Sotto eyes cyber-libel charges vs Cocoy Dayao

MANILA, Philippines – Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III plans to file a cyber-libel complaint before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) against Edward Angelo "Cocoy" Dayao, formerly associated with the Aquino administration and allegedly behind the "Silent No More PH" blog.

Sotto told this to reporters on Monday, November 20, when asked about Dayao's supposed departure from the country. (READ: What you need to know about #Cocoygate)

"Balewala 'yung sinasabi niya [na] hindi kami pumirma. Nag-imbento siya ng storyang ganoon na mali, na hindi naman kami pinapirma talaga. Balewala 'yun. 'Yung name-calling niya ang libelous," the senator said.

(What he said about us not signing the document, that's nothing. He just invented it. That's nothing. But his name-calling, that is libelous.)

Sotto was referring to a "Silent No More PH" blog post that described him and 6 other senators as Malacañang lapdogs because they did not sign a resolution condemning the killings of minors. (READ: Senators bicker over 'exclusion' from resolution vs killing of minors)

The other 6 senators slammed in the blog entry were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Manny Pacquiao, Gregorio Honasan, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Cynthia Villar, and Richard Gordon.

They earlier denounced the post, prompting the Senate investigation into the proliferation of misinformation and so-called fake news.

Sotto said the NBI has already confirmed that Dayao is the owner of the "Silent No More PH" blog.

Even a public apology, the senator said, would not be enough.

"Walang mangyayari doon. Pasuntok na lang siya sa 'kin kung gusto niya." (Nothing will happen with that. He should just let me punch him if he wants.)

Aside from Dayao, Sotto said he would file cases against others involved in the operation of the blog.

Dayao was a no-show at the Senate public information committee hearing on October 4. Committee chairperson Grace Poe, who praised a pro-Duterte blogger accused of spreading wrong information, said a subpoena will be issued against Dayao.

Earlier, Maria Josephina Vergina "Jover" Laurio, the woman behind the anti-Duterte Pinoy Ako Blog, revealed her identity after pro-Duterte bloggers slammed her in the hearing.

Laurio said Dayao, the site's webmaster, only handled the technical aspects of her site such as domain registration, but content creation is hers alone. –