MANILA, Philippines – Below is the opening statement of Sen Teofisto Guingona II before the Supreme Court for the oral arguments on the cybercrime law.
“Honorable Chief Justice Sereno and the Justices of the Philippine Supreme Court, good afternoon.
I rise to assail a law that nurtures values from a Draconian past thoroughly inconsistent with the demands of modern times; a law with fangs that instill fear in the people’s hearts, threatening to suck the life out of our freedom of speech and expression.
We refer to Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, a cyber-Dracula that this Honorable Court has thankfully put to sleep in its tomb.
Today, we ask the highest Court of the land to impale the law of its ghostly provisions with the stake of reason. As cyber-Dracula lies helpless in its sleep, we plead for the final decisive action to banish our anger, anxiety, and fears altogether.
We fear that this law gives the State unlimited powers to invade our lives, intruding into spheres long protected by Constitutional rights.
We are anxious that it will limit our rights to ventilate matters of public concern and interest – especially matters of importance to us, which involve transparency, accountability, and people participation.
We are angry because we have always trusted that laws are for the good of persons and society.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act is a law that threatens and assaults our fundamental Constitutional right to speak, our right against unreasonable searches and seizures, our right against double jeopardy, and our right to be accorded equal protection of the laws.
From the halls of the Senate, allow me to inform this Honorable Court that following the escalation of protests, several bills have been filed to decriminalize libel and to introduce amendments to the Cybercrime law.
But these bills remain pending in senate committees.
As one of the petitioners to the cases in question today, I have made the calibrated choice of seeking this Court’s jurisdiction to provide a swifter solution against questionable and fearsome provisions of the law.
I am hopeful that the stake of reason we offer will be a death blow to provisions that restrict, limit, and even destroy fundamental Constitutional rights. I believe that this is the Court that will do what is just, fair, and legal; a Court that promotes and protects the People and their fundamental rights.” – Rappler.com