Robredo camp eyes legal action vs fake news peddlers after VP term

Raffy Cabristante, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 22 2022 10:13 PM

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MANILA — The camp of outgoing Vice President Leni Robredo will be spearheading a campaign to file legal cases against spreaders of disinformation, her spokesperson said Wednesday.

In an interview with ABS-CBN TeleRadyo, Robredo's spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said that they have gathered at least a dozen lawyers with backgrounds on cybercrime law and litigation to kickstart the initiative.

However, he did not yet name who these lawyers are.

The anti-disinformation campaign will start in time with Robredo's exit from the Office of the Vice President on June 30. 

At around the same time, her non-governmental organization "Angat Buhay" will also be launched.

"Marami kaming nakakausap na mga abogado. Ready sila maging part nitong initiative na ito. Ready silang magsampa at mag-follow through ng mga kasong kailangang i-file," Gutierrez said. 

(We have talked to a lot of lawyers. They say they are ready to be part of this initiative, and they're ready to file and follow through cases against fake news peddlers.)

The legal action, Gutierrez said, will be against both social media providers to make them more accountable and improve their fake news policies, as well as individuals spreading disinformation.

He noted that throughout Robredo's tenure as Vice President, her camp had difficulties in taking legal action against those who spread fake news about her.

Gutierrez underscored the importance of this planned initiative, saying that disinformation will hinder the growth of the country's democracy.

"Si VP mismo ang nagsabi—hangga't hindi natin nabibigyan ng malakas at malinaw na tugon itong kasinungalingan sa social media, eh mahihirapan talaga tayong umunlad at umusad bilang isang demokrasya," he said.

(The Vice President herself has said that until we give a clear response against these lies on social media, we will have a hard time to grow and progress as a democracy.)

"Talagang iyong ating mga eleksyon, iyong ating mga diskursong pampubliko, accountability ng ating mga elected officials, lahat iyan apektado kung kasinungalingan ang namamayani," he added.

(Our elections, our public discourse, as well as the accountability of our elected officials will be affected if we allow lies to prevail.)

Robredo has called on netizens throughout her 2022 presidential campaign to report those who spread fake news about her and her camp, noting that a significant amount of disinformation online is targeted at her.

Gutierrez said he himself will be focusing his attention towards "very serious and determined effort" to stop the spread of fake news.