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Leading re-electionist Gatchalian to revive SIM Card registration bill at next Congress

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Leading re-electionist Gatchalian to revive SIM Card registration bill at next Congress
Photo shows Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian during a hybrid plenary Senate session held on August 3, 2021.
(Voltaire F. Domingo / Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Sherwin "Win" Gatchalian, who is likely to be reelected based on early election returns, said he plans to refile the SIM Card registration bill, which was vetoed over concerns about state intrusion and surveillance. 

President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped the measure over the inclusion of a provision on mandatory registration of social media accounts. Opponents of the bill sent Duterte a letter with more than 61,000 signatories asking him to veto the bill over what they said were flawed and unclear provisions that violate freedom and privacy.

"The prepaid SIM Card registration is a very straightforward bill. I will refile that," Gatchalian, one of the authors of the original bill at the Senate, said in an interview with OneNews.PH on Wednesday.

READ: 'Real name' social media registration seen to risk free speech, privacy and identity

He said social media registration should be covered by a separate bill because that would be a "much more complicated process" that would require foreign-based platforms to adhere to Philippine laws. 

"If we need to file the social media registration and if the process is feasible, then let's do it because I also agree that trolls should be banned...in social media because it creates a lot of problems in our society," Gatchalian said. 

Gatchalian had 20.37 million votes as of 4:47 p.m, according to the partial, unofficial tally on the Commission on Election's Transparency Media Server. He ranks fourth in a race for 12 seats.

If elected to another term, he said he would like to chair committees related to education and the economy. Historically, members of the Senate majority get the first pick of committee chairmanships.

Lone leading opposition bet Hontiveros: 'Halo-halong damdamin'

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the only opposition bet projected to win a seat , had 15.27 million votes and was on the lower end of the Top 12 bets in the latest unofficial tally. 

"Halo-halong damdamin talaga sa puso ko ngayong linggo ito," Hontiveros said in an interview with TeleRadyo after she was asked about her reaction as the lone opposition bet to come through. 

(I've been having mixed reactions this week.)

She said she would be happy if she gets a spot, but added that she would also feel sad and angry. "Halos di makapaniwala at may hiya rin." (I feel disbelief and a little shame.)

Hontiveros also thanked those who supported her advocacy. 

If the final tally reflects the partial results, she will be surrounded by allies of President Rodrigo Duterte and candidates of the "UniTeam" slate. 

Hontiveros said that the Senate can and should retain its independence amid remarks that it may be a rubber stamp body that will follow the dictates of the executive branch and that it needs a "true minority" to act as a check on a potential supermajority at the upper house.

"Naniniwala ako na hindi ako nag-iisa at gaano man kahirap tingnan yung scenario na ganoon, ay talagang tatrabahuhin kong magkakaroon ng isang tunay at malakas na minorya sa loob ng Senado," she said."

(I believe that I am not alone and no matter how difficult the scenario seems, I will work towards having a real and robust minority at the Senate.)

At present, Filipino actor Robin Padilla is leading the 2022 senatorial race, garnering 26.44 million votes as of 4:17 p.m.

READMajority of leading Senate bets are from prominent clans

2022 ELECTIONS

RISA HONTIVEROS

SENATE

WIN GATCHALIAN

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