Mark Villar, 'most influential' senatorial candidate; Roque, Panelo trail

Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar emerged as the "most influential" potential candidate for Senate in the 2022 elections in terms of social media and mainstream media Facebook pages influence, a research company found.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo (Facebook/Malacañang file photos)

Based on an independent study of WR Numero Research, a technology-driven public opinion and data analytics company, Villar topped the list of 23 most influential political personalities in social media with a score of +34 percent.

Senator Risa Hontiveros with a score of +15 and Taguig-Pateros First District Representative Alan Peter Cayetano with +10.33 percent came next.

Other personalities in the top 10 were lawyer Chel Diokno, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, Senator Joel Villanueva, Leyte Fourth District Representative Lucy Torres, former Senator JV Ejercito, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, and Deputy House Speaker Loren Legarda.

In terms of influence in personal Facebook pages, Villar was still the most influential followed by Roque. Villar and Torres were the most influential in mainstream media Facebook pages.

In contrast, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo ended at the bottom of the list with a score of -4.96 percent. Engagements in social media were found to be consistently received negatively by the online public.

Joining Panelo in the bottom three were ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list Representative Mike Defensor and Senator Richard Gordon.

Meanwhile, Roque received overwhelmingly negative sentiments in mainstream media, making him the least influential political personality in the said category with a score of -52.5 percent. Next to him was Senator Francis Pangilinan with -13.5 percent.

Social media political influence of potential candidates for Senate in the 2022 elections (WR Numero Research)

According to WR Numero, Roque's 39-percent lead over Pangilinan was "unparalleled."

"None of the last-ranked political personality in any other category of Facebook pages studied has received this overwhelmingly negative sentiments," the report read.

The study, which was conducted from April 20 to June 5, 2021, monitored three categories of Facebook pages including those of the mainstream media, alternative media, and official Facebook pages.

The mainstream media category was a collection of Facebook pages of news outlets that are "widely considered to be of national significance."

The report monitored 13 Facebook pages, 2,836 posts, and 6,744,545 engagements for potential senatorial candidates for this category.

The alternative media category, meanwhile, was a collection of the most popular hyper-partisan Facebook pages in the country which usually mimics mainstream media aesthetics while claiming to offer "more authentic sources of interpretations of news."

For this category, a total of 46 Facebook pages, 688 posts, and 888,182 engagements were studied.

The official Facebook pages category was a collection of pages that were officially owned and run by the personality or his/her staff. Here, 20 Facebook pages, 1,861 posts, and 8,689,570 engagements were monitored.

According to the group, there was a need to measure political influence in social media for the 2022 elections because political campaigns have shifted to the digital age.

WR Numero Research likewise said that social media now poses a powerful factor in electoral success and that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated shifts in politics.