Last September 3, an anonymous post accusing members of the University Student Government (USG) of corruption was uploaded on the DLSU-Manila Secret Files page. I’m not here to discuss whether or not our student leaders are stealing money, or about the problems of transparency and accountability within the USG, however. Instead, I want to talk about how the rest of the community reacted to the issue.
As of writing, the said post has 1.7 thousand likes, close to 400 shares, and over 100 comments. It’s safe to say that when it was first posted, it became quite the hot topic, with people tweeting about it, sharing it on Facebook, even discussing it among their friends. Not only that, but in the days following, several other students began posting through the Secret Files page their own stories regarding supposed cases of corruption within the USG. Each of these posts became points of discussion, with some students theorizing on the corruption allegations, others angrily calling for justice.
However, almost a month later and the topic seems to have died down, as online, students have jumped on the story of Chinitang Pawis, or have instead began making jokes of people on DLSU Profs to Pick. There has not been much new to talk about regarding the issue, so it’s understandable that it has strayed a little from most people’s minds. However, it’s still been a jarring shift from constant and angry calls for transparency and change to almost nothing.
I suppose what I’m scared of is that this entire corruption scandal becomes nothing more than a passing fad. I’m scared that the allegations were something interesting and new to talk about once they were first posted, but that students have moved on and will eventually forget about the issue entirely. I’m scared that once elections season rolls around again, these allegations will not have meant anything to the student body, and nothing will change.
I say all this because allegations of corruption and stolen funds should be more than the latest trending topic. Such serious accusations, directed towards elected student leaders, no less, should stimulate discussion, should call for more action. I am by no means saying that allegations alone should condemn the accused as guilty—it is a principle of our justice system that the accused are innocent until proven otherwise, after all. However, the sheer number of allegations and the amount of stories that overlap merits at least a deeper investigation, one that students should be talking about until it reaches a satisfying conclusion.
I remember how over two years ago, one issue that blew up involved hazing and fraternity violence. A student of DLSU-CSB tragically passed away after sustaining multiple injuries due to a fraternity’s initiation rites—the news sparked outrage among the community, who rightfully demanded justice for the student and his family.
Two years later, a Makati judge dismisses the case of the 12 accused in the student’s death. Of course, this kinds of news doesn’t make headlines and doesn’t get talked about. It’s frustrating, though, because despite the initial outcry, this decision, which should have sparked more action and more outrage, was passed with very few aware.
Big scandals have a tendency of becoming huge when they’re first found out, before they patter out and everyone jumps on the next big thing. It’s unfortunate that people comment and like and share and tweet about these issues on the onset, but rarely follow them until their conclusion. In the case of the corruption allegations, I can only hope that the studentry of DLSU keeps this issue top of mind, not with the interest of slandering the names of those accused, but with the goal of continuing to build critical thinkers, wise voters, and leaders intent on resolving these issues.
People should make a habit of not just reading about current events for the sake of following fads, but getting to the bottom of these stories. Calls for justice and action mean little if they are forgotten before the issues they are pertaining to reach their bitter end.