We don’t have trolls to attack VP — Andanar

Published October 7, 2020, 9:53 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The Duterte administration has not tapped social media trolls to attack Vice President Leni Robredo and foment division in the country, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar (PCOO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

After the camp of Robredo reportedly blamed the “disinformation wall” for her low public trust and approval ratings, Andanar kept the administration’s distance from the social media accounts critical of the Vice President, saying these were “independent.”  

“Although independent social media accounts remain critical of Vice-President Leni Robredo and her role in our collective fight against the virus, which may have truly contributed to the ‘disinformation wall’ she is encountering, we assure everyone that the Duterte administration has nothing to do with these critical social media voices,” Andanar said.

“More to the point, the administration will never employ ‘social media trolls’ to divide our society,” he added.

Robredo’s spokesman Barry Gutierrez earlier said the Vice President’s trust and approval numbers were lower than other government officials because she remained under constant attack by trolls and peddlers of fake news. He also said Robredo does have the same communication infrastructure as the Palace to inform the public about her programs.

“Since we don’t really have access to the same level of communications infrastructure as Malacañang, and we are under constant attack by trolls and other people who persist in spreading fake news online about the VP, we’re really hitting a disinformation wall and we have to deal with that every day that we are striving to work for the Filipino public,” Gutierrez said in a recent statement.

In a recent Pulse Asia survey, Robredo landed fourth among the top government officials with her 57-percent approval rating and a 50-percent trust rating. President Duterte remained the most trusted and approved government official with 91 percent, followed by Senate President Vicente Sotto III, and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano. 

Andanar acknowledged that like Robredo, the administration is also faced the disinformation wall amid the spread of false information by its detractors.

“In fact, the Duterte administration faces as well a ‘disinformation wall’, apart from the countless false information being spread online by entities and groups” he said.

Andanar however said the administration managed to break down such wall after the Presidential Communications Operations Office intensified efforts to keep Filipinos “engaged and informed.”

He said the President earned “outstanding” trust and approval scores since the people “feel the benefits” of the government’s programs and policies.

“Moreover, such recognition and appreciation of the President are also due to the Duterte administration’s apparent, proactive, and comprehensive actions and responses against COVID-19. This as we continue to minimize both the infection and death rates, while aggressively expanding our recovery rate,” he said.

On the part of the PCOO, he said they will stay committed to spread public information about the government’s programs especially on response and recovery efforts against the coronavirus pandemic.