Aquino wants to decriminalize libel; Velasco inhibits in Supreme Court

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'BE RESPONSIBLE.' Aquino says he is in favor of decriminalizing libel but Internet users must be responsible for their statements. Photo by Malacañang Photo Bureau
President Aquino said he supports efforts to decriminalize libel, but said internet users must be responsible for their statements. He says “I fully subscribe to the idea of decriminalizing, but not lessening the atmosphere to encourage irresponsibility in certain quarters.” That statement came as Supreme Court Justice Presbitero Velasco inhibited from cases challenging the constitutionality of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Velasco, the ponente or writer of the decision of the case, said he will recuse from handling the petitions “to erase any doubt or suspicion.” He says allegations of bias are “baseless and bereft of truth”. Media groups asked Velasco to inhibit because he filed 13 counts of libel against Newsbreak founding editor and now Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug in 2010 for her story “SC Justice in Partisan Politics?” published on the websites of ABS-CBN and Newsbreak. In that story, Vitug wrote about Velasco’s alleged role in the campaign of his son Lord Allan, who ran for congressman of Marinduque.


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