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Sotto Eyes Overriding Duterte’s Veto On SIM Registration Bill

Sotto Eyes Overriding Duterte’s Veto On SIM Registration Bill
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DUMAGUETE CITY – Senate President Vicente Sotto III has relayed to Malacañang his plan to use Congress’ power to override the veto of President Duterte on the bill mandating the registration of prepaid subscriber identity module or SIM cards.

Sotto said on Tuesday, April 19, the proposed measure is very important in the prevention of possible bombing, trolls and scams that victimize innocent Filipinos.

The vice presidential candidate revealed his plans during his meeting with some mayors in Negros Oriental.

The senator noted that he raised his suggestion to Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea during a phone conversation last Monday night, April 18. Sotto said Sen. Bong Go listened to the conversation since the phone was on speaker.

“My suggestion is this: there is a strategy since registration of prepaid SIM is very vital... with your permission, I told ES (Medialdea), I will overturn the veto. I can get the 2/3 of the Senate to overturn it,” Sotto recalled telling Medialdea and Go.

The Senate president, however, said the problem is the overriding veto of the President should be concurred by the Senate counterpart at the House of Representatives.

“The problem is we need the imprimatur of the President for the House to overturn also,” Sotto said.

“We will have Speaker (Lord Allan) Velasco and the NPC stalwarts to overturn,” he added, referring to the Nationalist People’s Coalition.

Duterte’s veto of a bill mandating SIM card and social media registration will allow cybercriminals, especially online scammers and trolls, to continue their thriving businesses unrestricted after he steps down from office, several senators warned last Saturday, April 16.

After overriding the veto, Sotto said a petition would be filed before the Supreme Court (SC) to declare the provision unconstitutional except for the measure of mandatory registration of prepaid SIM card.

“I will have somebody petition to the SC to declare unconstitutional the provision. So when the SC declared the provision unconstitutional (such will be removed from the bill), but the mandatory registration of prepared SIM cards will become a law,” he added.

Sotto noted that there was silence for about 30 seconds from the end of Medialdea, who later told the senator that they would study the suggestion.

“We will examine it. I will tell the President (about it),” Sotto quoted Medialdea as saying.

Sotto stressed that the executive department is really in favor of prepaid SIM registration, but not the registration of social media accounts.

He said a similar strategy was used in the provision in the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, which he himself authored. He recalled that under the then Dangerous Drugs Bill, the late senators Robert Barbers and Aquilino Pimentel Jr. pushed for the amendment to include mandatory drug testing for all students and electoral candidates.

“As the sponsor and author, I accepted it, and the bill was signed into law by then-president (Gloria) Arroyo. However, the matter was elevated to the SC, which ruled that such was unconstitutional. The SC said the Constitution provided that any Filipino can seek election for as long as he can read and write,” Sotto said.

“The SC declared the provision unconstitutional, it happened before and it can be done now with the permission of the Palace,” he added.

Read More: Duterte Vetoes SIM Card Registration Bill