A nasty and insensitive Facebook status of one Jacqueline “Jacque” Bermejo circulated last Sunday, drawing a barrage of negative reactions from people here and abroad. I did not get to see the actual Facebook wall of Bermejo but I did see a screenshot of the status and the comments of people. See the picture below for the screenshot.
It was hot topic in the office today and it certainly drew yet another batch of disgusted reactions. I even joined the hate brigade because really, who would not be appalled by this display of rudeness?
Around 2 pm, I received a message from a townmate and former classmate of Ms. Bermejo, a person who happens to be one of my closest friends now. She knew Bermejo from way back and was shocked because the Bermejo she knew is not capable of doing anything like that. For one, and no offense to those who prefer to use SMS language or text shortcuts, she said Bermejo does not talk that way. (Note that the Facebook status said: “buti n lng am hir in dubai!maybe so many sinners bak der! so yeah deserving wat hapend!” )My friend appealed for fairness and clarification because the real Jacque Bermejo, who is really in Dubai, by the way, is distressed and is afraid to go out of the house due to the number of hate mails she is receiving.
I do not know Jacque Bermejo personally. Other people have “investigated” and stood firm that it really was Jacque Bermejo who made the rude statements. Some people stepped up and defended her; former classmates in UP, relatives in the province, friends abroad. If she indeed wrote the concerned Facebook comments, shame on her. However, there are always two sides to every story. I leave the decision to you as to what and who to believe.
My good friend forwarded Ms. Bermejo’s open letter explaining her side of the story. This is what she has to say:
I am issuing this statement to clear my name in the current controversy in which I allegedly posted a highly insensitive and offensive message on the social networking website, Facebook, in relation to the victims of typhoon Ondoy that recently struck parts of the Philippines.
About two years ago, an anonymous source created these accounts using my identity, posting my personal details, my real pictures captioned roughly and attacking other people. Because of these incidents, I reported such abuses and sent my credentials to the administrators of such sites, particularly Facebook. I have been abused and am still being abused online in social networking websites such as Facebook, Friendster, Multiply etc.
In the early stages, I was advised by close friends to ignore the situation, saying this would simply go away. Unfortunately, it has not stopped. Hence, I filed a complaint with the Dubai Police about eight months ago hoping they could help me with my problem. Should anyone wish to check my statement, my case is still under investigation with said authorities.
Time passed and these sites continued to generate malicious, obscene and cruel messages that are widely exposed and relayed to the public under my name.
Yesterday, September 27th 2009, I received phone calls from my close friends regarding very alarming posts in the above mentioned websites that directly offended flood victims as a result of typhoon Ondoy..
These malicious statement(s) which are posted under account names Jacque or Jackie are not of my doing. It is unfortunate that such statements were maliciously attributed to me and I do sympathize and understand the adverse and somehow verbally violent reaction that has been elicited by such insensitive statements or posts. Rest assured, I have taken every legal step that can be done in this regard.
I too, have become a victim as much as those who may have lost their lives and properties to such a devastating natural calamity. This recent controversy has greatly affected my reputation, my family, and my friends. I am devastated and shocked at the extent my character, my personal information and private space have been violated.
I have a deep respect and regard for my country. I am proud to be a Filipino and would never say or do anything to harm the interest of my country or countrymen. I have also had the privilege of participating in civic-oriented activities in Dubai, particularly in trying to help my fellow countrymen seek employment during the height of mass layoffs brought about by the ongoing global financial crisis, as well as those seeking employment for the first time. Making a mockery of any unfortunate incidents befalling any of my fellow Filipinos is simply contrary to my character. I condemn the person or persons behind these malicious acts to impute damage on my integrity and I hope that you can dig deep into your hearts and minds to truly find the truth in all these.
Now you be the judge. I believe the pertinent lessons here are one, always be careful of what you say in cyberspace. There is a very thin line between exercising your freedom of speech and being tactful and responsible. Sure, we can blurt statements about what we feel but timing is also everything. Two, we should take circulating information with a grain of salt. Always consider the other side of the coin. Always check the veracity of sources and do not be carried away by hype. I am guilty of this sometimes and it really burns. You could ruin a reputation, a career, a life. Three, always keep in mind the Golden Rule, and that karma often comes now expeditiously. I guess it applies to whichever side you choose to believe in this spectacle.
Most importantly, in the face of disaster and pending major rehabilitation, let us focus our energies on helping out those who need it most.