By Genalyn D. Kabiling
President Duterte has dispelled speculations that he used the services of Cambridge Analytica to supposedly boost his presidential campaign in 2016.
The President insisted that he ran a “simple” campaign in the last national elections without the British data analytics firm, which has been accused of improperly harvesting personal data from millions of Facebook users.
“Wala man akong alam. Hindi ko man kilala ‘yan. Honestly, hindi ako bilib diyan sa survey-survey,” Duterte said during a press conference after arriving in Davao City from his four-day journey to Hong Kong and Hainan, China yesterday.
“Wala akong Cambridge-Cambridge, Oxford, basta ‘yung akin, kampanya, simple lang,” he said.
Duterte recalled that during a Luneta political rally two years ago, he told the crowd to simply choose between heaven with the priests or hell with him.
“Sabi ko, ‘kayong lahat na naniwala sa pari, naniniwala sa Diyos, at ayaw ninyo ng patayan sa mga droga, gusto niyong buhayin niyo ‘yang mga p***** i**** ‘yan, diyan kayo,’ he said.
“O, tapos, sabi ko, ‘gustong magpunta ng impyerno, patayin na natin ‘yang durugista, dito kayo.’ O, see what happened. Ba’t ako Cambridge-Cambridge ka pa diyan,” he added.
Malacañang had earlier said Duterte won the 2016 elections fair and square, denying allegations his campaign team tapped the data analytic firm to boost his chances of victory.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque issued the clarification after Alexander Nix, the suspended boss of Cambridge Analytica, reportedly met with some members of the Duterte’s campaign team back in 2015.
The London-based research firm is in the center of a global firestorm amid accusations it might have harvested personal data about Facebook users and might have influence elections in some countries. Filipino Facebook users were reportedly affected by the data scandal.
Roque said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, the former treasurer of Duterte’s campaign, declared “he did not pay anything to Cambridge Analytica nor did he transact with them.”
“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,” he said.