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Are Troll Farms Running on Taxpayers' Money? Senators Seek Investigation

Fake news must not influence the vote.
by Erwin Colcol
Jul 12, 2021
Photo/s: Senate of the Philippines/Facebook

Senators are calling for an investigation into reports that public funds are being used to operate troll farms and spread misinformation on social media ahead of the 2022 elections.

Twelve senators, including Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, signed Senate Resolution 768 urging the appropriate Senate committee to investigate the alleged troll farms that are supposedly backed by the government.

"Filipinos should know why government spends public funds on troll farm operators disguised as ‘public relations practitioners’ and ‘social media consultants’ who sow fake news rather than on COVID-19 assistance, health care, food security, jobs protection, education, among others," the resolution read.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson earlier claimed that a government undersecretary was organizing troll farms to attack government critics and potential candidates in the 2022 polls not aligned with the administration.

This allegation should not be dismissed, the senators said, considering that Filipinos are heavy users of social media such as Facebook, making them vulnerable to fake news.

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Sen. Francis Pangilinan, who also signed the resolution, said misinformation would be bad for the upcoming elections.

"Kung mahalal ang bagong presidente at ibang opisyal dahil sa pekeng impormasyon, magkakaroon tayo ng pekeng presidente at opisyal," he said.

"Hindi natin pwedeng hayaang ginagamit ang pera ng taumbayan para manira at mang-harass ng mga taong pumupuna sa gobyerno," he added.

Apart from Sotto, Drilon, and Pangilinan, other senators who backed the resolution are Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, Senators Lacson, Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Richard Gordon, Risa Hontiveros, Manny Pacquiao, Francis Pangilinan, Grace Poe, and Joel Villanueva.


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