Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Monday, Feb. 14, filed a complaint against Maharlika, a pro-Marcos YouTube channel, for alleged libelous videos it posted that violate the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
This follows the two separate cyber libel complaints Pangilinan filed July 2021 against YouTube channels “Latest Chika” and “Starlet” for similar false videos, which the popular online platform has since taken down.
In filing the complaint at the Department of Justice, Pangilinan said that after its inaction to his numerous requests to take down the libelous video content, tech giant Google, which owns YouTube, must explain how these videos do not violate its community standards.
“We also urge corporations placing ads on these and similar YouTube channels to stop enabling these sites that peddle lies and disinformation,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said his wife Sharon and daughter Frankie also intend to sue Maharlika.
In his complaint, Pangilinan said: “The contents of the videos are all false, have no factual basis and are intended to destroy or damage my reputation as a senator, public servant, and a husband to one of the most beloved celebrities in the Philippines, Sharon Cuneta-Pangilinan.”
“More importantly, the libelous videos are meant to destroy the family. The libelous videos are not only intended to damage my relationship with my wife but also meant to destroy my relationship with our children,” he said.
Pangilinan said the persons behind the channel “acted in reckless disregard as to the truth or falsity of the statements in the video.”
On May 21, 2021, the Maharlika YouTube channel started posting a series of videos attacking Pangilinan.
Earlier this year, on January 12, over 80 fact-checking organizations around the world admonished YouTube for its failure to effectively address online disinformation and misinformation.
In a signed open letter addressed to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, they called for more effective action to end the spread of disinformation.
YouTube has been the platform of choice for political disinformation and misinformation of populist dictators, including the family of the late Ferdinand Marcos, distorting among others historical facts about their ill-gotten wealth.
Rappler, which is among the 80 fact-checking organizations, says “it is imperative that YouTube introduces policies on labeling false information on their platform as this could affect the Philippines’ presidential elections in 2022.”