MANILA, Philippines -- Actress Ciara Sotto is standing by her father, Sen. Vicente "Tito" Sotto III, on the controversial government-implemented measure to prevent cybercrimes.
|Ciara Sotto and Sen. Tito Sotto. File photo
"'Yung ibang tao below the belt (tumira), 'yung iba malakas mag-imbento. I think kailangan rin ng law, lalo na with prostitution sa Internet, which is bad din," Ciara said in an interview with ABS-CBN News' Marie Lozano, explaining the need to implement Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
"In the States, ang daming batang nagpapakamatay, kasi 'yun pala binu-bully, cyberbullying. So I really think that we need the [Anti-Cybercrime Law]," Ciara added.
Criticisms hurled against the government and the lawmakers behind the measure have reached fever pitch online, with many crying "e-Martial Law" as they fear that the new law would take away freedom of expression.
Referring to these allegations from netizens, Ciara said the law simply needs to be explained to them well.
"I just think na masyado lang sila mag-react, kasi it's not true that the law is taking away the freedom of expression or freedom of speech. I don't think it's true," Ciara said.
"Hindi naman 'yun 'yung inaalis. Ang inaalis lang ng law siguro, for me, sa interpretation ko, siguro ayaw lang nila ng magsinungaling ang mga tao, na libelous ang isusulat mo," she added.
Online libel, 'hacktivists'
The online libel clause in the Anti-Cybercrime Law has particularly earned the ire of many Filipino Internet users. Senate records credit Senator Sotto as behind the said provision.
Early this week, the lawmaker admitted he proposed the inclusion of the online libel clause, but denied it was a last-minute insertion. He also said the proposal was not in retaliation to the "cyberbullying" he received after his turno en contra speeches against the RH bill in August.
Echoing her father's statements, Ciara said: "I'd like to clear na last year pa pinasa 'yung bill (Anti-Cybercrime Law). Last year pa 'to, so it has nothing to do with the past issues."
"Kasi ginagawa nila (online critics), sinasabi nila, my dad helped gawin 'yung law na 'to kasi ayaw niyang sinisiraan siya. It's not true, kasi last year pa nila pinasa 'yung law na 'to," she added.
Despite having distanced himself from the online libel clause, the senator, however, continues to be a target of "hacktivists," who have threatened to hack his official website.
Such acts of online vandalism, according to Ciara, are also precisely why the Cybercrime Prevention Act was put into place.
"They did that before already. Last year, na-hack na 'yung site ng dad ko, pero naayos naman ulit. So now, pag ginawa nila, what's there to [worry about]? 'Yun lang naman magagawa niyo eh. 'Yun lang yung gagawin nila," she said.
"That's why nga there's a law eh, kasi nagha-hack kayo eh. Kaya nga sila gumawa para tigilan niyo na 'yan eh," she added.