Malacañang on Tuesday distanced itself from the suggestion of new Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, to have the use of social media regulated under the implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) of 2020.
In a virtual Palace briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the anti-terror law does not contain any provision that allows social media use to be regulated.
“Opinyon po ‘yan si Gen. Gapay. Binasa ko naman po ang anti-terror law, wala pong probisyon dun na magagamit laban sa social media (That’s Gen. Gapay’s opinion. I read the anti-terror law and it does not contain any provision that can be used against social media),” Roque said.
He, however, said such offenses as cybersex, child pornography, and libel committed through a computer system are punishable under Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
“Ang meron po diyan yung ating cybercrime law. May probisyon po diyan pero subject po ‘yan sa authority na ibibigay ng ating hukuman (What we have is the cybercrime law. There’s a provision there but it is subject to the authority of the courts),” Roque said.
He denied that the national government sees criticism as equivalent to mounting a revolution.
“Hindi po. Kayo lang po nag-iisip ng ganyan. Ang sabi po ni Presidente malinaw – yung gusto mag rebolusyon, mag rebolusyon na. Kung gusto niyo talaga patalsikin siya, gawin niyo na ngayon (That’s not true. It is only you who thinks that way. What the President said is clear – if you want to stage a revolution, do it now. If you want to oust him, do it now),” Roque said.
On Monday, Gapay said there is a need to regulate social media use since it is utilized as a platform by terrorists to “radicalize, to recruit, and even plan terrorist acts.”
More than 20 petitions have been filed at the Supreme Court (SC), questioning the constitutionality of the anti-terror law.
Roque earlier welcomed all petitions questioning the constitutionality of the law and vowed to abide by the SC ruling of these petitions.
Meanwhile, as US President Donald Trump threatened to ban the Chinese app TikTok from operating in the US due to security issues and espionage fears, Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte has no plan to ban the app.
“Wala pong ganun. Sa mga nagsasabi nanunupil si Presidente ng karapatan ng malayang pananalita, wala pong kahit anong website na bina-ban ang Presidente (There’s no such thing. To those saying the President is curtailing free speech, the President has not banned any website in the country),” he said.
Roque said he saw no reason for Duterte to ban TikTok in the country.
Several celebrities and government officials, including Roque, use TikTok to share 15-second videos set to audio, such as music.
According to reports, TikTok has been accused of illegally harvesting personally identifiable user data. (PNA)