Cybercitizen Trillanes’ call for snap election: Online petition or a poll?

The camp of Rebel-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV must have thought that its oppositionist stance against the present government would create a groundswell through an online petition. The petition is titled Calling for the immediate resignation of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Noli de Castro and for the Holding of Special (“Snap”) Elections within 60 days.

I visited the online petition yesterday morning, which already had 255 signatories. I read the text, which was written in a corporate or legalistic resolution-type of format. It stipulates the grounds for calling for the immediate resignation of the top two leaders of the country.

I was making up my mind whether to sign the petition or not but was disappointed by the turnout of the signatories. Disappointed and at the same time entertained. Not only that. I was also interested to analyze the types of people who have signed up to the petition. So I started to do some tallying based on the 470 signatures thus far collected.

The first 67 signatures appeared serious about their signing until that 68th that must have triggered to morphe the petition into being one similar to an online forum or poll.

Here are some of the results of my quantitative study of the signatures:

  1. A total of 295 or 62% of the signatories gave their complete names (first and last at least). The remaining percent gave either first or nicknames or obviously fraudulent names. I saw several entries pretending to be Gloria Arroyo, Erap Estrada, and Ferdinand Marcos. However, there’s no certainty whether all of the 62% gave their real names, given the factor of fear of being identified.
  2. Out of 359 that gave their addresses, 64% are based in the Philippines (or identify to belong in the Philippines), while 38% are based abroad. Of the 64%, signatories in Metro Manila (111) are outnumbered by those outside the region (122). Likewise, of the 126 signatories abroad, those based in North America are on top, followed by Middle East, Asia, and Europe, in that order.
  3. As suggested by the high number of signatories from abroad, there are 92 (19%) signatories that claimed to be overseas Filipino workers. They are followed by signatories (68 or 14%) that identify themselves as private/concerned citizens/individuals. Only 28 and 10 employees and government/military people, respectively, signed the petition. It is also interesting to note that only 11 youths/students registered their vote for the petition. Likewise, there are five signatories that call themselves friends of victims of Glorietta 2 bombing.
  4. There are 61 organizations cited to be the affiliations of the signatories. It’s very difficult to categorize the organizations as I can’t make out some acronyms and am not familiar with many of them. But it’s interesting to note that a handful of them are known in their own right, namely, Anakbayan, Bagong Tao Movement, Bangon, Couples for Christ, Singles for Christ, Soldiers for Christ, Guardians, Lions Club, NFL (if that means National Federation of Labor), PAGCOR, and Philippine Dental Association.
  5. Fifty-three (53) signers used the petition form’s “Affiliation/Organization/Sector” field to voice their take on the petition as well as the current conjuncture in the Philippine politics. Out of 53, 31 or 58% registered their vote against Sen. Trillanes and the petition (which is funny because a signature is supposed to be a vote for the petition), 32% against the government, and 9% against the Opposition as a whole.
  6. There are several duplicate entries. Likewise, the petition has become a venue for TV network wars. A few of the signatories even questioned the gender of Sen. Trillanes. And there’s even one entry that looked for textmates.

I just wonder whether the Trillanes camp was prepared for the petition cum manifesto or it just ignored the backlash that it might have received. I would say that the exercise is a futile one if we want to be technical about the call, whose targets are Pres. Arroyo, VP De Castro and the Senate (to call for a snap election). For heaven’s sake, even if the petition gathers 2 million signatures, and more than half of the number don’t qualify as such (something like spoiled ballots), it would just be dismissed as a waste of time.

But if the objective is beyond being technical (which seems to be a shame to the online world which looks to the as a great tool for meaningful changes), meaning political, the exercise passes as an effective one. Online people are given the chance to raise their voice about the bad political situation that the nation is in. Eventually successful or not, the online petition cum manifesto cum poll cum forum is a manifestation of how detestable the political situation has become, to the point of affecting the sanity of our minds.

Meantime, I’m still sleeping on whether to participate in the petition or not. Wonder what name am I going to use (perhaps Superman or Dennis Trillo) and under what representation (perhaps Income-Poor Blogger or Trillanesian)? And most of all, wonder whether I should sign or not, irregardless if it’s for the resignation of Arroyo and De Castro and snap election or just plain show of insanity.


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