Bong Go tells public to file case if victimized by fake news
MANILA, Philippines — Amid the continuing spread of disinformation on social media, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go urged the public to abide by the law and exercise their rights to file complaints if they believe they are also victims of malicious and fake news.
“Parte ng ating demokrasya ang karapatan ng taong naagrabyado ng isang kasinungalingan na maprotektahan ang kanyang sarili. Tulad ninyo, may pamilya at anak rin akong nasasaktan sa mga paninira na hindi naman totoo. Tulad ninyo, lahat naman tayo ay may karapatan magreklamo gamit ang legal na proseso,” Go explained in a statement.
(Part of our democracy is the right of an aggrieved person to defend himself from lies. Like you, I have a family and children who are hurt by the malicious contents that turn out to be not true. Like you, all of us have a right to complain using the legal process.)
“Sumusunod rin lang ako sa kung ano ang naaayon sa batas upang maprotektahan ang karapatan ko bilang isang mamamayan, kasama na rin dito ang pag-enganyo sa iba pang naging biktima ng fake news na huwag matakot na magreklamo rin,” he added.
(I also follow procedures that are lawful to protect my rights as a citizen, this may include encouraging others who fell victims of fake news not to be fearful in filing a complaint.)
Go said that while he encourages critics to continue exercising their freedom of speech, malicious and fake news on social media should not be tolerated and justified as freedom of expression especially if it already causes harm to other people.
“Patuloy po nating ipaglalaban ang karapatan ng mga tao na malayang ihayag ang kanilang sariling opinyon. Sa lahat ng kritiko, go ahead. Ang kritisismo ay parte ng demokrasya. Ipagpatuloy ninyo po ‘yan dahil makakatulong ‘yan upang mas pagbutihin pa namin ang aming trabaho at mas maisaayos ang serbisyo ng gobyerno,” Go said.
(We will continue to fight for the rights of the people to freely express their opinion. To all the critics, go ahead. Criticism is part of the democracy. Continue doing that because it helps us do better in our jobs and to fine tune the government’s services to the people.)
“Pero kailangang intindihin ng lahat na iba ang sitwasyon kung gagamitin ninyo ang malayang pamamahayag upang magpakalat ng malicious at fake news,” he explained.
(But everyone should also understand that the situation is different when you use free expression to spread malicious and fake news.)
According to Go, abusive posts on social media prompted him to seek the help of the National Bureau of Investigation to look into certain accounts and posts that may have already violated the law.
“Maraming inihain na reklamo ang mga abogado ko dahil sa mga social media posts na malisyoso at fake news. Hindi ako titigil at patuloy akong magrereklamo gamit ang legal na paraan habang patuloy pa rin ang pagkalat ng paninira at kasinungalingan,” Go said.
(My lawyers filed numerous complaints because of social media posts and malicious and fake news. I will not stop, instead I will continue to pursue complaints in a right and legal way as there are still people bent on spreading lies.)
He added that he will continue to exhaust legal means to put an end to disinformation for as long as there are still individuals who abuse their freedom by spreading lies that inflict harm on others. He emphasized that in the eyes of the law, every citizen has the right to pursue justice through legal means.
“Ginagawa ko ito upang turuan ng leksyon ang mga abusado na patas ang pagtingin ng batas sa ating lahat. Pareho po tayong may karapatan magreklamo at pareho tayong humihingi rin ng hustisya.
(I’m doing this to teach these abusive people some lessons that our law is fair to all of us. We both have rights to file complaints and seek justice.)
“Pero dinadaan ko sa legal na proseso ang aking reklamo para mabigyan rin ang akusado ng pagkakataong sumagot sa patas na paraan,” he added.
(But i’m doing it the legal way so the accused will also be given the chance to answer in a fair manner.)
Go explained that it is within the mandate of the NBI to verify, investigate, and issue subpoenas to authors of alleged malicious posts on social media to determine if there are acts committed that are against the law and to give the accused the opportunity to explain and defend their side.
“Sa pag-issue ng subpoena ng NBI, binibigyan nito ng oportunidad ang mga akusado na magpaliwanag at mapakinggan ang panig nila,” he explained. Go added that “Lahat ng nagkakalat ng kasinungalingan, iniimbestigahan dapat ng NBI dahil trabaho nila ‘yan.”
(As the NBI issued subpoena, the bureau is giving opportunity to the accused to explain their side and to be heard. All those who are spreading lies should be investigated by the NBI because that is the agency’s job.)
In a statement released by the NBI, the bureau announced that for the past several months, there has been a significant increase in the number of cyberlibel complaints filed before NBI’s Office of the Cyber Crime Division.
NBI Cyber Crime Division Chief Vic Lorenzo disclosed that they received complaints from the public, government officials including Vice President Leni Robredo, Senator Go, Cavite Representative Crispin Remulla, Kabataan Party-list Representative Sarah Elago and other national and local officials coming from places as far as Siquijor, Leyte and Cebu, among others.
Lorenzo stressed that the issuance of subpoena is a way to verify the veracity of the complaint and is part of due process to give opportunity to the subject of the complaint to be heard. This includes the validation of the subject post or whether an assumed post, as a result of identity theft.
The NBI is reminding the public that they are open to receive complaints relating to violations of R.A. 10175 or the Cyber Crime Prevention Act of 2012, regardless of their status in life, and political and organizational affiliation.
“Kung tingin ninyo ay wala kayong ginawang iligal, malinis ang inyong konsensya, at wala kayong inaapi, wala kayong dapat alalahanin o ikatakot. Sagutin ninyo lang ang paratang laban sa inyo at may proseso naman ang batas na poprotekta sa inyong mga karapatang pantao,” Go assured the public.
(If you think you are not doing anything illegal, your conscience is clear, and you are not oppressing others, you have nothing to worry about. Just answer the accusations against you and there is a process we need to follow in our law to protect human rights.)
“Pero kung mapatunayang may ginawa kayong mali, panagutan ninyo dapat ang inyong kasalanan. Korte naman ang magsasabi kung ang inyong paratang laban sa inyong kapwa ay paglabag sa Cybercrime Law, laws on libel, o iba pang batas,” he explained.
(But if you are proven to be doing something wrong, you should be held accountable. The court will, anyway, say if you violated the cybercrime law, laws on libel or other law.)
Expressing his frustration, Go lambasted individuals who would rather waste time spreading fake news instead of helping the country in this time of crisis.
“Sa panahon ngayon ng krisis, busy kami na nagtatrabaho upang maprotektahan ang kapakanan, interes at buhay ng mga Pilipino. Nagseserbisyo lang po kami sa kapwa Pilipino. Pero ang iba ay sinasayang ang kanilang oras para magkalat ng kasinungalingan, busy manira, at dumadagdag lang sa problema ng bayan,” he said.
(During this time of crisis, we are busy working to protect the welfare, interest and life of Filipinos. We are just providing services to our fellow Filipinos. But there are people who are wasting their time away spreading lies, busy besmirching others, and just adding burden to the nation.)
“Maging responsable sana tayo sa mga kinakalat nating impormasyon. Gamitin natin ang ating isip at salita upang makatulong sa kapwa nating Pilipino at sa ating bayan,” he added.
(We should be responsible enough in disseminating information. Use our mind and speech to help fellow Filipinos and our country.)
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