MANILA, Aug 5 (Mabuhay) — The proposal of Armed Forces chief Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay to regulate social media through the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act is “illegal and unconstitutional,” Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said Tuesday.

“There is nothing in the law which would allow enforcers to regulate or control social media. A proper governmental purpose may not be achieved by means that… [invade] the area of protected freedoms,” Drilon said in a statement.

Gapay earlier claimed that social media was being used by terrorist groups to radicalize the youth and plan their attacks.

Drilon said there are other existing models on clamping down on terrorist propaganda that the government can use without regulating social media.

The senator also pointed out that Section 16 of the Anti-Terror Act requires law enforcement officers to file an application with the Court of Appeals before conducting surveillance activities.

“Social media is an effective platform for our people to voice out their criticisms against the government,” Drilon said.

“If we insist on implementing the law this way, which is clearly contrary to legislative intent, then we justify the fears aired by the people against the passage of the law. Let us not be so imprudent as to prove to the people that they are right in their distrust of the law’s implementers,” he added.

Senator Leila de Lima and other critics of the Anti-Terrorism Act earlier expressed doubt that the police and military would fairly enforce the controversial measure.  (MNS)

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