This video shows exactly what it felt like during the 2016 presidential campaign. The people’s support for Mayor Duterte felt like a huge, unstoppable wave that just kept growing larger, and larger, and there was nothing anyone could do to stop it.
We so-called “influencers” were just like that surfer. We rode the wave – and for the most part are still riding it – but at no time were we ever in control of it. Our energy was spent simply hanging on and hoping that we wouldn’t be swept under. It was Duterte’s popularity that gave birth to the social media phenomena that we now call DDS, not the other way around.
This is the reality of Maria Ressa and Leni Robredo’s bot-fueled fantasies of Duterte’s well-oiled social media machinery. It was actually a genuine tsunami of organic social media support stemming from a combination of anger at Aquino’s apathy, frustration with Roxas’ incompetence, bone-deep weariness at a system that perennially favored the rich and famous over ordinary Filipinos, and an undying hope that Duterte would be able to rescue them from all of it.
Sadly, Ressa, Robredo, and all those whom Duterte’s ascendancy has forced into the sidelines will never be able to accept it. Not when it also means accepting the possibility that they – and not the President – are actually the villains in this story.