Palace maintains Duterte won 2016 elections ‘fair and square’

MANILAPresident Rodrigo R. Duterte's campaign team did not have to buy its way into making the Chief Executive win in the 2016 elections because he won "fair and square," his spokesperson said Tuesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark following a report that the parent firm of Cambridge Analytica, Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL), boasted on its website that it helped Duterte get elected by branding him as a tough, decisive man of action.

Cambridge Analytica is the political consultancy currently at the center of a Facebook data mining scandal linked to the 2016 US presidential race.

There was also a report and photo that showed that some members of Duterte's campaign teamthen President of the National Press Club (NPC) and now Communications Undersecretary Joel Egco, Istratehiya Chairman Taipan Millan, then social media director Jose Gabriel Pompee La ViAa and his cousin Peter Tiu LaviAahad dined with suspended Cambridge Analytica Chief Executive Officer Alexander Nix in 2015.

In a report, Egco admitted having dined with Nix but Pompee La ViAa said they could not afford a consultant like him, who was later suspended in connection with the scandal over the firm's use of Facebook data for US President Donald Trump's election campaign.

The President won the election fair and square with an overwhelming mandate of over 16 million votes and a margin of over six million, Roque said in a statement.

Roque pointed out that there was no need for Duterte's campaign team to purchase information from Cambridge Analytica, since support for the President came from beyond the online community.

Support for the former Davao city mayor was from all sectors and not just from Facebook or online; thus, the Duterte campaign did not have to purchase information, he added.

He also stressed that Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, who was then treasurer for Duterte's campaign, had also assured that they did not make any transactions with Cambridge Analytica.

The Secretary of Finance, in his capacity as treasurer of the PRRD (President Rodrigo R. Duterte) campaign, assures that he did not pay anything to Cambridge Analytica nor did he transact with them, Roque said.

Roque, meanwhile, urged the SCL to stop making unsubstantial allegations to undermine Duterte's win and instead respect it.

We should respect the President's landslide victory, which was a result of the trust and confidence of the Filipino people, and not undermine it with unsubstantiated allegations, Roque said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency