MANILA, Philippines — The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) wing backed by President Rodrigo Duterte cried foul Monday after some of its posts were allegedly flagged and taken down by Facebook.
The party wing’s president Alfonso Cusi said among the posts flagged was the party’s endorsement of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos and running mate Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, as well as the senatorial bids of House Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta and former Anti-Corruption czar Greco Belgica.
Also flagged, said Cusi, were the party’s candidates’ posts and shared news stories—including those highlighting Duterte’s achievements. He said these could be “opposition’s way to challenge and discredit President Duterte’s legacy, and maliciously influence voters’ decisions ahead of the May polls.”
“It is alarming that a foreign media company is blatantly controlling and censoring in violation of our freedom of speech and the right to information and expression of not only our citizens but as well as many of our government institutions. This is a direct attack on the rights and sovereignty of Filipinos,” Cusi said in a statement.
“We challenge Facebook to stay neutral and apolitical in the last few days of this election campaign and during the proceedings of the May 9 national and local elections. Let the people speak and express their opinions on this very important matter. Let the Filipino people decide,” he added.
Meanwhile, PDP-Laban secretary-general, Cabinet Secretary Melvin Matibag, hit Facebook’s “censorship,” saying the flagging of the posts affects Filipinos’ “freedom to choose and vote in favor of the candidates they truly believe in.”
According to Matibag, posts of government institutions, including the Philippine News Agency, were also flagged and blocked by Facebook for violating its community standards.
READ: Facebook takes down 200 accounts linked to former Duterte social media strategist
“I was told that Facebook employs third-party fact-checkers to monitor and censor posts that are allegedly against community standards. Who are these fact-checkers that even official government press statements and legitimate news stories are being censored?” Matibag said in a statement.
“It even censored the statement of our National Security Adviser, Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. Facebook curtailed the legitimate post of one of our officials, who for the sake and love of our country, called on Filipinos to unite against the New People’s Army,” he added.
READ: Misleading FB accounts purged ahead of polls
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