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Roque to resign if anti-fake news bill passes into law

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By: Xave Gregorio

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said he will resign if the proposed measure barring government officials and employees from spreading fake news passes into law.

Roque reiterated that the proposed law, filed by Senator Grace Poe, is unconstitutional as it will “will abridge freedom of expression and freedom of the press.”

“I promise that if one such law is enacted in Congress, I will resign from my post and I will sue before the Supreme Court to challenge its constitutionality,” said Roque Tuesday (February 13) in a press briefing in Tabuk, Kalinga.

Poe, however, has defended her bill, saying Roque, a long time law professor, wrongly interpreted the Constitution.

In the same statement, Poe scored Roque for “his protective stance over the spread of false information.”

However, Roque said, “Malacañang has never tolerated fake news.”

“We maintain that freedom of the press is anchored on responsibilities and one such responsibility is a total commitment to the truth,” he said.

He maintained that there is no reason to single out government employees in the bill and added that writers in the government and in private media are all committed to write about the truth.

But Roque also said everyone is guilty of disseminating false information.

“I can say with confidence that oftentimes, sometimes it is by accident, but all writers, whether it be journalist from the government or from the private media are equally guilty of publishing false news,” he said.

The Malacañang and even President Rodrigo Duterte himself have been accused of being sources and purveyors of fake news online, which saw a spike in the 2016 elections.