SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga—Aksyon Demokratiko vice-presidential candidate Willie Ong on Thursday touted his party's organic social media campaign and following, saying it does not hire trolls to boost its online presence in the run-up to the 2022 national elections.
In a speech before factory workers, Ong warned party supporters they could be attacked on fake social media accounts.
"Malakas ang trolls ng ibang kandidato. Kami wala (The trolls of other candidates are strong. We have none)," he said, without naming.
"Ang ginagawa ng mga trolls, pinapahiya 'yung gusto kay Mayor Isko, yung gusto sa akin."
(Trolls have been shaming those who support Mayor Isko and me.)
Ong — the vice presidential candidate with the biggest social media following, thanks to 16 million on Facebook and 6.65 million on YouTube — touted their Aksyon Demokratiko's organic campaign and exclusive slate.
"Natutuwa ako sa slate namin, walang guest candidate, walang palipat-lipat," he said.
Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso has said he does not believe in having "guest candidates" on their 2022 ticket because it mocks elections laws.
In the 2019 senatorial elections, Ong, who rose to fame for answering health-related questions on social media, landed 18th, with about 7.4 million votes. He was also among candidates who drew millions of votes from overseas Filipino voters.
The cardiologist, who pledges to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and other health issues should he win the vice presidential race, has been using his social media muscle to propel the candidacy of Domagoso, who also has millions of online followers.
Ong has featured Domagoso in some of his online content, while the doctor has also been popping up in the mayor's Facebook live videos.
"Kapag siya (Domagoso) ang Presidente, may pag-asa tayo," Ong told factory workers here. (We have hope if he becomes president.)
"Tinataya ko ang pangalan ko . . . Mas marami siyang maibibigay kumpara sa ibang candidates." (I am putting my name on the line. He has more to offer than other candidates.)