Senator Drilon Hits Back At Critics Of SIM Card Registration Bill After Duterte Veto

Senator Drilon: “By vetoing this bill, the President lets trolls thrive, spread lies and hate, and fuel discord and division.”

SENATOR FRANKLIN DRILON — On Saturday, the senator hits back at critics of the proposed SIM Card Registration Act.

Senator Drilon
Photo source: BusinessMirror

The senator “congratulated” troll farm operators, fake news spreaders, and online bullies for President Rodrigo Duterte’s veto of the proposed bill seeking to mandate the registration of all subscriber identity mobile (SIM) cards and social media accounts that “would have unmasked them”.

In a statement, the senator said that by vetoing the said bill, the President “lets trolls thrive, spread lies and hate, and fuel discord and division”. He also said that political trolling is “a thriving business” and vetoing the said bill is “a big win for troll farms”.

This veto is meant to protect trolls. Is it a parting gift? Magpapatuloy ang industriya ng trolling,” Drilon said. “To say that I am disappointed by the President’s veto is an understatement. I authored this particular provision of the measure in order to address the anonymity in the internet and the social media that allowed an environment for troll accounts and fake news.

SIM cards
Photo source: ABS-CBN News

The senator added that the veto was a “big blow” to the fight against fake news and trolls, explaining that political trolling, troll armies, and fake news will continue to succeed in sowing discord and division among Filipinos as long as the anonymity in the social media exists.

Drilon also said the concerns that the said measure could affect individual privacy and free speech cited in the veto message are unfounded.

According to him, Section 9 of the bill provides for the confidentiality clause which mandates that “any information obtained in the registration process described under this Act cannot be disclosed to any person”.

READ ALSO: House Panel Chair Says Social Media Registration A “Last-Minute Insertion” By Drilon

The senator also disputed claims that the anti-troll provision that he introduced in the proposed bill was an out-of-topic provision nor a last-minute provision.

It’s not a last-minute insertion. We studied it and introduced it in the Senate plenary as part of our humble contribution in the fight against trolls and fake news,” the senator said. “Twenty-two senators voted in favor of the measure on third reading last December. The House of Representatives adopted our version with little modification.

Earlier, Deputy Speaker Wes Gatchalian said that the provision on social media registration cited by the President in vetoing the proposed bill was a “last-minute insertion” by Senator Drilon.

social media
Photo source: The Drum

Meanwhile, Senator Grace Poe said on Saturday that she’s counting on Congress to act promptly on the reconsideration of the proposed measure. She sponsored the said bill as chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.

We count on Congress to act in a timely manner in reconsidering the bill for approval in accordance to the legislative process,” Poe said.

Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who is running for president in the 2022 elections, said that he “may have to agree” with the President’s veto of the proposed bill. He noted that mandating social media account registration may be against the “one subject one title” rule in legislation.

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