MANILA — Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday refused to identify the "undersecretary" he accused of building troll farms all over the country, adding he would do so only when his informant executes an affidavit.
"Kinukumbinse ko 'yung nakausap niya (undersecretary) na mag-execute ng affidavit. Sa ngayon hindi pa sumasagot. Oras na mag-executer ng affidavit pwede kong banggitin kung sino of course," Lacson told TeleRadyo.
Lacson on Tuesday said the undersecretary has been using public funds to put up "at least 2 troll farms" in every province in the Philippines for a still undetermined purpose, hinting it could be used for the elections in 2022.
Since his revelation, many have urged Lacson to identify the government official, among them Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, saying troll farms could undermine the national elections next year.
While the existence of troll farms is not new, Lacson admitted he was shocked upon learning that an incumbent official was bold enough to fund its operations.
"Alam naman natin na existing na yung mga trolls eh, hindi naman nakakaila na yun... Ang nakakasorpresa mataas na opisyal na yung nag-oorganisa. Hindi na rin nag-iisip na pwedeng maparating yun sa akin," he said.
During a Senate panel hearing last January, a communication expert had warned about vulnerability of the digital space ahead of the 2022 national elections, pointing out that most disinformation operations are "locally produced."