Duterte says he doesn't need trolls, defenders

President Rodrigo Duterte said doesn't need to have defenders nor cared if his approval ratings went down as he reacts to an Oxford University study that suggested around P10 million was spent for trolls to promote his messages and harass critics.

Image from PhilStar

The 72 year old president emphasized he does not need to enhance his popularity since his presidency isn't renewable nor he won't be re-elected.

“Perhaps during the elections… and they were all during the campaign.  But I do not need that now,” Duterte said when asked to react to the study in a press briefing on Monday.

According to the said study, about 400 to 500 cyber troops were hired to harass those who disagree with Duterte and to post messages supportive of the government.

Fake accounts were supposedly used in the Philippines to spread propaganda and false news to create an artificial sense of popularity, momentum or relevance.

Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), a social media manager, volunteer groups and paid citizens form part of this online army, the study said.

“You know, I do not need to defend myself from attacks. I’ve stated my piece during my inauguration and during the campaign," said Duterte in a briefing.

He also added that he does't care anymore if his ratings will go up or down because it doesn't give significance to him.

"And I do not hunger for ratings. I do not even look at it. And I do not comment on it,” he added.

On the other hand, Duterte admitted he has online supporters including Preisdential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson.

Duterte claimed he did not pay anyone to write something positive about him.

“Oxford University? Eskuwelahan sa mga bobo ‘yan (That’s a school for the dumb),” Duterte said.

Source: PhilstarTribune