MANILA - A Palace official on Thursday denied that a U.S. intelligence community report branded President Rodrigo Duterte as a threat to democracy and human rights in Southeast Asia.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque branded news reports citing the study as "clickbait."
“I was made to comment on a clickbait which turned out to be untrue. There was no assessment of U.S. intel community that the President is a threat to democracy,” he claimed.
A World Threat Assessment Report published last week identified Duterte, along with ruling Thai officials and Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, as among regional leaders who threaten democracy and human rights.
It also cited the findings of Freedom House, which lists the Philippine government as allegedly using social media to silence government critics.
“We note that more governments are using propaganda and misinformation in social media to influence foreign and domestic audiences,” the report read.
Roque claimed that the report is “myopic and speculative.”
He admitted that the administration uses and maximizes social media to promote government messages, but alleged that the political opposition and cause-oriented groups do the same.
“We have to understand the use of social media has become an important part of the daily lives of Filipinos. It is therefore foolhardy not to tap social media as a tool when the technology exists for free. I don't know of any government in the free world which does not use the internet and social media to promote its agenda. This is very true especially in the case of the U.S. This latest intelligence assessment is a classic case in point,” Roque said.