Liza Soberano sues netizen for libel and threats over rape remark, says ABS-CBN - The Most Popular Lists


Liza Soberano sues netizen for libel and threats over rape remark, says ABS-CBN

Actress Liza Soberano has sought legal action against a netizen who in an online comment threatened to have her raped, her network ABS-CBN and management Star Magic said on Thursday. (FILE PHOTO)

POPULAR actress Liza Soberano filed a formal criminal case against an employee of an internet service provider who posted a rape threat about her on social media.

On Thursday morning, the 22-year-old–accompanied by her manager Ogie Diaz and legal counsel, lawyer Jun Lim, lodged her complaint at the Quezon City Hall of Justice versus a certain Melissa Olaes for violating the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News’ MJ Felipe, Soberano declared, “I was really upset, because the fact that it’s a rape joke, it’s not something that should be taken lightly. And the fact that she’s a woman, I would never in a million years do a joke like that.”

“I know that everybody is entitled to their own opinion, that is true, but at some point, you have to be respectful to others online. I want people to learn that there are consequences to everything like rape jokes because that is not a light matter,” she added.

Meanwhile, in an official statement sent to media by her legal counsel, Lim said that Soberano’s move is an assertion of her right to be treated with respect.

“She stood up not just for herself but also on behalf of those silent victims of ‘rape jokes’ and malicious statements perpetrated by a few irresponsible members of the social media community. Ms. Soberano reminds us once again that women must be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their status in life,” it read.

‘Rape is not a joke’

On Sunday, September 20, the phrase “rape is not a joke” trended on Twitter Philippines after a number of Soberano’s fan accounts discovered Olaes’ remarks on Facebook against their idol. It appeared shortly after Soberano ranted about Converge ICT Solutions Inc.’s slow internet speed and poor customer service on social media.

“Wala tayong magagawa, wala ng trabaho, kaya di bale ng masira ang image, magkapera lang. Sarap ipa-rape sa mga… ewan!” read Olaes’ Facebook post. Soberano’s supporters, in doing research, alleged Olaes is an employee of Converge and holds the position of Sales Head Personnel.

Meanwhile, as screenshots of Olaes’ post made the rounds of social media, a netizen soon urged Soberano and her manager not to allow this very lewd remark to slide as if an ordinary basher wrote it.

“Don’t worry we won’t let this one pass. They know my address,” Soberano replied to the concerned netizen.

On September 21, Converge’s official Twitter account took up the issue and stated how management is “deeply concerned about the wrongful comments and behavior of some [of their] employees over social media.”

While the tweet did not necessarily refer to the Soberano’s rape threat, they added “We do not tolerate such actions toward any customer and emphasize that their personal opinions do not reflect the company’s perspective, values, and culture. We are currently dealing with this matter and we will carry out disciplinary measures accordingly.”

What really happened

This latest social media controversy began earlier this month when Soberano expressed frustration over the slow internet speed and poor customer service of Converge on her official Twitter account.

“Converge really needs to start fixing their internet speed. I am an unhappy customer…Can’t even answer the phone whenever we call. How unprofessional,” she wrote on September 6.

Not long after, PLDT spotted her complaint and offered the actress an internet connection replacement, which they delivered the very next day.

Soberano happily updated her fans about what happened and posted, “Okay so @pldt came to my house yesterday and hooked me up with the best internet I have ever experienced in my whole 5 years of living in this house. 300 MBPS. What a lifesaver. Lag? I don’t know her.”

While many netizens shared Soberano’s happiness, there were others who started an argument, accusing PLDT of “favoritism” what with many of the company’s customer complaints being hardly addressed.

In a separate post on September 9, Soberano clarified she meant no harm in her PLDT tweet, saying, “In no way was it my intention to brag. I was just genuinely relieved to finally have fast internet. I know it’s a problem we are all struggling with now. So please, to all the internet providers please do your best to help people out especially at a time like this when internet has become an essential. We’re all trying to survive and get school and work done.”

It was in the same post, the actress called out a Converge employee who allegedly revealed her personal details online.

“And to that employee of my ex-internet provider who divulged [my] personal information. Don’t try to turn this on me. My whole rant was about bad customer service. That’s pretty sketchy of you trying to make it look like it’s my fault why I have bad internet,” she said.

It is unclear whether this particular employee is also Converge’s Olaes who posted the rape threat.

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This article first appeared on The Manila Times.

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