MANILA - (UPDATE) Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go on Thursday said he has "nothing against freedom of expression" after filing a complaint against a college student who allegedly shared what he said could be a libelous post against him.
An official from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) confirmed to ABS-CBN News that Go's lawyer filed the complaint at the agency's Cybercrime Division, but declined to give details.
"We have nothing against freedom of expression. Karapatan yan ng bawat Pilipino pero kailangan intindihin ng lahat na may kasamang responsibilidad ang mga ito bilang isang mamamayan," Go said in a statement.
(That is the right of every Filipino but we have to understand that as a citizen, that right comes with responsibilities.)
"Paalala lang na tulad mo, may pamilya at anak rin akong nasasaktan sa mga paninira na hindi naman totoo na ibinabato ninyo sa mga taong nagseserbisyo lang para sa kabutihan ng kapwa nating Pilipino," said the former longtime aide of President Rodrigo Duterte.
(Just a reminder that, like you, I also have a family and children who get hurt by false accusations hurled against those who are rendering service to other Filipinos.)
Go said the complaint is not meant to target a college student, saying his office usually raises fake news cases before the NBI for possible violations.
"We wrote letters to the NBI requesting them to conduct investigations on certain social media posts that may fall under possible violations of the Cybercrime law, particularly libel, and other applicable laws," he said.
"Hindi ko na alam kung sino at anong post 'yung tinutukoy na 'college student' na ibinalita ng isang media reporter," he said.
(I don't know who is the college student being referred to by a media reporter.)
While Filipinos are entitled to their right to free expression, aggrieved parties are also entitled to defend themselves against wrongful accusations, the senator said.
"Para sa mga kritiko, kung totoo ang sinasabi ninyo, ipagpatuloy niyo lang iyan. Nirerespeto namin ang karapatan at opinyon ninyo," he said.
(For the critics, if you are saying the truth, go ahead. We respect your right and your opinion.)
"Pero kung alam ninyong hindi totoo at nais niyo lang manira ng kapwa tao sa pamamagitan ng pagpapakalat ng fake news, panagutan niyo dapat ang inyong kasalanan kapag mapatunayang may paglabag sa batas ang ginawa ninyo," he said.
(But if you know that what you are saying is not true and you want to malign others by propagating fake news, they you have to be liable if it is proven that you violated the law.)
"Kung tingin ninyo ay wala kayong ginawang iligal, wala kayong dapat alalahanin. Sagutin niyo lang ang paratang laban sa inyo at may proseso naman ang batas na poprotekta sa inyong mga karapatang pantao," he said.
(If you think you did not do anything wrong, you don't have to worry about anything. Just answer the allegations because there is a process in the law that will protect your rights.)