MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday said the proposed law against fake news will not pass, calling the measure "censorship."
Duterte made the statement after the Senate conducted an inquiry against the proliferation of fake news, with his appointees among those invited as resource persons and questioned on wrong information released to the public.
“Nakinig ako kanina that they would craft a law to set a standard. Ah patay. That’s censorship. 'Di lulusot 'yan,” Duterte said during his meeting with the parents of hazing victim Horacio Castillo III in Malacañang.
The President suggested that lawmakers instead increase penalties under existing laws.
"Kung gusto mo, pass a law increasing penalty, tutal you have slander, you have libel, civil case. But to prescribe a set of rules, what is proper or not, hindi lulusot 'yun, patay 'yan pagdating sa akin,” Duterte said.
Also present during the meeting was Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, who was earlier tagged as “fake news king” for apparently releasing wrong information on the involvement of a number of senators in the Marawi crisis and the alleged role of a Korean mafia in the killing of a South Korean national last year.
The Senate committee on public information and mass media held a hearing on Wednesday to begin discussions on proposed legislation against the proliferation of misleading information.
During the hearing, Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in a statement read by Communications Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, said public education is important to stop the spread of fake news.
"We cannot stop people from sharing fake news even after they have been determined to be fake. Therefore, public education is a must," said Andanar.
The official added that fake news websites carrying the President's name are bad for the administration since they may appear to have official ties with government.
Several senators meanwhile slammed Communications Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson for insisting that she does not need to get both sides of a story before publishing a blog post - the same she demands of the media.
Uson defended herself by saying only the media have the obligation to be fair.
"Opinion-based ang blogging, unlike sa mainstream media, meron po silang obligasiyon na ireport (both sides of the story)," she said.