Philippine News Agency : NPC condemns suspension of Marcos' spox Facebook account

26 April 2022

By Filane Mikee Cervantes | Philippine News Agency

MANILA – The National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) on Tuesday condemned social media giant Facebook for suspending the account of Atty. Vic Rodriguez, the spokesperson of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., saying such a move is a "curtailment" of the right to freedom of expression.

In a statement, NPC president Paul Gutierrez said Rodriguez's Facebook account suspension is just the latest in the series of "neo-fascist method of large-scale censorship" being used by the US-based company to influence the upcoming May 9 polls.

“We condemn the deplorable act of FB/Meta in suspending the Facebook account of BBM’s chief of staff and spokesperson where he posts/publishes official statements for the consumption of the media and the public at large,” Gutierrez said.

He further noted that the suspension of Gutierrez's account is "completely senseless censorship, a violation of the bill of our Bill of Rights and a gross interference in our domestic affairs".

“This repressive conduct by a foreign social media platform is a curtailment of every Filipino’s constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression," he said.

Gutierrez said since last week, Facebook started flagging and blocking many public platform accounts, including those of National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon and the Philippine News Agency (PNA), among others.

“And even if such behavior has been denounced repeatedly by civil-liberties advocates, by the NPC and by top Philippine government officials, Facebook, along with its fact checkers, Rappler Philippines and Vera Files, appear unperturbed and even shameless by proceeding to take down the account of other personalities like Atty. Rodriguez,” Gutierrez said.

He said this "dangerous behavior" made by Facebook should have no room in a democratic society, and could possibly lead to more acts to suppress the free flow of information in the coming days leading to election day.

“Truly, Facebook is taunting the Filipino people, as if to say that it is, indeed, the ‘Lord of the Realm of ‘Social Media’ and there is nothing anyone, even our own government, can do about it,” he said.

He called on the government agencies to urgently address the situation.

In a Viber message on Tuesday, Rodriguez claimed his Facebook account was suspended because he was "for Bongbong Marcos".

“FB (Facebook)/Meta suspended my account because I am for Bongbong Marcos. This is censorship of the highest degree and interference on a sovereign act,” he said.

Rodriguez’s account was suspended for 30 days by Facebook effective April 25, 2022. (PNA)