TIMELINE: The road to SC's Cybercrime Law verdict
MANILA, Philippines – On Tuesday, February 18, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, including the controversial provision on online libel.
The SC ruled that online libel is constitutional, but is subject to one condition – only the original author, not those who receive or react to the post, can be penalized.
Meanwhile, the SC struck down as unconstitutional the "take-down clause," which gives the state the power to take down online content without a court warrant. It also ruled as unconstitutional the real-time collection of online data.
Critics assailed the law's online libel provision as a roadblock to online self-expression. Providing blanket authority to government to shut down websites and collect data from social media accounts are also seen as threats to Internet freedom.
The government, on the other hand, sees RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act as a way to combat cybercrimes and protect Filipinos from all forms of illegal activities online.
Review the events that transpired since the enactment of the law.
Sept 12, 2012
President Benigno Aquino III signed RA 10175 into law. It would take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in at least two newspapers of general circulation. (TIMELINE: The road to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012)
Sept 24, 2012
The first of 15 petitions against the Anti-Cybercrime Law was filed before the Supreme Court. The 16th petition was dismissed by the Supreme Court on Jan 24, 2013. (READ: High Court asked to stop cybercrime law)
Sept 26, 2012
Hackers calling themselves "Anonymous Philippines" defaced some government websites to protest the new law.
Oct 1 and 2, 2012
Both houses of Congress sought to amend the Cybercrime Law. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said that "Internet libel was never a part of any [of the bill's] versions" since 2007, when the DOJ first crafted the consolidated cybercrime bill. (READ: DOJ opposed online libel - De Lima)
Oct 3, 2012
The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 went into effect.
Oct 5, 2012
President Aquino defended the Cybercrime Law and said he wants to keep its controversial provision on online libel.
Oct 8, 2012
Senator Vicente Sotto III delivered a privilege speech in the Senate to "set the record straight" on the law.
Oct 9, 2012
The Supreme Court issued a 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO) on the Cybercrime Law.
Oct 17, 2012
SC Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco inhibited from the cases challenging the constitutionality of the law. He was the original ponente (writer of the decision) for the case.
Nov 12, 2012
Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago filed her own version of the law, the Magna Carta for Philippine Internet Freedom. She called it the "anti-cybercrime law version 2.0."
Dec 10, 2012
The government asked the Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of RA 10175. (READ: Cybercrime law is defensible – Palace)
Jan 15, 2013
The first day of oral arguments on the Cybercrime Law took place at the Supreme Court. (AS IT HAPPENED: SC oral arguments on #CybercrimeLaw)
- As 5 lawyers argued against the Cybercrime Law, SC justices asked questions that revolved around one theme: what's the recourse of a citizen who is abused online? (READ: 'Cybercrime law can protect citizens')
- The High Court also cited the case of Chris Lao who was a cyberbullying victim himself.
- VLOG: Protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court
Jan 29, 2013
The second day of oral arguments on the Cybercrime Law took place.
- Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said that the SC should uphold Section 12 of RA 10175 – allowing real-time collection of traffic data – because it is the "heart" of the controversial law. (READ: Gov't to SC: Let us collect real-time data)
- Meanwhile, lawyer Harry Roque asked the SC to strike down all provisions criminalizing libel.
Feb 6, 2013
The Supreme Court extended the TRO on the Cybercrime Law for an indefinite period until further notice.
Feb 7, 2013
The National Bureau of Investigation said that based on the figures alone, the frozen Cybercrime Law has a "deterrence" effect on the commission of cyber-related crimes.
May 23, 2013
The Department of Justice said that there will be no online libel in the department's "enhanced" version of the law, which they would endorse to the next Congress once it opens in July.
Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago and Nancy Binay filed Internet-related bills at the start of the 16th Congress. (READ: Binay vs e-violence, Miriam for net freedom)
October 3, 2013
In its Freedom on the Net 2013 report, US-based Freedom House said Internet freedom in the Philippines slightly declined primarily because of the Cybercrime Law, which it called "notorious, restrictive, and punitive." (READ: Cybercrime law mars PH net freedom – global report)
Jan 17, 2014
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that her department's cybercrime unit couldn't go on "full blast," as it awaits the SC ruling on the country's cybercrime law. (READ: De Lima: Not enough resources in anti-cybersex effort)
Jan 18, 2014
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said an anti-cybercrime law could have helped the country in its efforts to curb online prostitution. (READ: Palace: Cybercrime law will help curb online sex abuse)
Feb 18, 2014
The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most provisions of Republic Act 10175. It ruled that online libel was constitutional, but subject to one condition. – Rappler.com