Acting presidential spokesperson Martin Andanar said President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed the proposed Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Card Registration Act, because he noticed the inclusion of social media providers in the registration requirement “was not part of the original version of the bill and needs a more thorough study.”
“Prior versions only mandated all public telecommunications entities (PTEs) to register SIM cards as a prerequisite to their sale and activation.” Andanar said in a statement.
“The President similarly found that certain aspects of state intrusion, or the regulation thereof, have not been duly defined, discussed, or threshed out in the enrolled bill, with regard to social media registration,” he added.
Andanar said that Duterte “was constrained to disagree” with the inclusion of social media in the measure without providing proper guidelines, saying it may “give rise to a situation of dangerous state intrusion and surveillance threatening many constitutionally protected rights.”
“It is incumbent upon the Office of the President to ensure that any statute is consistent with the demands of the Constitution, such as those which guarantee individual privacy and free speech,” Andanar said.
“This notwithstanding, we ask Congress not to lose heart in passing effective and strengthened measures that offer our citizens a safe and secure online environment, provided that the same would stand judicial scrutiny,” he added.
Under the bill, social media account providers shall require a real name and phone number upon creating an account.
Meanwhile, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go on Wednesday, April 20, said that he respects President Rodrigo Duterte’s reasons for vetoing the proposed bill and expressed willingness to revisit the measure to ensure that no provision is unconstitutional and runs counter to the rights of the Filipino people.
“Ako naman nirerespeto ko ang ating Executive kung iyon po ang naging desisyon nila. Remember, ang Executive po ang nagpapatupad ng batas at kami po ang gumagawa at nagpapasa ng batas. Ang Executive po ang nagpapatupad,” said Go.
“So, ako nirerespeto ko pero kung ano ‘yung puwedeng pag-usapan at maybe kung wala na pong panahon, (kailangan) i-refile po ito sa next Congress at tingnan ng mabuti, busisiin ng mabuti, himayin ng mabuti kung ano ang puwede at legal na maipasa para wala na po magiging problema sa susunod na administrasyon,” he added.
However, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he can convince his colleagues to overturn President Duterte’s veto of the bill mandating the registration of prepaid SIM cards but problem is that it must be concurred by the House of Representatives.