Press Release
December 16, 2015


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has cemented her position as the president of choice in Philippine campuses, as she won by an overwhelming majority a survey at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), the third student poll she has won since certificates of candidacy were filed.

Two out of three (66 percent) of the 1,366 respondents in the survey conducted by the UST's official student publication, The Varsitarian, said that they would vote for Santiago if elections were held on the day they were polled, from October 26 to December 10.

No other candidate won two-digit scores in the survey. Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas got 8 percent; Sen. Grace Poe, 5 percent; and Vice President Jejomar Binay, 3 percent. Some 17 percent of respondents said they were undecided.

"Clearly, students know that the presidency is no place for the weak-minded, the inexperienced, or the corrupt. It appears that they give weight to my criteria for leaders: academic excellence, professional achievement, and sincerity," Santiago said.

The UST survey is the third campus poll conducted and published after candidates have filed their certificates of candidacy. The two others were from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines and the University of the Philippines Los Baños. Santiago led all three polls.

The senator, the only presidential candidate who has yet to release campaign ads, has earlier said that she will prioritize campus speeches over traditional campaign sorties, banking on youth support to match the money and machinery of her opponents.

On Monday, Santiago delivered a speech about nationalism and student leadership at a jam-packed covered court of the Rizal Technological University in Pasig. "Leadership is not about personality.... Leadership is about behavior-- ano ang nagawa mo?" the senator said.

"Tell the older people in your community and in your household that elections are not an exercise in entertainment or in humor. Elections are an exercise of the will--the mental will--to improve ourselves," she told students further, to loud applause.

Santiago also constantly emphasizes social media's growing influence in the electoral process, especially as an estimated 40 million Filipinos use the Internet. The senator has the largest social media following among the presidential bets--some 3.3 million on Facebook and 2.2 million on Twitter.

"Lahat kami iisa-isahin talaga kasi mayroon talagang nagkakapera bawat eleksyon sa pamamagitan ng paninira, o dirty operations.... Maaasahan natin na lahat kami sisiraan, kaya importante na sa kampanyang ito, gamitin natin ang social media para makita natin ang katotohanan," she said.

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