Congressional probe into Bikoy videos urged

Peter Joemel 'Bikoy' Advincula

AN opposition House leader yesterday sought a congressional inquiry into the “Bikoy” videos and look into possible liabilities of social media giants Facebook and Youtube for hosting highly-damaging yet unproven videos against business and political personalities, including members of the Duterte family at the height of midterm elections campaign.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said he filed House Resolution 2585 directing the House committee on information and communications technology to conduct an inquiry in aid of legislation on the Bikoy videos and other widely circulated postings on social media platforms.

Garbin, a deputy minority leader, said the congressional investigation hopes that Congress will be able to pass a measure providing for a “take down clause” that would allow government, without a need for a court order, to demand the immediate removal of social media contents that are libelous, seditious, defamatory and/ or contrary to any provision of existing laws.”

“The approval of the bill and similar measures has become imperative in instilling social and legal responsibility on social media platform creators and operators,” said Garbin.

Garbin cited the deaths and self-inflicted physical harm on victims of the “Momo Challenge” and “Blue Whale Challenge” as among the reasons for the passage of his proposal.

He said the Bikoy videos “maliciously hurled false accusations” against members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s family and other personalities, including Elizaldy Co, owner of Misibis Bay resort in Albay.

On May 23, in a news conference before the Philippine National Police, Advincula retracted his earlier allegations against the President’s families and allies and accused Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and the opposition Liberal Party of being behind the video series that aimed to unseat Duterte.

This was a direct repudiation of his claims on May 6, when he held a press conference at the offices of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to reiterate his accusations against the President’s family and allies.

Specifically, Garbin said that tagged as leader of an alleged drug syndicate, Co was also accused in “Ang Totoong Narco List- Episode 5” of assigning in the popular tourist destination “the central house facility where a shabu laboratory is located.”

“Mr. Co is a victim of an unprovoked, unjustified and libelous attack against his honor, character, reputation and decent standing in our society,” said Garbin.

Garbin added that with Co’s “good name and reputation” tarnished by the false contents of the social media posts, Co’s credit worthiness was placed under suspicion by banking and financial institutions.