MANILA, Philippines — The cast members of Vivamax’s upcoming original series Iskandalo have weighed in on the use of social media and privacy issues in a Zoom media conference.

Iskandalo is a 10-episode series of crime, mystery, erotica-thriller which will stream in April. According to direk Roman Perez Jr., whose other works include Hugas, Taya, House Maid, Adan, House Tour and Siklo, the Filipino streaming platform’s latest offering is a statement project that primarily tackles the criminal justice system and the dangers of social media.

The series is about Em (AJ Raval), a celebrity vlogger who is known for her fun content and bubbly personality. But behind the good vibes are secrets and lies. Em is found dead after her sex video with an unknown man goes viral. While believed to have killed herself, the medical reports say otherwise: Em was murdered and was pregnant when she died.

Another character, Patricia Esguerra (Cindy Miranda), is a tough criminal investigator who is working on Em’s case. But behind her strong façade is a daughter crying for justice.

Iskandalo features multiple narratives and subplots as they investigate and try to solve Em’s “murder” case.

The actors include Jay Manalo (Congressman Stephen Chuatico), Sean de Guzman (Em’s secret boyfriend) and Carlene Aguilar (Em’s mother). They are joined by Evangeline Pascual, Jamilla Obispo, Angela Morena, Ayanna Misola, Rocky Salumbides, Julio Diaz, Arnold Reyes, Raul Morit, Arvic Tan, Francis Magundayao and Pio Balbuena.

When it came to protecting their privacy on social media, former beauty queen Carlene followed “think before you click” safety measures while newbie sexy star Angela would ask if the post was appropriate before publishing it.

On the other hand, Ayanna and Cindy only used the platform for work-related purposes. Cindy told The STAR, “Don’t feel pressured because of social media. OK lang yan. Mag-post ka lang kapag gusto mo, kapag kumportable ka.”

“I love social media,” said former beauty queen Evangeline. “I come from this beautiful world and (all) we’ve got to do is enjoy the journey. If you make a mistake, just enjoy further. I mean, I’ve done so many mistakes in my life. I’ve been here for more than 30 years in this world. I made a lot of mistakes and I just moved forward. If you can’t be good, be careful.”

The male cast members also shared their views. Rocky, for one, lives by a simple rule: “If you think that it can help others and yourself, feel free to post it. Kung sa tingin mo naman, hindi, bakit mo ipagkakalat? Ikaw, nasa sayo yun.”

“Social media was created with good intentions, so let’s enjoy and be responsible when posting. Let’s use it for good and to inspire (people),” shared Arnold.

“Be you,” Arvic chimed in. “Very positive and nakaka-inspire ng ibang tao (ang social media).”

Sean urged to send “good vibes” only and “make sure na makakapagpasaya ka ng ibang tao sa mga pino-post mo.”

“What I don’t want people to talk about, I don’t post at all,” stated Francis. “For social media, (I utilize it) mostly for work, for my craft. When it’s something personal, I really don’t talk about it. Hindi naman ako nafo-FOMO (fear of missing out) but I also still keep in mind that social media was created to be a powerful tool, it (is) also used to make a living.”

Pio agreed, “‘Pag ayaw mong pag-usapan, ‘wag mong i-post especially personal stuff. Gamitin mo kasi yung social media (sa tama). It was created to connect people. Kung hindi rin naman nakakatulong, ‘wag mo na lang gamitin.”

“Magpo-post ka na di ka nakaka-apekto ng tao,” shared Jay.

Interestingly, the “low-tech” 85-year-old actor Joonee Gamboa, who plays a powerful senator in the series, admitted how inactive he is in the online sphere. “Ignoramus ako pag dating sa high-tech. Thank God, I’m low-tech. I just keep away from it. But it has its advantages. Panahon niya ngayon eh and communication is very important. Social media is a thing. Pero dapat talaga mag-ingat.”

Direk Roman, who requested to be the last to answer the question, refused to comment for now. But he acknowledged how vocal he is on the platform — politically and socially. Nevertheless, he laid out the advantages of the online social tools. “Nilikha ito para makabuo at para maka-create ng opinyon, makatulong sa komunikasyon ng mga tao. Ito rin po yung tool natin para din makapag-educate ng mga tao sa lipunan at lalo na mas ginagamit ko politically yung social media account ko.”

Moreover, Francis and Sean urged netizens to not cancel a celebrity if he or she gets involved in a viral scandal.

“I personally don’t believe na dapat ikansela ang isang celebrity, lalo na kung ang konteksto ay iskandalo kasi first and foremost, ayaw naman nila lumabas (yun). No one wants that. You don’t even wish it on your enemy, kumbaga,” opined Francis. “I don’t believe in that because it’s just another excuse for people to throw rocks on someone.”

Sean agreed. “Maybe iba yung personal na buhay natin sa trabaho natin. Dapat hindi maapektuhan yun. Hindi po natin ginusto na lumabas yung iskandalo na yun. May kanya-kanya naman po tayong pagkakamali sa buhay na hindi natin na inaasahan na malalaman ng iba. Sana matanggal yun sa atin,” he said.

Meanwhile, AJ was absent from the digital press conference amid photos that circulated online showing her with Aljur Abrenica at a hotel in Leyte on Valentine’s Day.

Francis Magundayao (left) with direk Roman Perez Jr.

Photos from their respective Facebook pages


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