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While admitting that certain provisions of Republic Act No. 10175 are unconstitutional, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza maintained that the government needs to fight crimes committed on the Internet.
When the Supreme Court issued a four-month-long temporary restraining order against the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act last October, the unusual length of the TRO was widely interpreted as a deferential gesture. The high court wanted to spare Congress the embarrassment of a new law being declared unconstitutional, by giving it enough time to amend or revise the law’s controversial provisions.
By Peter Wallace
A remarkable year 2012 was. In his time, President Fidel Ramos brought about some dramatic changes in the business environment—changes that to this day we are still benefiting from. He deregulated the key sectors—sectors that are now vibrant and competitive: telecom (there would be few cell phones today if PLDT had retained its monopoly), power (we’d still be having blackouts), oil and banking.
By Angel Redoble
As an IT/cybersecurity practitioner for 16 years, I had foreseen the possible catastrophic impact should malicious hackers launch an attack against our critical cyberinfrastructure. So if you ask me whether we need a cybercrime law or not, my answer is “yes,” definitely. In fact we needed it 10 years ago. However, I agree with the view that libel by ICT shouldn’t be considered a crime.
The Cybercrime Prevention Act is a law that should not be. It came like a horse-kick that dealt a black eye on our freedom of expression. Drawing widespread criticisms, it is now facing several petitions that are seeking its annulment by the Supreme Court. Shoddily crafted, it lacks finish and the intricate details for refinement that could make it look like a flawless gem—no cracks, no holes. Its context and substance clearly show that the law was flimsily enacted—like a food that is either inadequately or incorrectly cooked, say, a hamburger grilled on the engine hood of a car. Thanks to its authors, some of whom have great understanding of law.
By Vicente V. Mendoza
A popular comic strip in America many years ago featured two bumbling characters, Alphonse and Gaston, both of whom had a penchant for politeness. Gaston, the tall one, would say, “After you, Alphonse,” and the latter, the short one, would insist, “No, you first, my dear Gaston!” The show of excessive politeness would go on and on, with the result that neither could do anything or go anywhere because each insisted on letting the other precede him. Today, the catchphrase “After you, my dear Alphonse” is heard whenever a dare is made to a person to do something difficult or even dangerous.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines welcomes the Supreme Court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order on the implementation of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act.
Deserving or not, Sen. Vicente Sotto III has become the lightning rod for criticism about the new cybercrime law. Despite initially denying that he had inserted the much-maligned libel provision into the law, he is still seen by many as the culprit because of his recent speeches in the Senate, opposing the Reproductive Health or RH bill, using plagiarized content from blog posts. People may be speculating that he had the most to gain from inserting the libel provision because of his disdain for bloggers and their consequent uproar.
I’ve always wanted to be a journalist, that’s why I took up Mass Communications. I am now in my fourth year.
By Conrado de Quiros
Edgardo Angara, author of the anticybercrime law, justifies it in this way: “Why was the penalty (for libel) raised? The only rationale I can think of is that because of the novelty and swiftness, and the spread and reach of information and communications technology, it becomes an aggravating circumstance. With one click, you can send it (the libelous statement) all over the world.”
By Florin T. Hilbay
With the passage of the Cybercrime Prevention Act (RA 10175), the government has entered the online thicket in a substantial way. Petitions have been filed questioning the validity of the Act, giving the Supreme Court the opportunity to define our rights in digital space. This is an important case because the Internet has become an important platform for individual and social activities that generate meaning and profits, produce identities and opportunities, or structure views and conversations. In my opinion, even a generous reading will not save RA 10175; it is unconstitutional because it is overbroad.
By Walden Bello
It could have remained Sotto’s Folly, the cybercrime law with the controversial libel provision that Senator Vicente Sotto III inserted during the Senate deliberations on the bill.