Sotto cries foul over being online whipping boy

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Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto on Wednesday cried foul over the brickbats thrown his way for his purported role in the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.

In a radio interview, Sotto advised opponents of the law to lodge their complaints before the proper forum instead of bashing personalities.

“Ako ang favorite whipping boy. Kahit hindi ako ang author, ako ang target (I appear to be the favorite whipping boy of some opponents of the law. I’m not the author but now I’m being targeted),” he said in an interview on dzBB radio.
“They are giving me too much credit,” he added.

He also denied inserting the provision of a 12-year jail term as punishment for offenses covered by the law.

“Yes, I did it. I inserted the provision on libel. Because I believe in it and I don’t think there’s any additional harm,” read the CBS News article by Barnaby Lo. (Sotto: I inserted libel provision)


On the other hand, he said Senate science and technology committee chairman Edgardo Angara, who sponsored the anti-cybercrime bill in the Senate, would not allow anything that is unconstitutional in the measure.

Critics of the law had claimed it violates the 1987 Constitution’s provision that no law should be passed abridging the freedom of speech.

“Given the background of Sen. Angara, alam niya ang ginagawa niya at hindi lalabag sa Constitution ‘yan,” Sotto said.

Meanwhile, Sotto suggested that opponents of the law avail of the options available to them.

He said these include questioning the law before the Supreme Court, and lobbying with Congress to file a bill amending the law.

But he said, if the high court rejects the challenges to the law, or if Congress fails to pass a suitable amendment, “it’s about time tingnan mo ang sarili mo, baka ikaw ang mali at baka tama ang Senado at ang House.”

Sotto also reminded critics of the law not to use the Internet to destroy other people’s reputations.

He stressed netizens have nothing to fear from the law, which he said upholds the freedoms of expression and speech.

Sotto said the online defamation that has been posted on sites like YouTube had prompted him to propose the inclusion of libel as an offense covered by the law.

“Huwag muna manira. Napakadali lang naman. All they have to do is do what they usually do, there is freedom of expression and freedom of speech with the media,” he said. — LBG, GMA News
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