Social media control not part of anti-terror law — Biazon
Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon on Tuesday said the new Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay was incorrect in stating that the government could use the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 to regulate social media.
“The statement of the newly installed Armed Forces Chief of Staff with regard to their desire to regulate social media goes against the legislative intent of the Anti-Terrorism Law,” said Biazon, who withdrew as author of the House version of the bill and voted against it.
“There is no provision in the law which provides for the authority to regulate social media, precisely because it is not the intention of the legislators to cross the line of protecting freedom of expression and right to privacy,” he said.
“The idea of regulating social media was already discussed in the many technical working group meetings and committee hearings and the proposals to include them in the law were not considered,” Biazon said.
On Monday, Gapay said the implementing rules and regulations of the anti-terror law should reflect measures to regulate social media, which he claimed was being used by terrorists for their activities.
But Biazon said “there is already a provision that will enable them to pursue terrorists through surveillance of suspects and interception and recording of communications, provided for in Section 16.”
“Upon order of the Court of Appeals, law enforcement or investigators will have access to data and information that they can use to build up a case leading to the filing of charges against suspected terrorists,” he said.
“There is no need for a power to regulate social media, which would mean that all users of social media, a majority of which are not terrorist suspects, would be vulnerable to breaches of privacy or restraint on freedom of expression,” Biazon said.