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[IRL] RED TAG, BAIT AND SWITCH


By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento



In the old days, they called them DPA for Deep Penetration Agent, which is just a mole or a sleeper by other dishonourable names. Reality is not as it seems. Trust no one. We live in dangerous, but interesting times. DPAs figured in the bloody history of the Communist Party of the Philippines. The CPP was said to have killed at least 9000 such suspected DPAs in purges during the 1980s. The stillborn revolution managed to eat its own children.


Unlike trolls who are paid to openly harass and insult their boss’s perceived enemies, DPAs try to pass. They are shape shifters and masters of subterfuge and deception. Notice how the term Manchurian Candidate became part of the lingua franca during the last campaign. Recently, I believe I spotted a likely DPA in a certain Facebook Messenger Chat Group, populated by several prominent Left-of-Center personages, and administered by an outwardly genial, elderly Pinklawan. I’ll call this suspected DPA: KIM, after her initials. Those are probably not her proper names anyway, and even her true age or gender are uncertain. The CG admin was infuriatingly evasive about exactly who she was. KIM’s locked FB profile shows she lives at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antartica, a whimsical fabrication for sure, although it also says she’s from Batangas City. That part might actually be true, as she did claim to be building up “a force” south of Metro-Manila and needed equipment and a crew. It’s hard to live a total lie.



KIM’s posts alternated between paroxysms of post-election despair and casual calls to take up arms. Eg., gusto ko nang mamatay. . . mukang in our lifetime, hindi na yan maaayos. . mag-migrate nalang ako, kaya lang ang mahal ng processing at placement fee. . . magtitinda nalang ako ng gulay sa palengke—a fate that she seemed to consider worse than death. She mentions that she had once been a Quiz Bee Champion, so her expectations were higher than retail. If true, her depression over this election loss was worsened by her supposedly getting two weeks notice that her contract was not being renewed: San Ako makahanap Ng trabaho ngayon. 1 year Bago Ako na-employ sa stable job. Mawawala na naman pala. Buti di Ako nag apply sa JP Morgan e. Isa yun sa unang nag pull out. . .

When she was not flailing about melodramatically, or wallowing in the depths of despair, Kim was exhorting the C.G. participants to post-election violence: “be prepared to die and to kill” or words to that effect. She even urged them to gate crash the non-existent (UniTeam) celebration at Solaire, which she pointed out was a strategic way to get them all in one place—not in order to join in their festivities, but to wreak mayhem, as her previous posts implied. When no one reacted, KIM lazily suggested “disarming the armed forces,” although she didn’t give any constructive suggestions as to how civilian keyboard warriors might ever do that. She hysterically declared that the June 30 proclamation must be stopped.


Getting bolder, or perhaps more desperate, as no one was biting or reacting to her running off at the mouth, she ordered the bombing of Congress. Fighting words, surely. Ordinary Filipinos had been detained for far less. KIM seemed incredibly fearless and confident that she could get away with trash talking the incumbent and the incoming administrations. She must have friends in high places. Another weird thing about her posts was the frequency with which she pressed Enter, so that her many verbose inanities were broken up into short unpunctuated phrases. Was she paid for the number of Enter’s, or was it because she just wanted every phrase to fit in the width of a typical phone screen?


Then there was her boastful whining about how she was supposedly the only Pinay invited to some obscure socialist conference in Bangkok because no one else wanted to attend. Nakakapagtaka talaga na walang ibang Pilipinong gustong pumunta—ang sarap pa naman mag-shopping at kumain sa Bangkok. Kaya lang, hindi rin daw si KIM makaka-attend kasi na-endo na nga siya at wala siyang pang-airfare, o pang-gastos sa hotel. Haaayysst!!!


At one point, she typed “Himala walang trolls! Hahaha” Maybe that’s because when she looks in a mirror, there is no reflection. That happens when you do not have a soul.


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Menchu Aquino Sarmiento is an award-winning writer and a social concerns advocate. IRL (In Real Life) are short verbal pagmumuni-muni, the essay equivalent of fast fiction--but in real life. She really wants more Filipinos to care, and to do something legal and non-violent about it, preferably together, so that we act more like a civilized country, a mature democracy.

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