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Roque: No to Internet Censorship, Yes to Freedom of Expression

UniTeam senatorial aspirant Harry Roque is against Internet censorship and social media regulation because most Filipinos can detect truth and false information.

However, Roque stressed that people should be more responsible in their online posting. Internet trolls and bashers have attacked Roque since he became the spokesman of President Rodrigo Duterte in 2017.

The human rights and health advocate reminded online users to stop twisting, misquoting, and misrepresenting words to suit their political agenda or black propaganda against the government.

Roque reiterated his commitment to promoting freedom of expression and information provided in Section 3, Article 4 of the 1987 Constitution.

The former party-list congressman cited that under the Bill of Rights, no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, expression, and the press.

He added that the Philippines is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and party to the International Covenant on Civil on Political Rights, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression.

As a litigator, Roque has defended local journalists prosecuted for libel and represented arrested bloggers in the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam in courts that have jurisdiction over the case.

“I continue to stand for freedom of expression despite being perennially subjected to online abuse by anti-Duterte netizens,” Roque said.

Roque said that Filipinos are smart enough to check whether the stories peddled on the Internet and social media are lies or fake.

“Some haters make fun of me through memes. But these memes have eventually softened my stern image and unintentionally endeared me to the public,” Roque said.

“While they started these memes out of hatred for me, most people didn’t see them as hateful in the long run. In a way, I have to thank those who created the memes,” he added.

If elected to the Senate, Roque would sponsor legislation on ‘zero hunger in the Philippines, the right to potable for all Filipinos, job creation for pandemic-affected workers, and livelihood recovery for typhoon Odette victims.

Roque would push for reforms in the justice system like the ‘three-day court hearing’ rule and Victims Compensation Fund for murder victims. He would also create a corrupt-free National Health Service to replace the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

Roque was the primary sponsor of the Universal Health Care act, national HIV and AIDS policy, free lunch for elementary pupils, free irrigation services to farmers, and free tuition for a public university and college students.


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