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.


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.

Filed Under: , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Philippines Legislator Offers Up Bill That Would Criminalize ‘Ghosting’”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
That One Guy (profile) says:

Ah the Incel Feelings Protection bill...

That first bill is only missing a subclause of mandating by law that everyone has a right to a boyfriend/girlfriend of their choosing to be the physical manifestation of incels. Seriously, how unbelievably pathetic and entitled do you have to be to try to make it a crime to ignore someone?

If he wasn’t a global laughingstock before that bill he certainly should be afterwards.

On to the rather less funny bill that followed even setting aside the really concerning ideas of no privacy online should the government want to see what you’ve been saying the idea of someone who just the day before presented the idea that it should be a crime to break off a relationship also making it illegal to be able to do so anonymously is raising some huge red flags, going from incel to outright demented stalker territory.

David Frossard (user link) says:

Marcos, not Duterte

I’m sure ex-president Duterte would have loved a bill with so much potential for harassing enemies. But for a month or so Ferdinand Marcos Jr (aka Bongbong) has in fact been president. Then again, there’s a new Duterte at VP so you may turn out to be right after all.

I love the Philippines, but this accelerating slide into fascism means I won’t be going back any time soon, or maybe ever.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Anonymous Coward says:


Said “druggies” are largely from the poor and those who dared criticize Duterte.

The more prominent ones get the show of a trial, pf course, to give off the perception that the Phillipines isn’t a Chinese-controlled satelite state.

No one’s happy about this sad state of affairs, and the situation in the Phillipines is that fucked.

But this isn’t about Xi’s pet thug.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...