A measure has been filed in the Senate seeking an investigation into the reported sale of text blast machines after emergency alerts were used to promote the presidential bid of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos.
Sen. Leila de Lima said it could set a "dangerous precedent" in future elections. She said the inquiry would look into the possible use and abuse of unlicensed radio equipment to send emergency text blasts for partisan politics.
She said the Senate should ensure that the government is strictly implementing the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act and that mechanisms are provided to prevent text blasts from being used for election purposes.
Under the Free Mobile Disaster Alerts Act, telcos are mandated to send out alerts at regular intervals "in the event of an impending tropical storm, typhoon, tsunami, or other calamities."
"The use of emergency government channels for campaign purposes could set a dangerous precedent in future elections if it is left unchecked," De Lima said.
"The Cybercrime Prevention Act prohibits unsolicited commercial communications. There is a need to consider whether the same should likewise be prohibited for political and election-related 'spamming' activities," she added.
Journalists covering the filing of candidacy in Sofitel Philippines on Oct. 6 received emergency alerts which read like an advertisement for Marcos. He, however, said his team had nothing to do with the text blasts.
The National Telecommunications Commission has ordered Facebook, Lazada, and Shopee to stop selling text blast machines.
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