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Republic of the Philippines

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
First Regular Session

HOUSE BILL NO. 0333

Introduced by REP. NICK ANGELO B. CUNANAN

EXPLANATORY NOTE

The emergence of modern technology, most specifically the internet of things, has caused
transference from traditional news reporting in print and broadcast media to the internet,
especially on social media platforms. Not only is the mode of dispatch of news more widespread
and easily accessed as before, the writers of the so-called-news need not be checked of their
credentials in journalism, as they hide under the blanket of anonymity and power of newly
sprung news outlets that are without accountability.

Fake news creates impression and beliefs based on false undertaking which are reared to
plant seeds of divisiveness and misunderstanding aimed to exacerbate otherwise tenuous relations,
misinform, or demolish one’s reputation. The fabrication and dissemination of “fake news” have
no sign of abating and had already multiplied exponentially. To exemplify, even the veteran
journalist Yen Makabenta, now with the Manila Times, fell for the fake news1 over US ambassador
Haley allegedly asking space for Duterte to run the Philippines and wrote a column entitled
“Superstar speaks: Give Duterte space to run the Philippines” 2. This illustrates how fake news had
already thrusted its self in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives by making even the trusted news
writers and sources believe its lies and misrepresentations.

It is therefore necessary that a bill be passed to encourage citizens, especially public


officers, to be more responsible and circumspect in creating, distributing and/or sharing news.
Addressing national and global concerns should not be made more complicated by false news
calculated to cause disunity, panic, chaos and/or violence.

In view of the foregoing, approval of this bill is highly and earnestly recommended.

1
https://memebuster.net/us-ambassador-haley-allegedly-asking-space-duterte-run-ph/
2
http://www.manilatimes.net/superstar-speaks-give-duterte-space-run-philippines/352300/
NICK ANGELO B. CUNANAN
Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
First Regular Session

HOUSE BILL NO. 0333

Introduced by REP. NICK ANGELO B. CUNANAN

AN ACT PENALIZING THE MALICIOUS DISTRIBUTION OF FALSE NEWS AND


OTHER RELATED VIOLATIONS

Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Philippines in Congress
assembled:

SECTION 1. Title. This Act shall be known as the “Anti-Fake News Act of 2018.”

SECTION 2. Declaration of Policy. It is hereby declared the policy of the State to


safeguard the public against proliferation of false news while ensuring that the right and freedom
of speech under the Constitution is respected. Towards this end, it is likewise declared to prohibit
and penalize the distribution of false news and other acts as hereinafter defined.

SECTION 3. Definition of Terms. The following terms, as used herein, shall mean:

1) Fake news includes any news, information, data and reports, which is or are wholly or
partly false, whether in the form of features, visuals or audio recordings or in any other
form capable of suggesting words or ideas;

2) The term Court shall refer to the Supreme Court;

3) Publication shall include:


a) Any written publication or publication of a nature similar to any written publication,
and every copy and reproduction or substantial reproduction of such publication; and
b) Any digitally, electronically, magnetically or mechanically produced publication,
and a replication or substantial replication of such publication.

4) The term person refers to both natural and juridical persons, as defined by law.
SECTION 4. Extra Territorial Application. - Offenses committed in the subsequent
section by any person, whatever his nationality or citizenship, in any place outside Philippines,
may be dealt with in respect of such offense as if the offense was committed at any place within
the Philippines. Provided, that such fake news concerns the Philippines or the persons affected by
the commission of the offense is Filipino citizen.

SECTION 5. Persons covered; Acts Prohibited – It shall be unlawful for any person to
maliciously create, offer, publish, print, distribute, circulate, or disseminate any false news in
print, broadcast or online media.

Any person who, directly or indirectly, provide or make available financial aid intending
that the assistance be used, or knowing or having reasonable grounds to believe that the assistance
will be used, in whole or in part, for the purposes of committing or facilitating the commission of
an offense under the previous section, shall be punished in accordance with the penalties herein
provided.

