Senator Teofisto Guingona III is seeking to pass Senate Bill No. 33000 that will allow the President to receive online comments regarding a new bill that has passed Congress. The President will have access to comments made by netizens for up to five days and then an additional three more days to consider the online comments before finally signing the bill Congress just passed into law. These online comments will become part of the official records of Congress whenever it passes a bill.
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Guingona’s bill is a reaction to the widespread protests the President received after he signed into law the Cybercrime Prevention Act which imposes harsher penalties on online libel and allows the Department of Justice to take down websites it deems offensive. He explained that he hopes that his bill will “expand the avenues of participation to the online community” and also “harness the productive and effective power of social media.” He stated that his primary objective is to “give a voice to netizens.”
The bill makes it mandatory for bills that are approved on second and third reading and those that are pending in the bicameral conference committee be accessible online so that Filipino citizens will have the ability to participate in the process of law-making. It also provides that the President must allow the people to submit online comments for five days and have three days to consider the comments before he signs a bill into law.