Philippines Legislator Offers Up Bill That Would Criminalize ‘Ghosting’
from the just-full-of-bad-ideas dept
Real problems are what legislators are supposed to be solving. The Philippines has plenty of those, ranging from (government-endorsed) extrajudicial killings of drug dealers and drug users to abuses of state power to silence journalists to the actual murders of human rights activists.
But legislators with their own axes to grind will always find ways to hone this edge, even if it means subjecting themselves to international ridicule. Enter Representative Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves, Jr. It appears Teves hasn’t been so lucky with the ladies (or anyone anywhere else on the sexual orientation spectrum… the bill does not specify). His personal problems (or, more charitably, the problems of his influential friends) are now supposed to be a national problem — one that can only be solved by criminalizing a passive form of rejection. (h/t Aubry Andrews)
The rep has introduced a bill that would criminalize the act of “ghosting.” For those unfamiliar with internet slang, it may appear Teves is trying to criminalize the act of being a ghost. (Webster’s Ye Olde English Dictionary, perhaps.)
But ghosts actually engage in “haunting,” which is not the same thing as “ghosting.” Ghosting is something else. Ghosting is disengaging from a relationship (short-term or long-term) by ignoring all calls, IMs, text messages, emails, etc. from a paramour until the problem ultimately solves itself. If one interested person can’t get a response from a disinterested person, sooner or later the interested person stops trying.
Given the nature of this bill [PDF], we are definitely allowed to assume Arnie Teves has been ghosted often enough to make it a federal crime. Behold this bitter lead-in, which could have been composed by any number of incels who believe relationships and sexual gratification are unassailable rights.
AN ACT DECLARING GHOSTING AS AN EMOTIONAL OFFENSE
The bill is an entertaining read, albeit one that almost makes you feel embarrassed for its author. Almost. But not quite. It’s actually an indicator of Teves’ extreme sense of entitlement, one that apparently encompasses the bodies, minds, and emotions of anyone Teves would like to fuck. And it’s presented as something that’s supposed to help the emotional well-being of all Filipinos, but those who have been passively rejected are considered more worthy of legal protection than those performing the rejection.
Ghosting is a form of spite that develops feelings of rejection and neglect. Ghosting has adverse effects on the mental state of the one being ghosted and his or her emotional state is still adversely affected as he or she will constantly be thinking of the welfare or the unexplained reasons of the one being ghosted. The ambiguity with ghosting, is that there is no real closure between the parties concerned and as such, it can be likened to a form of emotion cruelty and should be punished as an emotional offense because of the trauma it causes to the “ghosted” party.
Teves does not specify a punishment in this bill. Nor does he point to any pre-existing “emotional offense” laws justifying the passage of this one. In statements given to the press, Teves suggests some form of “community service” to be an appropriate form of punishment because the offense is “light.”
This is insanely insipid lawmaking. It basically asks the government oversee the termination of romantic relationships. Perhaps the solution would be a government mediator who can notarize a “Certificate of Dumping” to ensure both parties achieve the closure they seek, while only forcing the person doing the dumping to engage with someone they clearly have no interest in interacting with.
But this legislative externalization of Rep. Teves’ personal problems may explain why he’s proposing something far more dangerous. Within a day of proposing this act, Teves introduced a bill [PDF] mandating the use of government-issued IDs to verify social media accounts.
This bill seeks to require a mandatory authentication process for all social media and other similar online accounts enjoyed by users in the country. It aims to address cyber bullying, harassment, online scam, libel and even illicit drug trade and prostitution by holding individuals, private and public entities accountable for their online interactions. To verify identities, online social networking services will be obliged to require their users, whether resident or non resident, to supply and link accounts to their valid identification numbers provided by the government.
It’s both personal and intermediary liability — a potent combination that will allow the government to hunt down critics, activists, and dissidents. It will also allow the Duterte administration to find more people to murder, whether they’re associated with drug use or simply opposed to Duterte’s actions.
To make this happen, the bill demands internet services collect ID numbers during the account creation process. Failure to do so will result in criminal penalties, although those penalties are left unspecified in the bill. Combine this bill with the anti-ghosting bill, and the government will have the power to hunt down people who’ve done nothing more than avoid confrontation when ending relationships.