Gatchalian denies early online campaigning after being named among Facebook's top ad spenders

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 14 2021 05:36 PM

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian attends the Senate's session on May 26, 2020. Mark Cayabyab, Office of Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian

MANILA - Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday denied that he was campaigning early on social media platforms after he was named as the top ad spender on Facebook among politicians.

In a span of 8 months, Gatchalian has spent P4.5 million boosting more than 600 Facebook posts, according to data from Facebook.

In the past 90 days, Gatchalian spent P319,289 for 74 ads on the biggest social media platform in the Philippines, it said.

"My office has always been consistent in informing the public of my advocacies since I assumed office in 2016 and even prior to that," Gatchalian said in a statement.

"My postings on social media are normally simultaneous with our press releases which are related to the two committees that I chair in the Senate — [the] Energy and Basic Education, Arts and Culture Committees. These information are not intended for campaign purposes whatsoever," he said.

"We make sure that we tap all available media platforms because it is the right of the people to be informed about matters of public concern," he said.

Gatchalian's term as senator will expire next year, and he is eligible to run for another 6-year term in the Senate.

At least 2 senators, who spoke on condition of anonimity, said Gatchalian is considering to run for vice president in the 2022 national elections.

The senator has yet to give an official statement on his plans for next year.

Aside from Gatchalian, other politicians who were named as top ad spenders on Facebook were former Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV (P1.07 million), Camarines Sur Gov. Miguel Villafuerte (P993,000), Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte (P794,000), and Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza (P700,000).