Election Day, May 10, 2010...
"Today, watch me unleash my
power! Unleash yours too... Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Oh, and by the way,
you PR machines who plan to text me one final message for your
candidates, be warned! It is supposed to be off-campaign and it is a
violation of the Omnibus Election Code and I am serious about reporting
these! Be warned!"
That was how I started my day... by posting the said status in my Facebook Page. To be very honest, it is quite irritating to see how this is true on the very day of the elections. Clearly it does not take much to put two and two together.
Minutes later, I was scanning through the posts I missed and I was doubly pissed. There was a proliferation of very fresh last minute tags and posts with campaign nature. So I changed my status immediately...
That is exactly why we do not progress as a country. Either you are hard headed or simply stupid. It is election day and people still post and tag campaign stuff. I am ashamed to call most of them my friends! YES I MEAN YOU! IDIOT!
I Changed my mind minutes later and softened it a bit to...
That is exactly why we do not progress as a country. Either you are hard headed or simply stupid. It is election day and people still post and tag campaign stuff. I am ashamed to call most of them my friends! YES I MEAN YOU(in plural form)! IDIOT!
As I sifted through the posts, I carefully commented on each post that appears as a campaign of sorts with a very polite note...
Gentle reminder... Today is already election day and it is off-campaign... there may be a violation of the Omnibus Election Code... peace out and have a great day!
Seconds later, most friends either made dedma, made palusot or rectified and apologized thanking me kindly for the reminder... but not for someone...
He sent me a fiery email berating me. Pointing out that first, Social networking sites are not part of the real world covered by the Omnibus Election Code and the proviso on electioneering, stating that it is a personal page. Secondly, that its none of my fucking business what he does in his wall and I can choose to hide them or as he has done, unfriend me and that lastly I too was violating social networking rules by not posting my real name and had double standards.
To which I was a taken aback. Knowing this friend I never expected him to react with such vehement violence. I had high regards and respects for him and consider him a prime intellectual that the reaction was really a shocker coming from him. I calmly replied that it seemed kinda harsh but I respect his reaction and decision, and that although it may not be my real name, but this is my recognized pen name as a writer and is being used by me even when I won an international award, so it is not entirely a false or assumed name. I thank him for personally sending me an email and apologized for whatever ills he might have felt. He then responded that he was 'bastosed' that I had to post a comment on his wall, and it would be better this way because now I would not see his annoying posts and could have called me out on my wall too, but did not do so for lack of tact. I again replied, apologized, thanked him and said that it would have been better if he called me out so I can see my flaws and rectify them. I ended by a sincere apology before the nicks become a deep dent. He did not reply.
Thinking that my status message could really have been too strong, I rephrased it.
That is exactly why we do not progress as a country. Either you are hard headed or simply
stupid. It is election day and people still post and tag campaign
stuff. I am ashamed to call most of them my friends! Then again, that's why we are friends because we can gently remind them and not be taken in ill favor.
I did not even try to point out to him the fallacy of his reasoning. I just apologized and repeatedly said that if it has to come to this, I understand and respect his decision.
Later, I gave up on reminding my friends, no matter how the taggoing and posting continued to proliferate. I started to notice something. All these taggings and posting come from or a majority so to speak, came from supporters of the color of the grasses. That's as far as my page news and history is concerned at least. Somehow I'm happy that my color was silent and did follow the rules, again, from my page nes at least.
It saddened me to think that, just like that, I lost a friend. It saddened me that for all the respect and high regard I had for him, he turned out to be immature and bordered on fanaticism. And so, I relized three things:
One: It is hard to be vigilant and good. You're motives are always in question even if you know in your heart that your only purpose is to be a vanguard of the electoral process.
Two: That we need to redefine, refurbish and make adaptive the laws, in particular, the Omnibus Election Code to reflect the reality of the use of tri-media, such as social networking sites and the like in relation to prohibitions under the law. While it is true that "Nullum crimen, nulla poena sine legis"... there is no crime if there is no law that punishes it, it doesn't take a genius to know that really, these are not merely personal blogs, but also a modern convention that needs to be considered.
And lastly, you can never expect the Spanish Inquisition.
With these said, I wonder how my now unfriended friend would do if -
My presidential candidate wins, he would probably flood the site with conspiracy theories and sad tales of woes and 'dayaan.'
If they win, he will gloat and be encouraged to do the same things again, even if apparently, it is not necessarily right.
Oh well... the toll of being vigilant and social/civic responsibility and responsiveness... I might have lost a friend, but deep inside, I knew I did what I can to make a stand and make a difference and with God's will, I will gain a truly good government under good honest leaders with integrity!