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No help from China in 2016 polls – Duterte

Christina Mendez - The Philippine Star
No help from China in 2016 polls â Duterte
In his regular televised address Monday night, Duterte also rained invectives on former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, who revealed receiving information on Feb. 22, 2019 that Beijing officials had bragged about having influenced the elections in 2016 to favor Duterte.
Presidential photo / Ace Morandante

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has denied owing his election victory in 2016 to China as ranking Beijing officials had reportedly bragged, saying he didn’t need help from a foreign country to get 16 million votes.

In his regular televised address Monday night, Duterte also rained invectives on former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario, who revealed receiving information on Feb. 22, 2019 that Beijing officials had bragged about having influenced the elections in 2016 to favor Duterte.

Duterte also threatened to file charges against the former foreign affairs secretary for insinuating that he had allowed foreign intervention in his presidential bid in 2016.

“You know, we are still investigating it,” he said, referring to possible charges against Del Rosario. “I’m not – I have not, for the life of me, sued anybody for libel or anything during my 23 years, four years as congressman then as vice mayor, and as president,” Duterte said.

“Pero ikaw ang hahabulin ko kasi ikaw ang nag-transmit sa message. You are in olden times, kung at war lang tayo sana, you are guilty of treason. Kaya nga pala kasi hindi ka Pilipino. Kung saan ka napulot, bakit ang hitsura mo? Hindi ka talaga Pilipino sa totoo lang (I will get you, because it’s you who transmitted the message. You are in olden times, if we are at war, you are guilty of treason. I see you’re not a Filipino. Where did you come from, why do you look like that? You’re really not a Filipino, that’s the truth),” he said.

“Anong China-China magtulong sa akin? Gago ka, saan mo nakuha ‘yan? Sixteen – 16 million makuha mo ng tulong sa ibang bayan? Sixteen million mabili mo? Ang aking majority is six million over. Lahat 16 million. Sixteen million plus voted. Six million of that was my majority over your friend (What do you mean China helped me? Who told you that? Help from another country for the 16 million? 16 million plus voted, six million of that was my majority over your friend),” he said.

The President said he would also like to throw a cup of coffee at Del Rosario’s face.

Reacting to Duterte’s tirade, Del Rosario said the people should vote in next year’s elections for a candidate who will promote the interest of the Philippines and not China’s.

Del Rosario, who was instrumental in the Philippines’ winning its arbitration case against China, said he believes Duterte’s actions “fit into a disturbing pattern of loyalty to a foreign power.”

“For this coming election, our humble view is our people should vote for the candidate who is good for our country – and not one who is good for China,” he said.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, cautioned that China may resort to cyber espionage to influence the results of the 2022 elections.

“I will not be surprised if China interferes in our elections. Obviously, they will do everything to permanently claim our oceans and territories in the West Philippine Sea, and this includes appointing a leader who will not contradict their orders. China’s cyber warfare and disinformation campaigns will be one of the biggest threats to our national security and our democracy, ” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros’ warning came after cybersecurity firm Kaspersky revealed there is a “rare, wide-scale advanced persistent threat” by Chinese “actors” to gather geopolitical and economic intelligence in Asia and Africa.

The firm added that some 1,400 users in the Philippines, including government entities, have fallen victim to spear-phishing emails that contain malicious documents.

“Modus is also to mimic apps like Zoom that are often used in meetings and online classes during this pandemic. Unknown to the user, his data is being retrieved. This is also not the first time that cyber espionage attacks have been reported against the Philippines allegedly from China. We must have policies and preparations for China’s continued intervention because it has been against it for a long time. China does not stop intervening so we must not stop evictions, ” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros then urged the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to look into Kaspersky’s reports immediately.

The senator said concerned agencies should also issue protocols that all Filipinos can follow as safeguard against China’s cyberintrusions.

“The DND and DICT should strengthen our cyber defense framework and, at the same time, Filipino users should be made aware of how we can protect ourselves from cyberattacks. China has no respect for our sovereignty so we in the Philippines must be vigilant. Let us work together to ensure that the interests and welfare of the Philippines are upheld,” Hontiveros said. – Pia Lee-Brago, Cecille Suerte-Felipe

CHINA PRESIDENT DUTERTE
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