MANILA, Philippines – Young people who could not join the crowd at the proclamation rally of presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago and her running mate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr in Batac, Ilocos Norte, took to social media to express their enthusiasm.
The tandem kicked off their campaign from the Marcos family bailiwick. Batac is the birth town of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos Jr was congressman and governor of the province for a long time before he was elected senator.
In 1992, Santiago first ran for president. As a fiesty judge and former immigration boss, Santiago captured the imagination of millions of Filipino youth, who packed auditoriums just to listen to her. She however narrowly lost to former defense secretary Fidel V. Ramos in the polls she claims was rigged. She also lost her second presidential bid in 1998. (READ: Can #Miriam2016 revive her 1992 magic and movement?)
Many young netizens found senators Santiago and Marcos to be the most competent presidential and vice presidential candidates, respectively:
Many young netizens believed the candidates also represent hope.
Many believed that, despite having to deal with cancer, Santiago will be strong enough to mount a campaign and to run the country if she wins. (WATCH: VLOG: Does Miriam still have 'magic' for 2016 run?)
In late 2015, Santiago announced that 90% of her cancer cells had regressed. One of her supporters, who goes by the Twitter name @ConanEinstein, said Santiago as president would be able to "cure the cancer of our country."
Hounded by history
Although the mood online was generally enthusiastic, there were still those who were displeased with Marcos' background. (READ: A Marcos brand of amnesia)
The Campaign against the Return of the Marcoses in Malacañang (Carmma) made it their mission to frustrate Marcos' bid.
May pag-ibig na parang Bongbong Marcos at Marcos dictatorship: di dapat mag-comeback. — rolando tolentino (@rolandtolentino) February 9, 2016
The biggest criticism against Marcos is his response to issues surrounding his father's dictatorship. In 2015, he defended his father's actions during martial law. He maintains there is no need for apologies, citing the achievements of the late dictator including infrastructure projects.
The former president's legacy was mired in widespread violations of human rights.
Carrma, a coalition of martial law victims, vowed they would "hound" Marcos during his sorties to inform the new voting generation of the Martial Law atrocities, and ensure he would not campaign without having to face his past. – Bea Orante/Rappler.com