Jacquelyn Bermejo, a Filipino PR manager based in Dubai, became an instant online celebrity for all the wrong reasons overnight after a scandalous comment on the tragic wake of Typhoon Ondoy was made on her supposed Facebook account:
Read: "buti n lng am hir in dubai! maybe so many sinners bak der! so yeah deserving wat hapend!"
(It's good that I'm here in Dubai! Maybe [there are] so many sinners back there. So yeah, [they are] deserving of what happened!)"
As logic would have it and to Jackie's horror, this short post caught the ire and belligerence of the millions-strong Online Filipino Community sympathizing with the victims and survivors of Typhoon Ondoy -- and it wasn't just limited to Facebook, mind you:
The ire even went as far as using Yahoo! Answers to ask the people if Jacque Bermejo should be declared as Persona Non Grata in the Philippines and calling her a disaster to Filipinos worse than Ondoy.
Well, last night - in Dubai, Jacque finally broke her silence and gave an exclusive interview to Dindo Amparo, ABS-CBN Middle East News Bureau Chief, to clear her name once and for all. Here's the meat of their conversation:
“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,” she said in a statement.
“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.”
Finally, here's her full official statement:
“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 andI 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.
[Interview quote and official statement via ABS-CBNNews.com, Facebook grab courtesy of BlogPipiatBingi]