Duterte signs new law that fines publishers of fake news up to P200,000 and jail time

President Rodrigo Duterte signed a new law penalizing those who publish fake news that can endanger the public with a stiffer penalty.

Malacañang announced on August 31 that Duterte signed Republic Act 10951, “An Act Adjusting the Amount of the Value of Property and Damage on which a Penalty is Based, and Fines Imposed Under the Revised Penal Code,” on August 29, a law that amends the amounts and fines imposed under the Revised Penal Code.
The most significant amendments made include the penalty of imprisonment up to six months and a fine as much as P200,000 for spreading fake news.

People who will publish fake news as though it is legitimate news through print or other methods of publication will be penalized, as per Section 18, Article 154 (Unlawful use of means of publication and unlawful utterances).

It states, “Any person who by means of printing, lithography, or any other means of publication shall publish or cause to be published as news any false news which may endanger the public, or cause damage to the interest or credit of the State.”
Those who are guilty of violating this law will be punished with “arresto mayor” or imprisonment of one month and a day to six months and paying a fine ranging from P40,000 to as much as P200,000.

Article 154 seeks to punish those who publish an official document without proper authority, deliver speeches that encourage violating the law, and publish pamphlets anonymously.

RA 10951 will penalize the leader of a sedition up to P2 million instead of the P10,000 stated under the Revised Penal Code and imprisonment from six years and a day to eight years under the law’s Section 7, Article 140.

Those who will be found guilty in conspiring to commit sedition will be penalized with “prision correccional” or two years, four months and a day up to four years and two months and a fine of up to P1 million, so much higher from its original P5,000.

Those who are found encouraging others to commit sedition through proclamations, speeches, banners and other representations will be fined as much P400,000 and jail time from four years and two months and a day to 12 years. The fine is way higher than the P2,000 cited in the 87-year-old Revised Penal Code.

Penalties for libel by writings or similar means were also amended under Section 91, Article 355. Those who will be found guilty of libel will be fined P40,000 to P1.2 million, up from the previous fine of P200 to P6,000.

Oral defamation or slander will now penalize those who will commit the crime with a fine of P20,000, up from the previous P200.

The amendments will take effect 15 days after RA 10951 is published in at least two newspapers of general circulation.

Sources: ( , )

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