Senate tackles spread of 'fake news'


Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 4) — After a heated debate at the session hall over a blog, senators put the spotlight on fake news.

The Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, chaired by Senator Grace Poe, probed on Wednesday the spread of misinformation — especially on social media — and how to stop it.

Poe said there is a need to assess the laws already in place.

"Meron na tayong batas against libel (We already have a law against libel). We just have to be able to refresh the memory of some people. But definitely we should say that the internet should be a positive resource," Poe said in an ambush interview on Tuesday.

At least three resolutions were filed by Senators Antonio Trillanes IV and Kiko Pangilinan to investigate fake news.

Senator Joel Villanueva, meanwhile, filed a bill to penalize "malicious distribution of false news."

On September 27, senators argued over a blog which called seven of them — Senators Koko Pimentel, Tito Sotto, Richard Gordon, Cynthia Villar, Miguel Zubiri, Gringo Honasan, and Manny Pacquiao — "Malacanang dogs."

This was after they failed to sign Senate Resolution 516, which urges the government to stop the spate of killings, especially of minors.

The resolution was signed by the remaining 16 senators.

READ: Senators figure in heated exchange over blog post

Sotto said he "(took) offense on how this resolution is being projected in the social media," and called the writer of the blog, "foolish," and "evil."

The Committee invited several resource speakers, including Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, who owns the controversial Facebook page "Mocha Uson Blog."

"Mabuti nga magpunta tayo doon at matapos na ang usapan kung sino ba talaga ang nagpapakalat ng fake news," Uson said Tuesday evening.

[Translation: It's good that we can attend the hearing to finally identify who spreads fake news.]

CNN Philippines' David Santos and Cecille Lardizabal contributed to this report.