Netizens, media group file petitions against law

Purple S. Romero

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15 petitions have been filed against the cybercrime law

MANILA, Philippines – A network of bloggers and a media organization on Monday, October 8, separately called for the nullification of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. 

As of posting, 15 petitions have been filed against the cybercrime law. The Supreme Court is expected to take them up in its en banc session today, Tuesday, October 9.

The Philippine Internet Freedom Alliance (PIFA), whose members include nongovernment organizations, partylist groups and bloggers, filed a petition at the Supreme Court along with Bayan Muna Rep Teodoro Casiño, asking the law to be declared unconstitutional. The petitioners said the law violates freedom of speech and expression and the right of citizens against unreasonable search and seizure, among others.

The National Press Club filed a similar petition with the High Court. 

The petitions cited Sections 4 (c) 4, 6, 7, 12, 13 and 19 as some of the provisions that make the Republic Act 10175 unconstitutional for criminalizing libel, increasing penalties of crimes under the Revised Penal Code to one degree, and allowing the collection of traffic data. 

PIFA and Casiño also also asked the SC to issue a status quo ante order and stop Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II and the heads of the Philippine National Police, the National Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Science and Technology and the Information Technology Office from implementing the law. 

PIFA and Casiño said the law creates a “chilling effect” on and discriminates against netizens.

“It must be recalled that, as discussed in this petition, under the current questionable provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, a mere ‘like,’ ‘tweet,’ ‘share,’ or blog post may be considered a criminal act. Thus, any of the millions of Filipino Internet users, regardless of age, educational background or even location within the country, can suddenly be a respondent in a criminal complaint for nearly any of their online activities. In short, millions of Filipinos could face criminal civil charges simply for using the Internet as they normally do,” they said.

The justice department however has given assurances that these fears are unfounded. –

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