The internet, like elephants and the North, remembers. Even better, it keeps receipts.
And so, when Hidilyn Diaz won the gold medal in weightlifting at the Tokyo Olympics a couple of days ago and was met with a nationwide wave of adulation, her supporters were quick to remind everyone that this newly minted sports legend was once attacked by hordes of social media users.
Her supposed crime was apparently laughing off her inclusion in a “matrix” of personalities involved in a plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
Kaya nga! Dami ko pang goals sa life and Pinas para sumali sa ganyan bagay. Nashock lang ako nalink ako sa ganyan. https://t.co/4XwJKVl84H
— Hidilyn Diaz OLY (@diaz_hidilyn) May 8, 2019
Pro-government personalities derided Diaz en masse for her response, with comments that obviously aged just about as well as fresh milk left out in the sun. But one post—by blogger RJ Nieto, a.k.a. “Thinking Pinoy”—took home the gold and set a new record in the Regrettable Tweets event.
Styled in the form of an open letter, the vaguely threatening 11 May 2019 post was titled “MISS DIAZ, DON’T FORGET YOU’RE A MILITARY OFFICER”.
The gist of the post was that Diaz, who serves as an officer in the Philippine Air Force, “could be court-martialed, just like Antonio ‘Sonny’ Trillanes IV”. Just months before, in 2018, Senator Trillanes was also threatened with a court martial after his amnesty for a 2007 coup attempt was revoked by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“For Trillanes, the charge was for committing coup d’etat. For you, it could be for conduct unbecoming of an officer,” Thinking Pinoy wrote, because clearly those charges carry the same weight. The blogger went on to cast aspersions on Diaz’s father: “Please remember that, especially since your father has been publicly seen wearing putschist Magdalo Group apparel, a fact that has already raised more than a few military eyebrows”.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines never did make any move to court-martial the Air Force sergeant. And today, July 28, the AFP announced that Hidilyn Diaz was no longer a sergeant—she had been promoted to the next rank, staff sergeant, as of yesterday.
“In view of her recent historic win in the Olympics, the Philippine Air Force through its Commanding General approved the promotion of Sgt Hidilyn Diaz effective 27 July 2021 to the rank of Staff Sergeant,” the announcement reads. “We laud and support this move at the General Headquarters to mark SSg Diaz’ remarkable achievements in the field of sports and for bringing pride and glory to our country.
“Congratulations, SSg Diaz. The AFP is proud of your accomplishments and may you continue to serve as an inspiration to your fellow service members.”
Also in 2019, Diaz was criticized on social media for speaking out about the lack of support that athletes receive from the government, specifically from the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC). Diaz posted a public plea on social media looking for private sponsors to help her in her Tokyo 2020 bid, which was again met with derision from pro-government online forces who had taken that as an affront against the administration.
Those posts have also not aged very well.
This article, Two years ago, this blogger said Hidilyn Diaz could be court-martialed. Now she’s just been promoted to staff sergeant., originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.