MANILA – The vetoed measure mandating the registration of all SIM cards and social media accounts will allow trolls to "thrive", Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said.
Drilon, an opposition senator, called President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to reject the bill a "big win" for troll farms.
“By vetoing this bill, the President lets trolls thrive, spread lies and hate, and fuel discord and division,” Drilon said in a statement.
“Political trolling as we’ve seen these days is a thriving business. This veto is a big win for troll farms. This veto is meant to protect trolls. Is it a parting gift? Magpapatuloy ang industriya ng trolling.”
Drilon introduced a measure in the bill requiring the use of one's real name and a registered phone number in creating social media accounts.
Some politicians, such as the Makabayan bloc, sided with Duterte on the issue, citing concerns over state access to an individual's private information through SIM card registration.
But Drilon said these claims are "unfounded" and a provision in the bill provides for a "confidentiality clause" that would need the written consent of the subscriber.
“There were enough safeguards. Unfortunately, the veto is nothing but to protect troll operators and troll armies, some of them are in Malacañang,” he claimed.
Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian, in a separate statement, criticized Drilon's "last-minute move" to insert the said measure in the bill, adding it was "not in line" with the measure's essence.
Without mentioning any names, however, Drilon said the measures he suggested were studied and voted for by the upper chamber.
“It’s not a last-minute insertion. We studied it and introduced it in the Senate plenary as part of our humble contribution in the fight against trolls and fake news. Twenty-two senators voted in favor of the measure on third reading last December. The House of Representatives adopted our version with little modification," Drilon added.