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Robredo, a ‘top ad spender,’ claims her Facebook ads are ‘paid by supporters’

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The news that presidential candidate Vice President Leni Robredo had already spent roughly P14.1 million on Facebook advertisements months before the official campaign season began was received with mockery by her critics, but she stated on Thursday, Jan. 20, that these ads were paid for by supporters.

A closer look at the ads revealed that the majority of them were paid for by the volunteer group Dapat si Leni, as reported on Robredo’s official page.

According to the Vice President, not a single centavo used to pay for the advertisements came from her official campaign group.

“From the official campaign, not that I’m aware of. Ang alam ko talaga, Mike, karamihan talaga dito mga volunteer groups,” she told broadcaster Mike Navallo on ANC.
“I understand why our volunteers feel the need to do that because it’s been clear over the past five years and going into the campaign na grabe talaga ‘yung social media machinery ng kalaban,” Robredo added.

According to Facebook’s transparency tool, Robredo’s page—including Team Leni Robredo and Dapat Si Leni—spent P14.1 million from August to December 2021, while other presidential aspirants like Senator Panfilo Lacson only spent P5.36 million.

In instance, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who leads presidential choice polls, has not spent any money on advertising.

According to Robredo, the Marcos campaign may not be paying on advertisements, but it is clearly spending on something “not over the table, not above board.”

“Alam natin na marami silang ginagawa na gumagastos sila, pero hindi pareho ng Facebook ads na you can actually compute and quantify,” she added.

The aspiring president mentioned “several experts” who said that the Marcos campaign has troll armies and a “huge machinery campaign.”

Jonathan Ong, an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst who has studied disinformation networks in the region, told the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) that the Marcos campaign invests in meme wars, political fan groups, community pages, and micro-influencers.

As per Robredo, she has always been on the “receiving end” of fake news.

“Kaya marami talaga sa mga volunteer groups namin iyong perception nila, kailangan talaga nilang tumulong,” she said.

Her volunteer groups are raising more funds, but Robredo claims that these funds are not being sent directly to her official campaign organization, which does not keep a central repository of all given funds.

The official campaign team has already contacted volunteer groups to inform them that once the official campaign season begins on February 8, they would be unable to conduct activities without first informing the official campaign organization.

“Our official campaign is looking for ways on how we can have a mechanism na nasusundan ito,” Robredo said.

REFERENCE/S:
'Top ad spender' Robredo claims her Facebook ads are ' funded by supporters'|Manila Bulletin

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