Social media, star power boost some party-list frontrunners

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2019 07:12 PM | Updated as of May 17 2019 10:14 PM

Celebrity endorsements from the likes of Erwin Tulfo, Coco Martin, and Yassi Pressman carried the campaign bid of some party-list groups to the top. Photos from ACT-CIS and Ang Probinsyano Facebook pages

MANILA- Some of the leading contenders for the party-list race in this year's midterm elections show the power of social media and celebrity endorsement, an analyst said Friday.

Topping the party-list race is the ACT-CIS or Anti-Crime and Terrorism Through Community Involvement and Support group which is backed by media personality Erwin Tulfo.

The group had 2,604,272 votes equivalent to 9.46 percent of all the votes cast in the party-list election as of 4:03 p.m. Friday, with 97.9 percent of election returns based on an parallel tally.

ACT-CIS got most of its votes from Metro Manila at 659,092, then Cavite at 113,680, and Cebu at 108,245, a study by ABS-CBN Data Analytics showed.

Aside from this, ACT-CIS also has ties with the Duterte administration. The party-list's second nominee, Jocelyn Tulfo, is a sister-in-law of President Duterte's special envoy to China, Ramon Tulfo, noted watchdog Kontra Daya convenor Danilo Arao.

At second place, meanwhile, was left-leaning Bayan Muna with 1,107,228 votes (4.02 percent); AKO BICOL with 1,046,031 (3.80 percent); CIBAC or the Citizens' Battle Against Corruption with 923,404 (3.35 percent); and Ang Probinsyano with 764,251 (2.78 percent).

Under the law, a party-list group that gets at least 2 percent of the total number of votes cast in the party-list race is entitled to one seat in the chamber.

These groups can still get up to 2 more seats based on a second-round formula.

If there will still be seats available, they will be distributed to the rest of the groups based on ranking in order to fill up 20 percent of the members of the House of Representatives.

BREAKING DOWN THE VOTES

Some of these leading contenders in the party-list race are indicative that majority of voters turn to social media or television for information on candidates for the elections, political analyst Ramon Casiple said.

"Definitely, party-list groups are not really appealing to issues that are political. It only shows the power of media because the number one source of information for voters is television," he told ABS-CBN News.

"Obviously those groups identified through the media have greater chances to get the votes. They managed to leverage their name into votes," he said.

STAR POWER

In the case of runaway leader ACT-CIS, the popularity of the "Tulfo" name, as well as their family's connections, carried the group to the top, Casiple explained.

"Definitely, the Tulfo shows and their exposure on social media helped. Those who listen to the Tulfos are from the urban population," he told ABS-CBN News.

Tulfo currently hosts a public service show "Kilos Pronto" on state-run television network PTV, while he hosted radio news commentary program "Punto Asintado" on Radyo5.

"Obviously, through the years, yung mga naserbisyuhan nila became their active campaigners," Casiple said, referring to the previous public service programs of Tulfo and his brothers.

(The people they have served in the past became their active campaigners.)

ACT-CIS advocates for crime prevention, public safety, and peace and order, according to its Facebook page.

Another proof of "star power" is 5th placer Ang Probinsyano backed by actors Coco Martin and Yassi Pressman from the hit television series with the same name.

"It's because of the identification with the popular show 'Ang Probinsyano'. I don't think malalim yung issue ng mga grupo na yan (I don't think that group deals with deep issues)," Casiple said.

"They are only trying to ride on the popularity of the show."

According to its official Facebook page, Ang Probinsyano’s advocacy is to uplift the standard of living of ordinary families in the provinces.