SUNSTAR Davao columnist on-leave Rey Faisal "Taipan" P. Millan, who spent his growing up years in Davao City but has since been practicing in Metro Manila, is riled by a series of reports from Rappler and the South China Morning Post that both describe him as "a lawyer and family friend" of President Rodrigo R. Duterte as the reports attempt to also link his company with the controversial Cambridge Analytica just because of a photo taken in 2015.
Saying that he would rather stay in the background amid this latest attack on the President as he does not want to disrupt his "peaceful and quiet life", Millan said his only fear is that Duterte might think that the claim is coming from him, and that he is namedropping the President when he actually has not even met the President.
"Sa tinuod lang, I don't know the President and he doesn't know me. My God, I haven't met him in person. The closest I have probably been to him is like 50-100 meters away," Millan said in a text message.
Millan also denied that he or his company worked for the election campaign of Duterte in 2015. While he does not have anything against the Duterte Administration nor the President, the fact is that the company did not have Duterte as a client as the reports are trying to imply.
"Ginapugos gyud nila ang akong connection kang Digong as his 'lawyer and family friend'. Pastilan (They're insisting on my link to the President as his lawyer and family friend)," he texted, adding that he even does not have any links to the President such that he had to ask Sun.Star for help to air out his denial that he never claimed any such association.
He also cited a story published by a national daily quoting his company president Jed Eva III, who once worked as assistant secretary of former President Benigno C. Aquino III, who also denied that Istratehiya Inc. has worked with Cambridge Analytica, mother company of Strategic Communications Laboratory (SCL), which lists "Isthratehiya Inc." as one of its 12 offices worldwide.
"There were discussions regarding the possibility of working together on some projects, but nothing came out of these exploratory talks. We never worked on anything, ever. We just talked," Eva was quoted by the national newspaper as saying.
Millan, in a personal call, echoed this claim adding that he once called Cambridge Analytica's attention on them putting "Isthratehiya Inc." in their website, but was surprised that it was still there.
"They were even asking me for updated info, but I didn't give them because nothing came out of our talks," he said.
In their reports, Raissa Robles of South China Post and the Rappler article link Millan to the American company that is now at the center of a data breach scandal said to be potentially affecting 87-million Facebook users worldwide, and the President.
The photo that Rappler's Natashya Gutierrez used to back up her article is a Facebook photo by Peter Tiu Laviña showing Laviña with Joel Maguiza Sy Egco, Pompee Laviña, Millan, and Cambridge Analytica's suspended officer Alexander Nix in a 2015 photo at the National Press Club.
Istratehiya has been working with politicians in various capacities. Sun.Star Davao has personal knowledge of who Millan assisted in the 2015 elections. It wasn't Duterte.