FORMER Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday urged Filipino voters to use social media to expose unscrupulous politicians and their campaigners who resort to vote-buying and even outright violence as the May 9 elections draw near.
“Sa isang modernong demokrasya, wala talaga dapat nakawan ng boto. Nakawin man ‘yan sa pananakot, nakawin ‘yan sa pagbibili, nakawin ‘yan sa blackmail, hindi dapat nangyayari ‘yan,”
Cayetano told media at the sidelines of a campaign rally in Masantol, Pampanga on May 2.
“Sa modern day na election, dapat kung ano ang kalooban ng tao, y’un ang nasusunod,” he added.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Monday reported that it has recorded at least 52 cases of election-related violence nationwide as of May 1, while social media has been rife with reports of vote buying in different parts of the country days ahead of the national elections.
“Gamitin po natin ang social media, at alamin y’ung mga linya ng ating traditional media, dyaryo, radyo, at TV para talagang ma-reveal natin, mabuko natin y’ung mga nanakot, y’ung mga gumagamit ng pera o goons,” Cayetano advised voters.
Pointing to the power of social media, Cayetano said his decision to mount an eco-friendly campaign may have cost him a few percentage points in pre-election surveys but he believes connecting with voters matters more than visibility, even during the last week of the campaign.
“Talagang dasal at pag-connect sa tao [ang mahalaga]: social media, interviews, tuwing papasyal tayo sa iba’t ibang lugar, kasi hindi naman kailangan mukha mo is everywhere,” he said.
Cayetano, who aims to return to the Senate on a faith-based and values-oriented leadership agenda, said he conducted his campaign without the usual printed materials and motorcades because this was the right time for him to “lead by example” concerning the environment.
“Tingin namin magandang example na kapag nanalo tayo with that, in the future, sana less din yung waste natin tuwing campaign season,” the former Speaker said.
At the start of his Senate campaign in February, Cayetano called on his supporters to reuse old campaign materials, plant trees and mangroves, and start urban vegetable gardens in their areas to offset the environmental impact of the election season.
Many groups across the country have responded to Cayetano’s eco-friendly campaign strategy by mounting clean-up drives, tree planting activities, and bike caravans.
“So hindi naman magagawa ng lahat [ng kandidato], pero tingin ko dumating ako dun sa point na mag-suffer man ng konti y’ung campaign, e mas marami namang matutulungan at maipapakita natin na importante talaga ang environment,” Cayetano said.