Under ordinary circumstances I'd have let pranks like this pass, but the severity and sordidness of what's written in the Friendster account, plus the fact that the guy has tried to link me to his shameful act by posting comments in my own account, compels me to issue this warning. Obviously, the site was created by someone with a huge axe to grind against Mr. Mabesa. The five testimonials posted so far on the account are all written in Mr. Mabesa's name, but no one would ever believe he could write such rubbish. Certainly not I.
Red flags bloomed in my head the moment I received an e-mail message saying I had a Friendster message from Mr. Mabesa. Now why would somebody like him bother to create a Friendster account? I checked the message, and it sounded even more dubious. After praising me for my "passion for theater and the arts" (in mangled English at that), it thanked me for my supposedly good review of his "Hamlet Redux."
I did not write a review of "Hamlet Redux." I wrote an advance feature about it some two weeks before the play opened. Contributor Walter Ang then came up with a review of it for the Inquirer. Anyone with half a bird's brain would know the difference between a feature story and a review. This "Tony Mabesa" on Friendster didn't. That only made me more doubtful.
A check of the other messages he tried to post on individual pictures in my account confirmed that I was dealing with a dirty loser. The posts were brimming with sycophantic praise and sexual innuendo. I deleted all the messages pronto. But you can see the general tenor and bile of his messages in the entries posted on the sham Friendster account, which slime not only Mr. Mabesa but also two well-regarded names in local theater, Jeremy Domingo and Liesl Batucan.
I feel very bad for all of them, but especially for Ms. Batucan, who is one of the nicest, most talented and hardworking persons I've had the pleasure of meeting in the industry. These people are not my friends--I've met them only in the course of my work covering theater--but I'm taking up the cudgels for them simply because what this guy has done to them (and tried to do to me) is a total outrage.
Whoever you are that's doing this, you should know that all it would take nowadays is a computer guy with middling abilities to track down your IP address and find out where you're located. This is not a threat, just a statement of fact. You leave a trail whenever you're online. I suggest you think again before you continue with what you're doing. If you have a problem with Mr. Mabesa--or Mr. Domingo and Ms. Batucan--be man or woman enough to identify yourself and take it up with them face-to-face. Not only is your bogus Friendster account a sign of cowardice, it is an indication of a mind seriously unhinged.
What could have pushed you to do this sleazy act? Let me guess: You're a frustrated theater guy--your posts seem to indicate you know a bit about the workings of Dulaang UP--and Mr. Mabesa must have chewed you up one time over some infraction. Now you're feeling all sorry for yourself, and in revenge you try to tar him with this vicious, low attack. Two words for you: Grow up. Better yet, seek treatment. Getting back at someone in this manner is not normal. And using people without their knowledge to do the dirty job for you is near-criminal.
This is not my first time to be victimized by online troglodytes. Some months ago someone tried posting a derogatory comment in ManilaGayGuy using my name. I didn't know about it until Migs, the site owner, forwarded me the message. Good thing he moderates the comments in his blog; he couldn't believe I wrote the entry, so he checked with me first.
I don't even moderate comments in this site. I like hearing feedback from my readers, and I like sharing my opinions with them, too. The price of such unrestricted openness, I suppose, is that from time to time you do get the useless trolls cluttering up your space. Now it's my Friendster account under some sort of siege, and whoever's doing it has the gall to cover his cretinous ass with the good name of Mr. Mabesa.