Archbishop Emeritus Antonio J Ledesma SJ of Cagayan de Oro reflects on the results of this week’s presidential elections in the Philippines. “Ferdinand Marcos Jr, known as ‘Bongbong’, the son and namesake of the country’s late dictator, who was ousted by a people’s revolt 36 years ago, is poised to become the next President of the Philippines for a six-year period. He amassed a huge lead over his nearest rival, the liberal human rights lawyer and incumbent vice-president Leni Robredo.
Election Day, May 9th, 2022, has come and gone. We are left with the election results. But who are the real losers and winners? Ten challenges confront us as individuals and as a nation” reflected Abp Emeritus Antonio J Ledesma SJ of Cagayan de Oro. “The massive DISINFORMATION campaign over social media by a particular candidate and his party cannot just be brushed aside. Over the past five to ten years, we are told, this online campaign has been stealthily carried out, reaching the minds and fantasies of cell phone users even in the remotest areas of the country. The dissemination of fake news about the “golden era” of the Martial Law period, the rehabilitation of the Marcos name, the downgrading of the reputations of other candidates, the casting of heroes as villains and villains as heroes – all this was planned with deliberation and strategic targeting of socioeconomic classes as well as age groups.
How can the country prevent this form of brain-washing and “vote buying” in future elections? There are cyber libel laws, but can they be easily implemented? Do we require senders of anonymous online messages to identify themselves? Frequent repetition of lies can eventually be accepted as the truth, a lesson from Goebbels of the Nazi regime.”