga for anyone who would even imagine the yellowtards have the means to topple a government when politically, Duterte is invincible. The protests are a matter of principle. It’s about a tyrant given a hero’s burial and whose family is trying to crawl back into power at all costs without even so much as an apology for their plunder and atrocities. Is that so hard to comprehend ba? Kahit a quarter of 1 of 3 parts of the brain lang ang gamitin, madali namang intindihin. Your god chose thieves over the people who suffered under Martial Law and why would that not cause an outrage? Just build a church in which to worship your god instead of trying to influence others with your ignorance and stupidity.

          14. Well, you can review the news items with police estimates of the crowd. The police that time where still controlled by the yellowtard pres hehehehe

          15. I read a lot and police estimates then varied with the highest count being 50K thereabouts so I don’t know from what comic book you got your 2M. But you are a Dutertard known for your exaggeration, fantasies and lies. No point arguing with you. Just google Luneta Park, see its land area and assume that a standing person occupies 1 square meter. If I had crayons I would draw pictures for you since your brain doesn’t seem to have a function for analysis.

          16. you can view the aerial picture youreself hehehehe….it was branded as record crowd in Phil history hehehe

          17. Yun nga, the aerial shot exposed the lie of claims it was more than 50K. It’s impossible because the space or the park is fixed and cannot be manipulated.

          18. Maybe you’re looking at the aerial picture of the recent anti Marcos burial rally? Hehehe

          19. It is stupid to repute my claim when everybody knew du30 got landslide vote in Metro Manila hehehehe

          20. Hahahaha! By your logic, the 7 and then 11 Duterte counter-protesters at the anti-Marcos rallies should therefore be 700K and 1.1M on account of Duterte’s landslide victory and not because of the actual body count. Stop embarrassing yourself. This is a public forum and stupidity is not something to be proud of.

          21. Is there a need for a pro du30 rally? None of course..no body is calling for one…the administration is in pure comfort zone right now heheheheh

          22. Without due process how do you know it’s Duterte or the cops who pulled the trigger? How do you know it’s not the cartel and their ilks (rogue cops, trained assassins, gang wars) http://www.philstar.com:8080/nation/2014/01/24/1282595/de-lima-2-assassins-out-vs-mexican-drug-cartel-members Maybe you’d rather the Philippines turn into this, where the cartels reach a point so powerful that they control a big chunk of law enforcement and politicians and fear no one. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2139876/Mexico-drug-war-9-bodies-hanged-bridge-14-decapitated-heads-found.html

          23. So if the opposition wants to win next election and add/win over Du30 voters, Ka-DDS OFW’S & their families, their strategy is to insult, lie and undermine the supporters of Du30 and call them trolls and bots? That sounds like a winning strategy. They should keep doing that.

    1. During campaign period mga supporters nya nag ambag2 ng supporta tapos ngayon mag bayad na ng trolls? It does not add up, clearly this is a fabrication…this guy is paid to say that he is a paid du30 troll…

  8. Yup! Don’t waste your time on these trolls, folks! Bayad sila! Sulong lang tayo! #StopTheKillings #MarcosNOTaHero

  9. Rather than being swamped with fake news, I just unfollow or hide any post with a “Duterte bleh-bleh-bleh” title.

  10. Are they really Duterte trolls? These people are more like Bongbong trolls who are only latching on association with Duterte as I usually do not see Duterte supporters who voted another VP to be as rude, inconsiderate, or making arguments that do not make any sense.

  11. Mang mang lang maniwala dito LOL minahal ng tao si duterte base sa ginagawa niya at hindi un kayang palitan ng mga troll article na tulad nito. Desperate move by yellow army indeed. Kwentong trillanes ba ito ? may imaginary friend nanaman. Hayss.

  12. BS. 16 million voters shows this. This Bert is simply a paid troll. If totoo man ito (doubt it) kung bibigyan siya ng mas maliking offer sa kabila, kukunin niya rin for sure. Doesn’t matter whose side he’s in, ang importante kikita siya ng malaki.

    Proof pls. Talk is cheap.

