UPLB students are now questioning the motive behind Azanza’s candidacy.
(UPDATE AS OF AUGUST 10, 2020): UPLB chancellorship nominee Patrick Alain Azanza has sent an open letter to Perspective’s editor in chief Juan Sebastian Evangelista, clarifying his stances, saying he is not backed by Duterte Diehard Supporters (DDS) nor ‘Marcos apologists’ and how “it is a known fact in progressive circles where my [his] principles stand.”
He has also denied allegations of hiring trolls, saying that this is a black propaganda to ‘alienate’ him especially from his progressive supporters.
An alleged Duterte Diehard Supporter (DDS) troll account expressed support for UPLB chancellorship candidate Patrick Alain Azanza in Facebook posts and comments, alarming various individuals from UPLB.
The account named Vides Corona spammed numerous pro-Marcos and pro-Duterte Facebook groups, with the post from Perspective featuring Azanza with the caption, “Please support #Like Dr. #PatrickAzanza for #UPPartnerforChange #NOTOCPPNPARecruitment.”
All UP Academic Employees Union-Los Baños president Janette H. Malata-Silva confirmed that the content and message of the troll account are patterned with how the Duterte trolls make posts.
“Nakababahala ang mga screenshot [of the posts] dahil may senyales ito ng redtagging lalo na sa hashtag na #NOTOCPPNPARecruitment. Lalo pa’t naging isa sa mga matingkad na usapin noong presentasyon ang presensya ng mga militar sa loob ng campus,” Silva said.
Meanwhile, the Samahan ng Kabataan para sa Bayan (SAKBAYAN) UPLB pointed out that the presence of red-tagging and using trolls as a form of propaganda could reflect the character and political allegiance of Azanza.
“Kaya po, the UPLB community must remain vigilant and critical of the candidates in this Chancellor Selection. We need a pro-people [and] pro-student Chancellor especially now with the intensifying fascism of the government,” Jianred Faustino, SAKBAYAN-UPLB officer-in-charge, stated.
Angelo Aurigue, a Communication Arts student and UPLB University Student Council (USC) councilor, then agreed that Azanza might be a state-sponsored candidate that will push further or even railroad more anti-student and anti-people policies inside the campus.
“When you come to think of it, with the worsening state of human rights in the country and the student repression, having another chancellor who’s unwilling to heed to the stakeholders’ call will add more burden to the student movement,” he said.
The troll movement
Under the same post of UPLB Perspective, the troll account reiterated his support to Azanza, copy-pasting the same red-tagging statement in various comments of other people.
“We liked the vision of Dr. Patrick Azanza and WE support him in the #PartnerforChange because until now the problem there at the University is that the CPP NPA movement is still rampant. So it is time for change dahil ‘Kabataan ang Pag-asa ng ating bayan hindi Kabataan aalsa laban sa bayan’,” Corona stated.
The account also used the hashtags #RepublicofthePhilippines , #MalacañangOfficeofthePresident, and #PresidentRodrigoRoaDuterte.
In his Facebook account, Corona can also be seen sharing fake news contents and conspiracies in favor of the Marcoses and Dutertes. One of Vides’ shared posts supports Fabunan Anti-Viral Injection which is not an approved medication by the Food and Drug Administration.
On the other hand, a Facebook page named Gigi Bird who called Azanza “brother” thanked the posts of DDS. “Maraming Salamat DDS #PartnersForChange movement for supporting my brother, Dr. Patrick Azanza’s UPLB Chancellorship candidacy,” she shared in a Facebook post.
The post was now unavailable on Gigi Bird’s page. A UPLB student, however, was able to take a screenshot of it. [P]
Photo screenshot from Vides Corona Facebook Page