State witness: the new angst on social media

Dominic Gabriel Go
Online euphoria ended up in ansgt at the possibility that Napoles will become a state witness

MANILA, Philippines – There was euphoria on social media Wednesday night when news broke that Napoles is in government custody. However, it was incredibly short lived.

Twitter immediately came alive with 23,000 online mentions based on a scan of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, news sites and comments from 9:30pm to midnight, August 28.

 Online activity during the time Napoles was announced to be in government custody

The first salvo of tweets last night about Janet Lim-Napoles’ arrest were all euphoric. Netizens were even joking about who will get the 10m reward now that the government has her in custody.

As soon as the euphoria died down, netizens started to look for details behind her arrest. During the press conference last night, DILG secretary Mar Roxas’ said that Janet Lim-Napoles was brought to Malacañang where she surrendered to President Aquino. Earlier that day, Napoles’ lawyer Lorna Kapunan called Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda to send surrender feelers after the President announced a P10-M reward for Napoles’ arrest. Negotiations started around lunch time with the surrender happening at 9:37pm.

Secretary Roxas added that there have been no discussions so far about turning Napoles into a state witness. He added that “Napoles surrendered because she feared for her life.”

Netizens aren’t buying it.

The New Angst

As soon as Roxas mentioned the possibility of turning Napoles into a state witness, social media reacted immediately.  A new online angst was born.

Based on a Radian6 analysis, most of the next 15,000 mentions about Napoles’ arrest from midnight last night to 4pm today, August 29, were online discussions about the possibility of turning her into a state witness. Even Sen Miriam Defensor Santiago said it will be difficult for Napoles to be a state witness.

Online activity about the possibility that Napoles becomes a state witness

Netizens also heavily discussed the supposedly special treatment she received while being processed at Camp Crame, and her unusual privilege of being the first fugitive in 65 years to surrender to a Philippine president.

As of 6pm on August 29, 60% of the sentiment is negative: people are angry about the possibility that Napoles could become a state witness and escape prosecution. The other 40% is positive largely because they believe that if Napoles turns state witness, the public will learn more about the masterminds behind the pork barrel scam.

Janet Lim–Napoles as a state witness?

Social media says pay for your crimes, then we’ll talk. – Rappler.com

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