If a body corporate commits an offense under this Act, a person who at the time of the
commission of the offense was a Chief Executive Officer, Director, Manager, Secretary, or other
similar officer of the body corporate was purporting to act in any such capacity or was in any
manner or to any extent responsible for the management of any of the affairs of the body corporate
or was assisting in such management, may be charged severally or jointly in the same proceedings
with the body corporate. If the body corporate is found guilty of the offense, he shall likewise be
deemed guilty unless, having regard to the nature of his functions in that capacity and to all
circumstances, he proves that the offense was committed without his knowledge, consent, or
connivance; and that he had taken all reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to prevent
the commission of the offense.

If any person liable under this Act to any punishment for any act, omission , neglect or
default, such person shall be liable to the same punishment for the act, omission, neglect or default
of the person’s employee or agent, or of the employee of the person’s agent, if the act, omission,
neglect or default was committed by that person’s employee in the course of his employment; by
that person’s agent when acting on behalf of that person; by the employee of the person’s agent
in the course of his employment of the person’s agent or on behalf of the person’s agent acting on
behalf of the employee of the person’s agent.

SECTION 6. Courts action to persons affected of Fake News. - Any person affected by
a publication containing fake news may apply ex parte to the Court for an order for the removal of
such publication.

Request for order of removal must be accompanied by a verified police report and other
documents supporting such application.

Upon receiving such request and considering the evidences presented, if the Court is
satisfied and certified thereto that the publication containing fake news is malicious and should be
removed, the Court may make an order for the removal of such publication.

The order must contain the following:

a) Person who is required to remove the publication containing fake news.


b) The manner of removal of the publication containing fake news.
c) The time within which the publication containing fake news shall be removed after the
service of the order.
d) The penalty imposed against any person who fails to comply with the order of the Court;
and
e) Any other order as the Court deems fit.

The order made under this section shall be deemed to be served on the person against whom
the order is made if the order is served by personal service, sent by post to the last known address
of such person, or served by electronic means to such person; either his e-mail address or to his
social media account.

The person against whom order is made may request to set aside the order within fifteen
(15) days upon the receipt of the order issued attaching the evidences as may be deemed necessary
to justify that there is an error as to whom the order should be given or if there is no false news
contained in such publication. This subsection shall not be applicable if the order issued was
received by any branch or instrumentality of the Government, relating a publication containing
fake news which is prejudicial to public order or national security, there shall be no request to set
aside the order issued by the Court.

SECTION 7. Effect of violation of Prohibition. - Any person who shall be found guilty
of committing any of the foregoing acts shall be punished by a fine ranging from One Hundred
Thousand Pesos (P100,000) to Five Million Pesos (P5,000,000) and imprisonment ranging from
one (1) to five (5) years.

Any person who aids or abets any person committing any of the foregoing acts shall be
liable for a fine ranging from Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50, 000) to Three Million Pesos (P3,
000,000) and imprisonment ranging from six (6) months to three (3) years.

If the offender is a public official, he shall be liable for twice the amount of the fine imposed
above, and be imprisoned for two times longer than the period provided herein. In addition, he
shall also suffer the accessory penalty of absolute perpetual disqualification from holding any
public office.

SECTION 8. Failure to remove false news. It shall be unlawful for any mass media
enterprise or social media platform to fail, neglect or refuse to remove false news or information
within a reasonable period after having knowledge, or having reasonable grounds to believe, of its
falsity. Any person violating this provision shall be punished by a fine ranging from Ten Million
Pesos (P10, 000,000) to Twenty Million Pesos (P20, 000,000) and imprisonment ranging from ten
(10) to twenty (20) years. If the offender is a corporation, the President, Chief Executive Officer
and other responsible officers shall suffer the penalty of imprisonment.

SECTION 9. Rules and Regulations. Congress shall resolve and determine the
government agency to be vested with the implementation and supervision of this Act.

SECTION 10. Separability – If any provision of this Act is declared invalid, the provisions
thereof not affected by such declaration shall remain in force and effect.

SECTION 11. Repealing clause. All laws, executive orders, rules and regulations, or parts
thereof, inconsistent with the provisions of this Act are hereby repealed or amended accordingly.
SECTION 12. Effectivity. - This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication
in two (2) national newspapers of general circulation.

Approved,