  13. Why on God’s green earth would Duterte’s administration even bother to pay trolls to boost him online when 16+ million voters put him in presidency? That in itself speaks of how many supporters he has from the get-go, supporters who’re willing to go above and beyond to put him in the seat of power. PLEASE… This administration(except for HER EXCELLENCY Robredo who’s busy with pictorials and leisure travels) is already up to its neck in dealing with pressing issues to clean and mop up the gargantuan mess that the previous president and his people have left behind, while at the same time working to make government services efficient and red tape free. There’s really no point in paying trolls to ruin the already ruined and mucked up reputation of the LP party, thanks to their own doing, I should say. These “paid trolls” you’re talking about (including myself), are real people who have been disillusioned and betrayed by the previous administrations who’ve made broken promises only to be left more angry and thirsting for CHANGE.

      1. Just because you’re an idiot, I’ll excuse your poor Math. Out of that 54 million you stated, some voted for the other candidates who ran remember? Or have you forgotten that? Duterte got the majority vote. With his approval rate at this point, he’s got more than the 16M+ suporters who voted for him originally.

        1. You know, paid hack, no need for ad hominem attacks. Shows how lowly your parents have raised you. I pity you and them.

          /, some voted for the other candidates who ran remember?/
          Thanks captain obvious. You just confirmed na they don’t trust your panginoong Rude-rigo Du-dirty. HAHAHAHAAHAHA.

          You only got ‘plurality’ not ‘majority’. If you are to visit it again, MAJORITY (that is 36 million out of 54 million voters) chose to not vote for Rude-rigo Du-dirty.

          1. Then again, with Mar Roxas only getting 9 million votes out of the 55 million registered voters, the 45 million people chose not to vote for him.

            Honestly, if Mar Roxas won, it’s another 6 years of idle government and no action.
            And you sir, are one narrow minded person.

          2. Ano pakialam ko kay Roxas? I did not vote for him last elections. You just assumed my political views? Mehehehe. Apparently you guys are full of false dichotomy, eh?

          3. the fact that Digong got more votes than the other 4 candidates should be enough. if Digong should’ve not won as President, then who should?

          4. Meh. I better think that I did not get the absolute majority vote. That seems I didn’t sit well with the voting population. Imagine that.

            As for which President, I’m not going to debate on that. It would be moot anyway.

  14. Pffft. It wasn’t Dutertards caught red-handed with envelopes during the elections. I think that says enough already.

  15. IDIOTIC article!!! Hindi naman sa pagma-mayabang ang sahod ko dito sa Singapore ay equivalent sa PHP 187K!!! Araw araw kong tinitira ang mga IDIOT na YELLOWTARD!! Lalong lalo na ang IDIOT na mainstream media gaya ng IDIOT_RAPPLER at IDIOT_INQUIRER!!! Nasaan ang PHP500???

    Be realistic mga IDIOT YELLOWTARD !!! Paano ako mababayaran ni PDUTERTE ehhh mas maganda pa bahay ko sa kanya???

    Isang napakalaking TANGA!! ang naniniwala sa fake na article nato!!

  16. IDIOTIC article!!! Hindi naman sa pagma-mayabang ang sahod ko dito sa Singapore ay equivalent sa PHP 187K!!! Araw araw kong tinitira ang mga IDIOT na YELLOWTARD!! Lalong lalo na ang IDIOT na mainstream media gaya ng IDIOT_RAPPLER at IDIOT_INQUIRER!!! Nasaan ang PHP500???

    Be realistic mga IDIOT YELLOWTARD !!! Paano ako mababayaran ni PDUTERTE ehhh mas maganda pa bahay ko sa kanya???

    Isang napakalaking TANGA!! ang naniniwala sa fake na article nato!!

  17. I dont believe this guy…sounds like he is paid to claim that he trolls for du30 hehehe

    I myself is trolling for the pres yet I did not receive even a single centavo hehehehe

  18. WHAT an ARTICLE from BusinessMirror…
    such a lowly class to publish something like this.
    mukhang kayo ata ang bayaran…

    REVIEW your article. what a shame. a waste of time.
    you have just shown your TRUE COLORS.

    #yellowPAIDoligarchs?
    #mainstreamMEDIA #MISLEADING
    gaya lang pala kayo ng
    #INQUIRER, #PhilippineStar at #ABSCBN pagdating sa politics.

    tsk. tsk. tsk. enough is enough.

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