Comelec tracking social media role in Senate race

CAN an unknown candidate win in the senatorial race next year relying on social media alone?

The Commission on Elections said this will be the new trend they will be looking at closely in the 2019 midterm polls.

Comelec spokesman James B. Jimenez noted an increasing number of first timers who filed their Certificate of Candidates (COC), apparently banking on social media instead of a typical political machinery for their nationwide campaign.

“Many decided to run because they feel empowered; they feel now it is the time they can stand up against an old-time politician and get the same number of votes,” Jimenez said.

For the 2019 polls, Jimenez noted they have yet to determine the impact on the elections of the emergence of this new breed of candidates.

“Whether this is good or bad in the long run, we will find out,” Jimenez said.

He pointed out this trend will make it even harder for Comelec to determine nuisance candidates.

Gone are the days, Jimenez said, when one can immediately rule out a candidate as nuisance if they are not known.

“Now there are first timers but are well-organized so this has to be taken into consideration,” Jimenez said.

Of the 152 people who filed their COCs for the 2019 elections, around half or 80 were independent candidates.

Traditionally, independent candidates include colorful ones who make outrageous claims; previous or incumbent politicians who do not like to be affiliated with any political party; and people who only used the COC filing as a platform to air their concerns.

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