The case of ‘Hello Garci’
and other digitized
ICT and video anarchy in
the Philippine context
Maria F. Mangahas
Department of Anthropology
University of the Philippines
PhilICT Research Network/IDRC, TWSC, SEASREP
January 2010
Background: ‘Reconfiguring Piracy’
Texter, Consumer, ‘Produser’, Pirate
ICT and the scandal phenomenon
A Pinoy resemanticization of ‘scandal’
‘Scandals!’ as objects
Kinds of ‘scandals’
‘Scandal’-making and the national imaginary
The 'Hello Garci’ scandal and its sequels
Jokemongering, ‘scandal’-mongering and ‘people power’
More current political ‘scandals’
“Stone age gossip, new technology”
“From scratching to speaking”
“Mobile phones are re-creating the more natural,
humane communication patterns of pre-industrial
times” -Fox 2001
The gossip theory of language evolution: humans
gossip because we don’t groom each other/social
cohesion is maintained through constant grooming-R.Dunbar
Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language)
personal “communities” = 150 individuals
Once population expands it becomes
impossible for each member to maintain
Technology and the integral ‘accident’
The speed at which something
Paul Virilio: happens may change its
essential nature
‘globalization is the speed of light’
“In this Internet era without bounds and barriers, an upload of one
triggers millions of downloads worldwide and it spreads in
unknown scale and intensity to thousands and millions of
cellphones. While there’s yet no international protocol that
sanctions for deletion of files in an Internet populated by billions of
websites, against these high technologies, “Baby” is totally
helpless in preventing her own sex video from further spreading.”
(Monforte, ‘Heaven forbid’. Sept.9, 2008)
“Edu Manzano, as we all know, has
this impossible job of suppressing
undesirable video in an age when
digital material of whatever sort
could be simply downloaded and
copied endlessly in various media
formats--like, I could be carrying
contraband material in my miniscule
flash drive. We live in an age of
video anarchy.”
-Magno 2009
newspaper columnist,
Philippine Star
[emphasis added]
Scandal as an idea vs. ‘scandal!’ as an obj
“actions or
certain kinds of
which become
known to
others and are
serious to elicit
a public
Posted Ecomment:
June 27, 2006
Image clip of
the famous sex
scandal from
Cagayan de oro
city (students
from Xavier
A nice 446 .DAT
file, 44 minutes
(want a hard
copy?) ,just make
CALL CENTER ‘scandals!’
Real/ity ‘scandals’
Cebu Doctors scandal, can in rectum,
leaked unc... 1,298,858 views yourtruthtube
Spoof ‘scandals’
(e.g. spoofs of sex scandals)
Search term: ‘gma scandal’ (Spoofs of Political scandals)
a list of scandals under PGMA
From posted comment on YouTube
[Accessed June 2009]:
1. NBN ZTE Scandal
2. Millions of bribe money to Congress
and Governors (October 2007)
3. Cheating in 2004 Elections (‘Hello G
4. Joc Joc BolanteCase (FertilizerScamP
5. Jose Pidal Bank Account (Unexplain
Wealth, P200 M)
6. Nani Perez Power Plant Deal ($2 M)
7. Use of Road User's Tax for Campaign
8. Billion Peso Macapagal Boulevard
(Overprice of P532 Million)
9. Juetengate (Illegal Numbers gamekic
10. Extra Judicial Killings
Manila Standard , June 16,
“The explosive exchange that
critics of the administration say
is between the President and
the Comelec official is the
hottest commodity among
infotech freaks, who have
parlayed the illegally extracted
phone conversation into ring
tones and pirated CD
reproductions that sell for P5 on
the sidewalks.”
“I love GMA. I support GMA. I don’t want GMA to
resign! Send ds 2 20 friends & in 3 days U will lose
20 friends. U will be sorry for ur lapse in judgment!”
“Terrorists kidnapped GMA & demanded ransom
money: “Pay P500 M or we’ll set her on fire”.
Bankrupt govt asked ppl 4 donations. So far
donatns total 2T liters of gasoline.”
“Clinton and GMA were clasmates, di ba? Clinton’s
scandal had to do with a cigar. GMA’s scandal has
to do with a Garci“
“Unlike most mainstream albums, these
groups encourage others to spread the word
(or music, as the case may be). “Puedeng
piratahin” (‘Piracy allowed’).” (Ito 2005)
‘Hello Garci’ vs. ‘The X-Tapes’
“Flop ang X tapes, walang bumili. ”.
“... This is the funniest audio track I’ve ever
heard…mas nakakatawa pa to sa mga SBC PAckers
ni Rex Navarette o yung Iskul BUkol album nina Tito
Vic and Joey…”
The ‘X-tapes’
“It’s a shame para sa nag-doktor nitong tracks
nito… Kung sino ka man… pinahiya mo ng
husto ang mga pirata…” [comment to PCIJ
“You are not only paying for the CD. You
are also ensuring the future of these
officers”.” (Inquirer. March 14, 2006)
“back off”
Back hoe
“The trading of jokes has apparently become a national
pastime, and most everyone keeps track of the latest jokes
as assiduously as he does the latest peso fluctuations or
the price increases of commodities. Intelligence sources
reveal that these jokes are apparently manufactured by a
number of unlicensed joke factories…”
“The jokes travel with the businessmen from Manila’s
coffeeshops to the various cities of the country, and in fact
are the first cargo unloaded from those PAL planes. They
are logged to work by Makati employees aboard Love
Buses, by students in their schoolbuses… These jokes
constantly burn the telephone lines and end up in letters to
friends and relatives abroad…
-Maramba 1984, Ninoy Aquino: the Man, the Legend
"We have already seen the silence of
the bedroom violated. With the arrival of
camera phones and 24/7 mobile
Internet, the time is fast approaching
when secret backroom deals will be
revealed to the public.
Our political leaders may not fear us
now. But soon they will."
Phil Daily Inquirer columnist)