Duterte vetoes proposed SIM card registration law, says it needs further study

Published April 15, 2022, 12:31 PM

by Betheena Unite

President Duterte has vetoed the proposed Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card registration law that seeks the mandatory registration of all such cards and social media accounts.

President Duterte (Photo courtesy of Malacañang)

Presidential Communications Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Martin Andanar confirmed this in a statement on Friday, April 15.

Duterte believes that the measure—Senate Bill No. 2395/House Bill No. 5793— that supposedly aims to deter electronic communication-aided crimes needs further study.

“The President noted that the inclusion of social media providers in the registration requirement was not part of the original version of the bill and needs a more thorough study,” Andanar said.

He noted that prior versions only mandated the registration of SIM cards.

“The President similarly found that certain aspects of state intrusion, or the regulation thereof, have not been duly defined, discussed, or threshed out in the enrolled bill, with regard to social media registration,” Andanar further said.

Andanar also said that the President lauds the efforts of Congress in finding ways to address the increasing incidence of cybercrimes and information and communications technology (ICT)-related offenses.

However, “he was constrained to disagree with the inclusion of social media in the measure, without providing proper guidelines and definitions thereto, as the same may give rise to a situation of dangerous state intrusion and surveillance threatening many constitutionally protected rights.”

“t is incumbent upon the Office of the President to ensure that any statute is consistent with the demands of the Constitution, such as those which guarantee individual privacy and free speech,” the acting presidential spokesman said.

With the development, Malacañang asked the Congress to continue developing effective and strengthened measures that offer citizens a safe and secure online environment, provided that the same would stand judicial scrutiny.