Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Wednesday defended the constitutionality of the vetoed SIM Card Registration bill.
Drilon maintained that the measure contained no constitutional infirmity, specifically the provision that merely mandates the use of the holder’s real name and registered SIM card in creating social media accounts.
“I am confident that the provision that we worked hard for in order to prevent trolls, fraudsters, scammers and online bullies from hiding behind fake names is constitutional and can withstand judicial scrutiny,” Drilon said.
“The measure is constitutional. The bill does not in any way limit speech. It does not curtail one’s ability to post on social media,” he stressed.
“This is not designed to suppress any particular message,” Drilon said.
The bill only requires the use of the holder’s real name and registered SIM card in creating social media accounts.
“Even a freshman law student can tell that the provision would not violate any constitutional right. They should review their Constitution,” the senator said.
“Is it a prior restraint on free speech? No, it is not. You can still post anytime, anywhere and whatever you want to post. Does it even regulate the time, place or manner of posting? It definitely does not,” he added:
Drilon emphasized that the bill also contained numerous safeguards to ensure privacy.
Section 9 of the bill provides for the confidentiality clause which mandates that “any information obtained in the registration process described under this Act cannot be disclosed to any person.” Macon Ramos-Araneta
The disclosure may only be done in compliance with any law obligating the PTE or social media provider to disclose such information in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act. No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012; in compliance with a court order, legal process, or other government regulatory, or enforceable administrative request for information; in compliance with Section 10 of the bill; or with the written consent of the subscriber.
Drilon also dismissed allegations that the inclusion of social media is a rider and a last-minute insertion.
A rider is violative of the constitutional provision requiring that a bill passed by the Congress shall embrace only one subject which shall be expressed in the title thereof. The constitutional prohibition precludes the insertion of riders in legislation, a rider being a provision not germane to the subject matter of the bill.
In this case, according to Drilon, the bill does not embrace more than one subject as the title itself is clear on this: “An Act to Eradicate Mobile Phone, Internet or Electronic Communicated-Aided Terrorism and Criminal Activities, Mandating for this Purpose Ownership Registration of All SIM Cards for Electronic Devices and Social Media Accounts.”
The title itself not only reasonably sets forth the metes and bounds of the legislation, but its purpose as well, Drilon pointed out.
Moreover, he said Section 4 of the measure was very clear: SIM card and social media registration was mandated in “order to deter the proliferation of SIM Card, internet, or electronic communication-aided crimes, such as but not limited to: terrorism, text scams, unsolicited, indecent or obscene messages, bank fraud, liber, anonymous online defamation, trolling, hate speech, spread of digital disinformation or fake news.”