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    Posted March 10, 2014 by

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    Social media to shape 2016 Philippine polls

    PHILIPPINE Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Monday said the 2016 presidential elections in the country will be determined by social media and no longer by the amount of campaign funding allegedly running to P2 billion.
    Santiago made the statement in her speech on "Media and Good Governance" at Assumption College, San Lorenzo Village, Makati City, during Communication Week. Assumption is an exclusive school for females who came from some of the richest and most powerful families in the country.
    "It is entirely possible that the 2016 presidential and senatorial elections will be determined by social media," said the senator, who is frequently trending in social media.
    Santiago, who ran for president in 1992 and whose presidential election protest was never resolved, predicted that because of the internet and cable TV, there will be less rallies and motorcades.
    "The crooked candidates are already hiring professionals to dominate and maybe even control the social media. But such is the power of social media that netizens will be able to beat the candidates with unexplained wealth and their criminal campaign contributors," the senator said.
    Santiago claimed that U.S. President Barrack Obama relied heavily on social media, which later helped him to win the Nobel Prize. The senator said that during her 1992 presidential campaign, she had to rely on her team of volunteers, who were mostly young people.
    "In 1992, I had no money, so I merely relied on the energy and courage of young people. My volunteers had to beg for rejected wood from lumber yards and build the campaign stage, which sometimes crashed to the ground because it was overcrowded. Meanwhile, my opponents rented their crowds and even paid people to attend their rallies," the senator said.
    Santiago believes that in the succeeding elections, there will be less rallies and motorcades since the political campaign will be staged on social media.
    "Today, social media has changed the rules of the game. Anyone can participate in the extended debate to distinguish the truth from the propaganda of moneyed candidates," the senator said. In her speech, Santiago urged on the youth to continue to use social media to fight candidates with "immoral wealth." The senator also said that the best test for the 2016 presidential elections would be a presidential debate.
    "Today is a far cry from the past. I endorse a presidential debate, because the best test for leadership is intellectual, not financial," Santiago concluded.
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