Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Second #PiliPinasDebates2016 Heats Up and Sparks Even More Conversations on Twitter

Wazzup Pilipinas!

There were over 1.6 Million tweets during the second Presidential Debate on 20 March 2016. 
No hour and a half long wait quelled the fiery conversations that Filipino voters anticipated from yesterday’s second Presidential TV debate. The political showdown went on between Jejomar Binay, Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe, and Mar Roxas at the University of the Philippines in Cebu, despite the absence of Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago who had to excuse herself to undergo an experimental treatment for her medical condition.

There were over 1.6 million Tweets sent during the debate (from its scheduled broadcast of 4:30PM-9.30pm, 20 March 2016), boosting the #PiliPinasDebates2016 hashtag to the #1 Twitter trending topic not only in the Philippines, but also worldwide. The Twitter conversation peaked over 16,000 Tweets per minute around 6:49PM during the heated exchange between Senator Grace Poe (@SenGracePOE) and Vice President Jejomar Binay (@VPJojoBinay) on Freedom of Information bill.

“As we continue amplifying the sentiments of Filipinos over their presidential candidates, Twitter is giving each voter a voice to be heard by their fellow citizens to make a more informed voting decision,” said Pratiksha Rao, Twitter’s Head for Media Partnerships for Southeast Asia. “The second run of the #PiliPinasDebates2016 saw a higher level of engagement and Tweets than the first debate, proving that more and more Filipinos are joining the election conversation, analyzing the debates, and responding in real-time to the candidates’ answers, all on Twitter.”

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During the unexpected delay in broadcast, citizens flocked to Twitter to seek information on the cause of delay and engage in live conversation, leading to a user-generated hashtag that trended nationally in Philippines #PiliPinasDeLate.

Even the candidates took to Twitter to express their view on the cause of delay and stay connected in real-time with their 

The second debate had a new format with the first half constituting of candidates answering questions posed by the panel, and the second half constituting of candidates posing questions to each other followed by closing statements.

Among all the topics covered during the second debate, it was “Freedom of Information and Rule of Law” that registered the most interest on Twitter with 32% of the Tweets. This was followed by “Crime” (23%), “Tax Reform” (20%), “Yolanda” (11%), and “Climate Change” (11%).

As the debate delay was caused due to miscommunication of debate rules by the organizers to one of the candidates, VP Jejomar Binay (@VPJojoBinay), regarding using notes on the stage, the conversation at the start of the debate was dominated by mentions of Binay. As the debate progressed, the share of voice changed, with Duterte (@RRD_Davao) leading the Twitter conversation during the second half.

Share of voice on Twitter during the first half of the debate when the candidates were asked questions by the panel (6:20PM-8:10PM, 20th March):

Share of voice on Twitter during the second half of the debates when the candidates posed questions to each other and gave their closing statements (8:20PM-9:30PM, 20th March):

Twitter continued to be the platform of choice for all candidates to directly share their stand on issues during the debate. While, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago (@senmiriam) was physically absent at the debate venue, she took to Twitter to share her opinions and participate in the conversation real-time.

The other candidates also Tweeted during the debate, to express their opinions on topics they didn’t get an opportunity to elaborate on, as well as to reinforce their opinion on specific issues in their own voice.

Below are some of the most shared Tweets from yesterday’s debate, ranging from the comedic way Miriam would react if she was watching the #PiliPinasDebates2016 to the public’s reaction to every humorous instance they could relate to like a quip from @IamEthylGabison on #OrasKoTo, a reference to candidate @MarRoxas’ tendency to assert himself over every attempt of his co-debaters to rebut him during his time allotment.

Filipinos can also search and participate in ongoing elections-related conversations by following @COMELEC ( or Tweeting and searching the #PiliPinasDebates2016 hashtag on Twitter. The public may also view all crowd-sourced debate questions and comments via Tweets by visiting

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