Defense chief tells new military chief: 'Less talk, less mistake'


Posted at Aug 10 2020 02:16 PM

MANILA - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday that he had urged the new Philippine military chief to follow the "less talk, less mistake" tact after the latter drew criticism for a proposal to use the anti-terror law to regulate social media. 

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gilbert Gapay recently said the military would give inputs on policing social media "because this is the platform now being used by the terrorists to radicalize, to recruit and even plan terrorist act." 

Gapay meant regulating the dark web, said Lorenzana, citing his private conversation with the general.

Lorenzana, however, said: "How can you regulate something that is underground and is not actually legit?" 

Gapay later said in an interview that what he wanted to be regulated is the platform, not the users, noted the Defense chief. 

The new military chief should "be very discerning," said Lorenzana. 

"Sabi ko nga sa kanya (I told him), if you are not sure of your answer, then do not answer. Sabihin mo (tell them), 'I’ll find out, I’ll research.' Less talk, less mistake," he said. 

Lorenzana said he was against moves to control social media. 

"To me, it’s very good for people to air their grievances and everything," he said.

Authorities are drafting the implementing rules of the anti-terror law that, among others, will allow the detention of terror suspects for up to 24 days without charge. 

Different sectors fear that the legislation could be used to silence government criticism, prompting 26 petitions so far challenging its constitutionality before the Supreme Court.

"We’ll let the Supreme Court decide. It’s in their court now. The ball is in their hands so let them do their job,” said Lorenzana.