Tulfo wants to decriminalize libel for 'certain groups', excluding 'fake journos'

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2022 02:17 PM

Sen. Raffy Tulfo. Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB
Sen. Raffy Tulfo. Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB

MANILA — Sen. Raffy Tulfo on Monday said "extortionists" who pretend to be journalists should still be prosecuted for libel as he insisted for its decriminalization, but only "for certain groups."

During the Senate committee on Public Information and Mass Media hearing on the proliferation of fake news, Tulfo recalled that decriminalizing libel was one of his campaign promises. 
 
"Iyan ay naging campaign promise ko... I for one naging problema ko na yan, hindi ko ma-expose yung mga gusto kong ma-expose dahil sa pag-file sa akin ng libel so nagkakaroon ako ng takot," said Tulfo, a former broadcaster and anchor of a public service show.

But upon further study by his office, they came to the conclusion that libel should still be pursued against some individuals. 

Tulfo particularly identified "block-timers" and content creators engaged in "attack and collect" scheme.

"Halimbawa isang Juan dela Cruz na loko-loko mag-o-open ng channel na ginawa para mag-attack and collect... And then magpapanggap na journalist walang ginawa maghapon magdamag tumira nang tumira ng politiko hanggang yung politiko mag-give up magbibigay ng pera sa kanya," Tulfo said.

"Those people should be exempted sa decriminalizing libel, dapat sila kasuhan," he added.

Tulfo said "traditional" and "legitimate" journalists should not face libel cases.

"Yung mga traditional media, yung mga totoong journalist, yun dapat hindi masampahan, ma-decriminalize ang libel because of them," he said.

"Ang sa akin dapat ma-differentiate. Sa mga true journalist wala akong problema, doon kasi may accountability... Pag don sa nagpapanggap na journalist sa social media, walang nag-che-check sa kanila they can say what they want to say," Tulfo added.

However, University of the Philippines journalism professor Danilo Arao warned against creating such distinction.

"Sa ibang bansa walang distinction kung ikaw ba ay periodista o ordinaryong mamamayan... Pag may distinction nade-defeat po yung purpose ng citizen journalism na dapat natin niyayakap at pinopromote," Arao told the panel.

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