Enrile eyes new law to protect bloggers

by Jojo Malig, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 29 2012 10:07 PM | Updated as of Aug 30 2012 04:18 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday said a law should be enacted to protect bloggers following the fallout caused by allegations that Senator Tito Sotto plagiarized the work of an American blogger in a privilege speech he made against the reproductive health bill.

 
Enrile, during interpellation of Sotto's new privilege speech to answer the plagiarism allegations, said he himself does not know what blogs are.
 
"Sa ngayon, wala tayong batas na maliwanag tungkol sa blogging o iyung blog," he said. "Ako kasi, hindi masyadong literate tungkol sa Internet eh. Hindi ako nag-iinternet."
 
"Kaya noong lumabas iyung suplong tungkol sa ating kasamang majority leader sa Senado, tinanong ko kung ano iyung blog," Enrile added. "Wala akong blog eh. Hindi ko alam kung ano iyung blog."
 
"Akala ko, parang slogan iyung blog. Iyun pala, parang libro yata daw iyon sa Internet. Inilalagay mo doon ang mga panaginip, mga opinyon, mga ideya, mga kaalaman na dapat daw hindi naman papasukin ng maski sino ng walang pahintulot mo," he said.
 
Citing the plagiarism allegations against Sotto, Enrile believes that no Philippine law has been passed yet regarding blogs. "Wala yatang batas sa ating bansa tungkol diyan."
 
"Marahil, para maliwanagan na tayo, magkaroon ng patakaran. Magkaroon ng reglamento, rules na susundin ng lahat. Magpanukala tayo ng batas na ilagay natin doon ang mga karapatan ng mga may blogs para maliwanag," he said.
 
He said senators should ask the help of Filipino bloggers to help them fully understand what blogging is, as well as craft a law to protect bloggers.
 
"Dapat siguro magkaroon tayo ng batas na marahil tayong mga senador, pag-aralan natin ito o humingi tayo mismo ng tulong ng mga nagbo-blogging, ng mga may blogs, para sabihin sa tin kung ano ang batas na dapat ipapasa natin sa kongreso para magkaroon ng proteksiyon lahat iyan para maliwanag," Enrile said.
 
Sotto, who agreed with Enrile, referred the Senate president's proposal to the committees on mass media and science and technology.
 
Enrile: File charges against Sotto
 
Enrile, during his interpellation, also defended Sotto regarding the plagiarism allegations against him.
 
He said he himself has come under fire because of the issue. 
 
"Ako rin ay binatikos ng mga ilang manunulat at mga kritiko," he said. "Totoo po na nanindigan ako bilang pangulo ng Senado at isang senador at inayudahan ko ang ating kasama at ng ating kaibigang Senator Sotto doon sa akusasyon sa kanya."
 
"Ang sinabi ko, hindi ko alam kung totoo iyung akusasyon sa kaniya tungkol sa plagiarism, pero kung totoo man, marahil ang dapat nating isipin, totoo ba, tama ba iyung kaniyang sinabi upang suportahan ang kaniyang paninindigan tungkol sa panukalang batas (RH bill) na nakasalang sa ating Senado," Enrile said.
 
"Kung mayroon man siyang kasalanan, ang sinasabi ko, ibang usapan iyon," he added.
 
He said Sotto can defend himself before any court or government agency with regard to the plagiarism allegations.  
 
He said charges should be filed first against Sotto.
 
"Hindi naman kriminal iyung plagiarism sa ating bansa. Iyan ay civil suit, civil damages ang remedyo diyan," he said. "You can file for civil damages if you incur losses sa intellectual property mo."
 
He said he does not approve of plagiarism, but people have been copying the ideas of others, with the Philippines itself copying the laws of other countries.
 
Enrile said  people can use the work of others as long as the material is not used contrary to the opinion of the original writer or is used to malign the person's reputation.
 
"[If] you are a trained journalist or a trained writer, you have to make a proper attribution," he said.
 
"If your failure to make attribution is done in good faith, you respect the opinion, the material you borrow in order to support your position on your given isue, there should be a presumption of good faith," he added.