Robredo concerned China out to meddle with Philippine polls in 2022
Vice President Leni Robredo addresses delegates from different countries at the 14th Indo-Pacific Federation Conference of the Theosophical Society, held at Microtel Wyndham Hotel in Quezon City on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.
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Robredo concerned China out to meddle with Philippine polls in 2022
( - September 28, 2020 - 11:04am

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo has raised the concerns on China’s potential role in spreading propaganda through social media to influence the Philippines’ national elections in 2022.

“What is China doing with our domestic affairs? We should be afraid,” Robredo said on her weekly radio show on Sunday.

“Does their interest show because this will also protect their own interest? I think this is frightening because it involves our sovereignty,” she said in Filipino.

Last week, Nathaniel Gleicher, head of security policy at Facebook Inc., said the social media giant removed two networks of accounts, pages and groups from its platform for violating rules on coordinated inauthentic behavior. One network is linked to the Philippine military and police, while the other was traced to China.

Among accounts shutdown by Facebook showed a network supporting Davao Mayor Sara Duterte's potential presidential bid for 2022 to succeed her father.

President Rodrigo Duterte has brought the Philippines closer to China despite obvious public apprehensions on Beijing's territorial claims in West Philippine Sea, already struck down by an international ruling Duterte has repeatedly refused to invoke. 

Apart from support to the current administration, Robredo also noted that the Facebook accounts taken down have also been attacking, and spreading fake news about her who is part of the opposition. “Ano ang interes ninyo para siraan ako?” she asked.

The 155 accounts shut down form a network traced to Fujian province in China. They were spread through 11 pages, nine groups and even six accounts on Instagram, which Facebook owns.

Apart from election matters, the network's posts also tackle Beijing’s interest in the South China Sea, affairs of Filipino migrant workers, as well as criticizes Rappler as a media organization critical of the Duterte government.

RELATED: Duterte camp spent $200,000 for troll army, Oxford study finds

Earlier, Robredo had expressed intentions to charge people behind damaging online rumors about her. She said when internet trolls spread false information online, it becomes not just a threat against her, but to society in general, especially during a pandemic.

“Because they are making the online space a hostile environment, because they hide their identities,” she said in June. — Kristine Joy Patag

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