By Ben Rosario
It will be the turn of the House of Representatives to summon controversial Bikoy when it starts a congressional probe into the uploading of highly-damaging yet unproven allegations against business and political personalities, including members of the Duterte family at the height of the midterm elections campaign.
Asst. Minority Leader and Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin has also called for the appearance of social media giants Facebook and Youtube to explain the reasons behind their failure to take down posts from Peter Joemel Advincula alias Bikoy at the height of the campaign for the just concluded mid-term elections.
In filing House Resolution No. 2585, Garbin pointed out that Bikoy succeeded in maligning and discrediting the “good name, honor and reputation of the individuals” linked to the viral “Ang Totoong Drug List “ series (The Real Drug List) yet he recently admitted that these are all lies.
Garbin filed House Resolution No. 2585 directing the Committee on Information and Communications Technology to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the Bikoy videos and other widely circulated postings in social media platforms.
In a press conference yesterday, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnie Teves joined Garbin in assailing the failure of social media operators to address complaints from users.
Garbin called for the passage of a measure providing for a “takedown clause” that will allow the government, without a need for the court order, to demand the immediate removal of social media contents that are libelous, seditious defamatory and/or contrary to any provision of existing laws
The two lawmakers said approval of this bill and similar measures has become imperative in instilling social and legal responsibility on social media platform creators and operators.
He cited the deaths and self-inflicted physical harm on victims of the “Momo Challenge” and “Blue Whale Challenge” as among the reasons for the passage of the said proposal.
Garbin said the Bikoy videos maliciously hurled false accusations against members of President Duterte’s family and other personalities, including Elizaldy Co, owner of Misibis Bay Resort, a five-star luxury hotel, and resort in Albay.
Tagged as the leader of a drug syndicate, Co was also accused in “Ang Totoong Narco List –Episode 5” of assigning in the popular tourist destination “the central house facility where a shabu laboratory is located.”
“Mr. Co is a victim of an unprovoked, unjustified and libelous attack against his honor, character, reputation and decent standing in our society,” stressed Garbin.
In the resolution, Garbin revealed that with his “good name and reputation” tarnished by the false contents of the social media posts, Co’s creditworthiness was placed under suspicion by banking and financial institutions.
“In fact, one bank, upon learning about the video, immediately suspended the processing of his pending application for a significant amount of loan,” the partylist solon lamented.
Garbin noted that Bikoy’s claim against Misibis Bay is clearly negated by the fact that it was chosen by the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Committee to be the venue of its ministerial telecommunications meeting.
However, the world-class resort “encountered a series of booking cancellations, even on its peak season” as a result of the libelous videos.
Garbin stressed that social media platforms such as “Google’s YouTube and Facebook owe it to the public to confirm the veracity of statements and videos posted.”
“The social media platforms need to develop security features and/or filtering practices in order to regulate any unlawful and/or harmful contents posted by their users,” he stated.