MANILA, Philippines -- A group of local activists said they will use all means, including today's technology, to hold leaders of this nation accountable to people.
"TXTPower will use websites and other technologies to guard government officials. There is really nothing specific or formal that is being planned. But what we're saying is that with today's technology, it will difficult for officials to hide. There are now pieces of evidences available, such as those of the 'Hello Garci.' Government cannot stop the spread of information," said TXTPower president Anthony Ian Cruz, in a telephone interview.
TXTPower is a progressive group of Filipino mobile phone users whose members joined the second EDSA people power revolution.
The group welcomed the guilty verdict handed down by the Sandiganbayan against former President Joseph Estrada, adding that this verdict "is a warning to all, especially President [Gloria Macapagal]-Arroyo that official wrongdoing will eventually catch up with them."
"We want to encourage people to use technology to inform and mobilize people. Text messaging was to mobilize people against Estrada. Now we have a wider choice of technology to inform and gather people. Blogs and Friendster are among other forms of spreading the word and expressing disgust to the current administration," added Dr. Giovanni Tapang, chairman of Agham, a group of Filipino scientists and engineers, and member of the Computer Professionals Union, in a separate telephone interview.
"[Former President Joseph] Estrada's ouster was brought down by cell phone-wielding Filipinos. Arroyo has to face a more sophisticated populace who has 3G and broadband Internet, YouTube and other mobile activist tools. Lest we forget, wiretapped cell phone talk is today the living proof of her cheating the 2004 elections," added Tapang in a separate statement issued to media.
The group said it will make full use of mobile phones, the Internet and other tools to empower the people to hold leaders accountable.
"The clear message of Estrada's conviction is this: The people are fed up with presidents who steal. In the case of President Arroyo, she should be ready for the end of the presidency. Her record is worse than Estrada's because not only does she steal. She also lies, cheats and kills," said Cruz.
TXTPower was among the many groups that signed the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo last year.
"For veterans of People Power 2, Estrada's conviction by the court is the logical consequence of the people's uprising in 2001. The people already spoke clearly and decisively in 2001 and the court found the sovereign people's will correct, albeit belatedly," added Cruz.