Poe counting on timely congressional action on vetoed SIM card bill | Inquirer News

Poe counting on timely congressional action on vetoed SIM card bill

/ 11:19 AM April 16, 2022

Senate approves 20 franchise bills

Sen. Grace Poe (Screen grab/Senate PRIB) 

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Grace Poe on Saturday said she is counting on Congress to act promptly on the reconsideration of the proposed SIM card registration law after President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the bill.

“We count on Congress to act in a timely manner in reconsidering the bill for approval in accordance to the legislative process,” said Poe, who sponsored the bill as chairperson of the Senate committee on public services.

“Each day without the safeguards from the measure makes our people vulnerable to ripoffs that take away their money and cause them anxiety; the onslaught of cybercrimes and fake news that tear away the fabric of our democracy,” she added. The proposed SIM Card Registration Act seeks to mandate the registration of all SIM cards and social media accounts in the country and is seen to curb fraud and other crimes aided by SIM cards. It also includes a provision against online trolls by requiring social media account providers to mandate real name and phone number upon creating an account.

Acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar earlier said Duterte 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.”


Poe, meanwhile, pointed out that laws and jurisprudence confirm that “freedom of expression is not absolute, as in the cases of obscenity, libel or when public safety and order are at stake.”


The senator also said that the bill, being a content-neutral regulation, upholds the Supreme Court ruling in Chavez vs. Gonzales in 2008 which states that: “Only a substantial governmental interest is required for its validity. Because regulations of this type are not designed to suppress any particular message, they are not subject to the strictest form of judicial scrutiny but an intermediate approach.”

The SIM card registration bill passes the test of constitutionality based on such criteria, said Poe.

“The veto highlights the need for ongoing efforts, both public and private, to find effective ways to protect our citizens and our democracy,” she said.

“We shall remain firm and committed in our pursuit to end electronic and mobile phone-aided criminal activities and guarantee a safer and more secure mobile phone and cyberspace use in the country,” she added.

If the Congress decides to override the veto on a bill, the House of Representatives and the Senate shall proceed separately to reconsider the bill or the vetoed items of the bill, according to the website of the House. If the bill or its vetoed items is passed by a vote of two-thirds of the members of each House, such bill or items shall then become a law, according to the House of Representatives.
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