MANILA, Philippines – Senator Vicente Sotto III admitted that he is one of two senators who inserted the libel clause in the Philippines' new anti-cybercrime law, according to a report by a US news website.
In a September 28 article, cbsnews.com’s Barnaby Lo quoted Sotto saying, "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."
Sotto earlier said he supports the libel clause in the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10175) to "level the playing field" between journalists and social media users.
Sotto was involved in a controversy recently for allegedly plagiarizing blog posts of American blogger Sarah Pope and a speech of the late US Senator Robert Kennedy.
The senator claimed he became a victim of “cyber-bullying” following uproar from netizens.
But Sotto has said the libel clause, under Section 4-C(4), is not meant to "curtail press freedom" but to protect ordinary people who are "victims of online attacks, character assassination and the like from people who do not observe the standards of journalism."
Senate records show that Sotto added the libel amendment on January 24, 2012.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 will take effect October 3.