By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang insisted that President Duterte has no hand in the Facebook accounts and pages supporting him after they were taken down by Facebook last week.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo made the statement days after Facebook took down a total of 200 pages associated with Duterte’s social media manager Nic Gabunada due to misleading behavior and fake accounts.
Gabunada was behind the social media campaign of Duterte during the 2016 presidential polls.
In his Monday press briefing, Panelo said that Duterte probably has no idea on how the social media accounts and pages supporting his campaign were being used.
“I don’t think the President has anything to do with those Facebook accounts which was initiated during the campaign or even during the assumption of his presidency. He doesn’t know anything about it,” he said.
The Palace official also said that no government funds were used to run the said Facebook pages and accounts.
“No. I do not think so. No. I said the President has nothing to do with that. And we will not allow that,” Panelo said.
Meanwhile, Panelo recognized that social media has indeed played a big role during the election period in 2016, be it for Duterte or for his political rivals.
However, Panelo said he doubts if social media was the key factor to Duterte’s victory since majority of voters do not have Facebook accounts.
“But both sides were very active during the campaign. Still, the people who decided, and most of them were not with social media. The overwhelming majority that voted him into office, I don’t think they have Facebook accounts and whatever. These are the masses,” he said.
“The campaign promises of the President as a candidate resonated with them, that is why they elected him into office,” he added.
“It could have contributed, pwede rin namang hindi. More on the masses ang boto sa kanya eh (or not. Majority of the votes for him came from the masses). Do we have a survey how much ang (are in) social media? Ninety percent? You must be kidding,” he continued.
Panelo also confidently expressed that Duterte would have still won even without his social media supporters.