Miriam leads net revolution vs. 'clowns'

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is leading young voters to a revolution - an internet revolution through social networking sites in determining whether the present batch of senatorial candidates deserve to be in office for the 16th Congress this July.

“If the first Edsa revolution was a Xerox revolution, and if Edsa 2 was a text revolution, then the next revolution against political corruption should be called the Net revolution,” Santiago said.

Speaking at a symposium spearheaded by the UP Student Council in Manila last Tuesday, Santiago called on young students to use the social media to be vigilant against traditional politicians in the coming May elections.

“The ideal UP student always gives the world a shock.  I ask each one of you to give the mindless political candidates a shock, by demoting TV, which used to be the king of political advertising, and instead elevating as political campaign weapons the tablet and the smart phone,” Santiago added.

The feisty senator said the 52 million Filipino voters are bored with political antics and cheap gimmickry.

Santiago again resorted to name-calling, describing politicians as “clowns.”

“We are aghast at their resumes. Some of them are not even high school graduates. They resort to all kinds of cheap gimmickry, hoping to provide entertainment for free.  They should not be called candidates; they should be called clowns,” she said.

In the Philippines, Santiago claimed that politics is dominated by two kinds of clowns: rich clowns; and poor clowns hoping to become rich.

“Fortunately, we are at the cusp of a new ominous wave of change in the political beach. This wave is called the social media,” she said.

In categorizing political clowns, Santiago said the rich clowns used to bribe press and broadcast journalists so that they could gain added illegal advantage over their competitors.  “But now, the rich clowns are beginning to discover that it is not possible to bribe the leaders, much less, all the netizens in cyberspace,” she added.

In terms of social network use, the Philippines is ranked among the top countries.

“This could be the precursor of the participatory democracy of the future,” se said, noting that  Facebook is the premier social media service in the world. Twitter is an online social networking and micro-blogging service.  YouTube provides a forum for the distribution of video content, particularly eyewitness features of political protests.

Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the so-called big three social media services.  These services enable large numbers of people to be easily and inexpensively contacted via a variety of services, Santiago noted.

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