Anti-Terrorism law has no provision that can be used against social media – Roque

Published August 4, 2020, 9:15 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The country’s anti-terrorism law cannot be used to regulate social media as proposed by the new military chief, according to a Malacanang official.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque Jr. (YANCY LIM/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Republic Act No. 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 has no provision that allows regulation of social media.

“Unang-una po, opinion po iyan ni General (Gilbert) Gapay. Dahil binasa ko naman po ang anti-terror law, wala pong probisyon doon na magagamit laban sa social media (First, that’s the opinion of General Gapay. Because I read the anti-terror law, there is no provision there that it can be used against social media),” he said during a televised press conference Tuesday.

“Ang mayroon po diyan ay iyong ating cybercrimes law ‘no, may probisyon po diyan, pero subject po iyan sa authority na ibibigay ng ating hukuman (What exists is our law against cyber crimes. There is a provision but it is subject to the authority given by the courts),” he added.

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, newly appointed chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, has reportedly suggested the inclusion of social media regulation in crafting the implementing rules and regulation (IRR) of the anti-terrorism law.

Gapay made the proposal amid concerns that terrorists have weaponized social media “to radicalize, recruit and even plan terrorist acts.”

The law, signed by President Duterte last July 3, seeks to prevent, prohibit and penalize terrorism. The controversial law, which allows longer surveillance and detention of terror suspects, has drawn criticisms from lawmakers and rights advocates amid concerns of possible abuse.

The President has assured that law-abiding people have nothing to fear about the law if they are not engaged in terror acts like bombing of churches, markets, and other public facilities.