The oral arguments on the constitutionality of the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act at the Supreme Court on Tuesday gave free speech and Internet freedom advocates a boost. But whether some justices were merely playing devil’s advocate or testing the limits of the petitioners’ positions, lines of reasoning were also used at the 4-hour hearing that should give the public pause. Those who share the view that Republic Act No. 10175 should be declared unconstitutional—and antidemocratic at its core—cannot afford to be complacent.
By Conrado de Quiros
FIRST OFF, an irresistible aside. Why on earth would you watch J-Lo and complain later that you were shocked by the concert’s loudness? In fact, why would you claim to have finer sensibilities—“I have high taste in music”—and watch J-Lo in the first place? When in fact at about the same time J-Lo did MOA’s The Arena to a full house, Dave Grusin and Lee Ritenour were doing PICC to a fairly empty one? The latter was magical by the way.
By Artemio V. Panganiban
The controversy over the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act 10175) digs deep into one of the most revered rights in a democracy—the right to free expression. The guardians of liberty are always alarmed when a new law tends to suppress free expression.
It was inevitable. That the most controversial new legal concept of the day, electronic libel, would collide with arguably the most consequential economic debate of our time, the future of mining in the Philippines, makes the so-called “Cyber-Perling” case even more fraught with meaning. But it was really only a matter of time before the nature of the nightmare spawned by the Cybercrime Prevention Act became visible to the ordinary eye.
The temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court, “enjoining the [government] from implementing and/or enforcing Republic Act No. 10175 (Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012),” is a welcome decision. We join the many who think it was the right legal call, considering the new law’s immediate chilling effect on fundamental rights such as free speech. We also share the view of a few, who think it was the right political call.
By Jose Ma. Montelibano
Yes, it has truly been an exciting week that has been tackling key issues that can change the course of our history. Three major concerns have been happening simultaneously that can set the tone of our immediate future and change the flavor of national life way beyond that.
By Patricia Evangelista
In the aftermath of the passage of Republic Act 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, many lessons were taught to the citizens of the Republic of the Philippines. A number of political bloggers learned that calling a moron senator a moron was a criminal act, with the same jail sentence handed down to the unfortunate Twitter user who called Sharon Cuneta overweight. Sixteen online news outfits were shut down, dozens of amateur filmmakers were sent to jail, one Cabinet official stepped down after a complaint by the CBCP’s Melvyn Castro that former anchor and then Communications Secretary Ricky Carandang had made libelous statements in his 2010 blog regarding Castro’s questionable morality—he claimed contraception was a greater sin than wholesale corruption. Castro claimed he was filing a libel case in behalf of God.
I want to share my opinion regarding the Cybercrime Prevention Act that is presently drawing different comments and reactions in the public arena.
By Raul C. Pangalangan
Critics of the Cybercrime Law (RA 10175) err when they target its punishment of defamation. Libel has been punished in the Revised Penal Code since 1930, and presumably before that in the Spanish-era Codigo Penal. The Cybercrime Law didn’t invent it. That is completely understandable. After all, libel is defined as “a crime against honor,” [...]
By Fr. Joaquin G. Bernas S. J.
My relaxation reading these past few days has been “Winter of the World,” Ken Follet’s Book 2 of his “The Century Trilogy.” The first few chapters are about the gradual rise of fascism and Nazism amidst an unsuspecting world lulled by the idea that the government knows what is best for the people.