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PRRD rejects speculations on Cambridge Analytica’s hand in campaign

President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he did not know or trust anyone working for Cambridge Analytica, the political consultancy currently at the center of a Facebook data mining scandal which claimed to have helped him win the 2016 presidential race.

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”.

“Wala man akong alam. Hindi ko man kilala ‘yan. Honestly, hindi ako bilib diyan sa survey-survey (I don’t know anything. I don’t know them, Honestly, I don’t believe in surveys of any kind),” Duterte said when he arrived in Davao City on Friday from his visit to China and Hong Kong.

“Wala akong Cambridge-Cambridge, Oxford, basta ‘yung akin, kampanya, simple lang (I’m not involved in any Cambridge-Cambridge, Oxford, for me, it was just a simple campaign),” he added.

Duterte said that he would not even think of paying the firm to help him with his campaign, quipping that they could be responsible for his loss.

“Bakit ako magbayad sa mga ugok na taga-Cambridge ang magtrabaho para sa kampanya ko? Mas lalo akong matalo niyan (Why would I pay someone from Cambridge to work on my campaign? I might end up losing),” Duterte said.

“Dili ko musalig (I will not trust) Cambridge-Cambridge,” he added.

Malacañang earlier said that 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”.

“The President won the election fair and square with an overwhelming mandate of over 16 million votes and a margin of over six million,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry 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.

The National Privacy Commission (NPC) has launched an investigation into the data breach involving Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, where the personal information of more than a million Filipino users may have been shared without their consent.

In a letter to Facebook, the NPC required the popular social networking site to submit documents relevant to the case to establish the scope and impact of the incident on Filipino subjects.

It launched its formal investigation on Thursday to seek more concrete actions from Facebook.

The letter was signed by NPC Commissioner Raymund Liboro and Deputy Commissioners Ivy Patdu and Leandro Aguirre.

Azer Parrocha / PNA