The VP debates in sentiments

Ralph Vincent Regalado
The VP debates in sentiments
Who among the vice presidential candidates generate the most positive and most negative sentiments among Twitter users during the Comelec-sponsored debate?

MANILA, Philippines – For the vice presidential debate on April 10, a smaller but engaged crowd on Twitter weighed in with humor and social insights.

SENTi analyzed over 150,0000 tweets from Twitter during the debate, a noticeably smaller than the 1 million tweets generated by the last presidential debate on March 20.

Our technology gathers and analyzes tweets based on a topic and runs it through our database that classifies the phrases used whether Positive, Negative or Neutral. What makes it more interesting is that this technology can read English, Filipino, Taglish and other informal languages Filipinos use like text speak or even jejemon.

Here, we break it down to how each candidate fared in Positive, Negative, and Neutral values, based on our analytic measurements.

Broad view: Twitter sentiments

Data in the graph shows sentiment analysis for each vice presidential candidate during the vice presidential debate between 4 pm to 10 pm.

Sentiments for each vice presidential candidate were analyzed to understand and gather deep insights from Twitter users.

Alan Peter Cayetano

Netizens talked about how strong and wise he was during the debate. They also injected sense of humor and made fun of how Cayetano supports Duterte.

There was a high volume of negative sentiments regarding Cayetano because netizens want to know the steps and measures they will do in order to lessen crime in 6 months.

Netizens mentioned that the “Cayetano vs Marcos” is like “Pacquiao vs Bradley Part 2.”

Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero

Sentiments about Escudero were mostly negative. Conversations revolved around Escudero’s tone while he was speaking. Netizens also noticed that Escudero’s speech sounded rehearsed.  Some netizens expressed that he was like reciting poems/declaiming while on stage.

Neutral sentiments were mostly retweets from news agencies that mention Escudero. Most of the content joked about his voice and the way he delivered his statements.

Gregorio ‘Gringo’ Honasan II

Sentiments about Honasan were mostly negative.  Netizens talked about how good his answers were but they also felt that he is running under a bad presidential candidate.

Sentiments that were neutral came from retweets of news agencies that mentioned Honasan and netizens who posted quotes from his statements during the debate.

Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr

Positive sentiments and volume for Marcos were driven by Twitter bots and twitter influencers, such as @bobongquotes.


Neutral sentiments about Marcos were because of spam tweets and retweets from news agencies.

Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo

Twitter sentiments revolving around Robredo were mostly positive. Many netizens felt her sincerity but they also felt that she is running under a bad presidential candidate.

Neutral sentiments were also gathered. These mentions came from Twitter users campaigning for her. The validity of these so-called users are still questionable – are they human or bots?

Antonio ‘Sonny’ Trillanes IV

Analyzed sentiments about Trillanes were mostly negative. The high volume of negative mentions were associated to the booing of the crowd (and VP Binay) and most of the neutral mentions came from netizens quoting statements made by Trillanes.

VP Twitter followers increased

There was a noticeable increase of Twitter followers among some candidates right after the VP debate.

Marcos, who constantly received a high number of followers days before the event, garnered the highest number of followers. Though Cayetano and Robredo’s previous follower count were minimal against Marcos, they both gained a huge increase of followers right after the debate. This only proves that Cayetano and Robredo gained attention during the VP debate.

The question now is whether this increase in followers and interest will translate to votes. It is important to note that social media, particularly Twitter, is susceptible to manipulation such as the use of active bots rooting for a specific candidate.

At this stage of the campaign where candidates are neck-and-neck in the surveys, social media may play a significant role or act as a tipping point to determine who wins. It would be interesting to see how the candidates will use social media to their advantage. –

Ralph Vincent Regalado is the CEO and founder of SENTi. He is a professor, a natural language processing expert, and an active tech community lead. When he is not at work, he spends his time traveling and hiking mountains. Follow Ralph on Twitter @regalandroid.

SENTi is a social media listening tool that understands Filipino. It is the pioneer in using cutting-edge algorithms in understanding how Filipinos respond to products, events, and current happenings.



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