With the release of the Statement of Campaign Expenditures by the candidates that ran in the 2016 elections, people – especially the voters – are able to get a glimpse of the personalities behind their candidates.
In the case of Robredo, Poe, etc, the lump sum declarations without any details as to who and how much each campaign contributor gave is less informative about the details, but speaks volumes about how these candidates operate. Transparency and accountability are governance principles that may or may not be important to them.
As for President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, by revealing the names of his contributors, he is putting the rest of the country on notice that he is not afraid to be scrutinized. And neither should the other members of his cabinet and all government officials. By setting the standard of integrity higher than it ever was, it is now up to others to follow his example. And failing, suffer the inevitable consequence.
But what the SOCE forms fails to account for, and here Duterte received more than any other candidate, is the contribution in time, effort, creativity, passion, and all around support given by millions of Filipinos on social media.
While it has been talked about over and over again, with “expert” analysis coming from all colors of the political spectrum, the phenomena that was Duterte’s social media surge may never be adequately explained nor accounted for. Being largely organic – despite what other candidates might say – it is almost impossible to track the growth of the movement and its overall impact on the campaign.
For the first time in Philippine history, the individual efforts of these so-called Dutertards – alone or in groups, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – proved more valuable than the hundreds of millions of pesos donated by the various campaign donors. And while it may be impossible to put a monetary value on these individual efforts of pure volunteerism, the results of their sacrifice cannot be denied. And on June 30, 2016 – as our new President takes his oath – we offer a silent prayer for his success and the continued vigilance of the Dutertards.