Senator Pangilinan files cyberlibel over 'fake news' about his marriage

·2 min read
(Source: Sen. Francis
(Source: Sen. Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan/Instagram)

Senator Francis Pangilinan filed a cyberlibel complaint before the Department of Justice on Friday (July 16), accusing the owners of two YouTube channels and a country manager of Google of spreading false information that he was physically abusing his wife, actress Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan.

The owners of the YouTube channels Starlet and Latest Chika were charged with cyberlibel and violating Republic Act 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Pangilinan complaint also named Google's country manager.

Earlier this May, both channels posted videos alleging a domestic spat between Pangilinan and Cuneta and a fictitious third person in their marriage.

According to a video posted by Starlet on May 20, 2021, Pangilinan purportedly urged his wife not to pursue a case against him.

“Said video contained statements that I physically hurt or abused my wife, Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan, and that she and our daughter, KC, filed a case against me for physical injuries,” Pangilinan said in his complaint.

The following day on May 21, 2021, Latest Chika followed suit and posted a similar video on YouTube, citing sources who claimed that the actress had already filed a lawsuit against the senator.

The senator also said that the videos “created in the minds of the viewers that [he] physically hurt or abused [his] wife and caused her physical injuries and that she has filed a criminal case against [him] for physical injuries.”

The videos have received hundreds of thousands of views online, Pangilinan added in his complaint.

Aside from the videos, the senator also called attention to how the thumbnails contained false information that enticed visitors to watch the videos.

A week later on May 28, Cuneta-Pangilinan responded by posting a video on Instagram denying the rumors. “Nalinaw na rin namin ang mga walang kakwenta-kwenta at walang katotohanang mga chismis! (We have finally cleared up the nonsense and untrue gossip!),” the actress captioned.

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Meanwhile, the senator included Google's country manager in the complaint because according to him the country manager failed to "ensure that the employees exercise the necessary diligence in ascertaining the existence of defamatory videos and the removal of such in order to maintain the Community Guidelines and its Policy, Safety, and Copyright Policies."

Google found none of the 82 videos reported by Pangilinan to be defamatory.

Pangilinan argued that despite their knowledge of the defamatory complaints, Google still “refused to remove such videos despite being informed of its defamatory nature which is in violation of the Philippine laws and even YouTube’s own Community Guidelines and its Policy, Safety and Copyright Policies.”

YouTube was purchased by Google in 2006. According to the video streaming site’s Terms of Services, their service provider is Google.

Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. She also writes about showbiz, lifestyle, and all things Pinoy pride. The views expressed are her own.

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