Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. had the most mentions online among the presidential contenders during a 12-day period in September and October, a media and insight company reported.
Isentia Philippines said election-linked content peaked during the filing of Certificates of Candidacy (CoCs), from 3,573 mentions a week before October 1, to 26,560 mentions, a 643-percent spike.
Isentia tracked different social media channels including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and YouTube from September 27 to October 8, using its internal proprietary tool.
Robredo, who acquired the most mentions across all social media platforms at 1.7 million, reached the peak on October 7, when she announced her plan to run for the presidency and filed her CoC on the same day.
“After her announcement, netizens picked up on Vice President Robredo’s cue. Different social media spaces were awash with waves of pink following declarations of support for her candidacy – a display of social mobilization at work,” Isentia said.
Supporters of Robredo latched on to her “pink movement,” as she chose a color that “clearly represents” her message, platform, and personality well—saying the color pink has been becoming an emerging symbol for protest and activism, it added.
Some netizens mocked the Vice President, calling her “Leni Lugaw,” but her camp “embraced the “lugaw (porridge) brand and turned the smear attempt to her advantage by serving rice porridge to the attendees of her presidential bid announcement,” Isentia said.
Marcos came in second with 1.1 million mentions, peaking when he filed his candidacy for president. The report indicated that buzz concerning Marcos heavily involved references to his family’s history—his father’s presidency for over two decades and conviction of corruption charges.
“On October 6, former Senator Marcos announced his candidacy, leading to a sharp spike in buzz filled with mixed sentiments, mainly due to the history surrounding his family name—from themes surrounding martial law, dictatorship, corruption, hidden wealth, golden era of the country, “better” living conditions then, multiple killings, ill-gotten wealth, to history revisionism, among many others,” Isentia noted.
A look into the buzz cluster of words showed that Robredo and Marcos were co-mentioned prominently on social media.
“Notably, Robredo and Marcos gained more mentions than each of the other candidates combined. The existing tension between the two – stemming from their rivalry for the Vice Presidential race in the 2016 elections, and multiple accusations of election fraud – has led to heavy online discussions from netizens supporting or criticizing either candidate. This would be the catalyst for the two’s rise in mentions,” Isentia said.
The two frontrunners in terms of internet presence were followed by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso at 389,908 mentions, Senators Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa (253,901), Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao (209,954), and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson (59,906).
Isentia PH Insight Analyst Armand Eduard Oblenida said that the country’s politics is a strong driver for rivalry and controversy, as highlighted by the buzz on Robredo and Marcos.
“The conversations around the Philippine elections have had a strong focus on rivalry and controversy over political platforms. Social media’s presence has drastic effects on this as well, as the dominant conversation drivers now rely heavily on public opinion and feeling versus information. With a very divided and vocal public, it is safe to assume that there will be plenty of “fireworks” regarding this topic,” Oblenida said.