MANILA, Philippines — A spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday stressed that the former Davao City mayor won the 2016 elections fairly and his campaign did not pay nor transact with a data mining firm accused of improperly harvesting Facebook user data and using them to influence elections.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, who was treasurer for the presidential campaign, has already given his assurance that he did not pay anything to nor transact with Strategic Communications Laboratories, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, a firm at the center of a scandal engulfing Facebook after it was revealed that it harvested data from users and their friends and use them to influence the 2016 US presidential election.
’16 million votes from different sectors’
Duterte’s spokesman also reiterated that the president got an “overwhelming mandate of over 16 million votes and a margin of over six million” from different sectors and not just from users of the social network.
Duterte’s 16 million votes were only a plurality of votes and short of a majority
“The secretary of Finance, in his capacity as treasurer of the PRRD campaign, assures (sic) that he did not pay anything to Cambridge Analytica nor did he transact with them,” the presidential spokesman said in a statement.
The South China Morning Post reported that Cambridge Analytica’s parent firm, SCL, claimed on its website that it had worked for a candidate in the 2016 elections. The report assumed that the candidate was Duterte although the website did not explicitly do so.
SCL said that it helped the candidate by painting him as tough on crime.
The paper also reported that Alexander Nix, the recently-suspended boss of Cambridge Analytica, went to Manila in May 2015 and dined with Jose Gabriel La Viña and Peter Tiu Laviña who later played key roles in the Duterte campaign.
SCL was revealed to have significant connections to the campaign of US President Trump. It wooed support from former Trump campaign manager Steve Bannon and Trump donor Robert Mercer, who infused the data mining firm with more than $15 million, resulting in the creation of Cambridge Analytica in 2014.
Roque, Duterte’s spokesman, said that people should respect Duterte’s “landslide victory” and not undermine his mandate with unsubstantiated allegations.
Duterte social media campaign, known for its expanse and reach, has been criticized for publishing spurious information and inaccurate reports, claims denied by his officials. / Audrey Morallo (philstar.com) – April 10, 2018 – 3:25pm / All photographs, news, editorials, opinions, information, data, others have been taken from the Internet ..aseanews.net | [email protected] / For comments, Email to : Aseanews.Net | [email protected] | Contributor:-