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Congress urged to act on bill decriminalizing libel

DAVAO CITY — Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate on Monday called on Congress to start deliberating on pending bills calling for the decriminalization of libel and making it a civil case.

Zarate made the call on the same day Rappler CEO and executive director Maria Ressa and former Rappler researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr. were convicted by a Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) over cyberlibel charges.

“Our current libel laws are draconian and repressive. We should not criminalize an act of expressing an opinion, a right guaranteed by the Constitution,” he said.