Be sumbongeros, Comelec urges netizens

by Ivy Jean Vibar,

Posted at Feb 22 2013 06:15 PM | Updated as of Feb 23 2013 02:15 AM

MANILA – Commission on Elections (Comelec) spokesperson James Jimenez said that through the poll body's #SumbongKo social media campaign, it is trying to “turn the nation into tattletales, though not in a bad way.”

The campaign aims to make it easier for the poll body to keep candidates in line, by empowering voters to report violations of campaign rules. While they have gotten a creditable response from people on Twitter, they have great hopes that the trend of people submitting reports will continue.

Recently, candidates' online campaigns have been thrust into the limelight. The presence of election posters in non-designated areas have also drawn jeers from watchdogs, officials and citizens.

Rep. Sonny Angara's posters and senatoriable Jamby Madrigal's iPad contest on Facebook, which she asserted was conducted by her volunteers, came into the limelight.

Other candidates, Jimenez said, have also quietly taken down their online campaigns which violated campaign rules.

Jimenez said they are acting on reports, but admitted Comelec still has a to-do list for the #SumbongKo (also #SumbongMo) campaign.

They still have to grow their network, Jimenez said, as well as improve turnaround times and the poll body's responsiveness to reports.

“In the future, we want to give more tools to our field officials. We have to teach them how to use social media, and give them hardware (smart phones),” he said.

“Comelec hasn't always been socially wired. We were just like any other agency who couldn't talk to people. Our adventure in technology embarked in the 90s when Comelec wanted to have a computerized election.”

Important as well is to keep the conversation going. To Filipinos on social media, Jimenez said, “Don't [just] expect [action from Comelec]. Suggest—-it is about conversations, sharing best practices. The DNA of the whole thing is that it gets better from the contributions of many, many minds.”