Supreme Court should review provisions of RA 10175 | Inquirer Opinion
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Supreme Court should review provisions of RA 10175

/ 09:34 PM October 05, 2012

Freedom of expression is the lifeblood of a vibrant democracy. Through expression, ideas are translated into words. Words are then solidified into action. Through determined collective action, these expressions are brought to life, transformed from mere ideas into noble social realities that are the foundation of an equitable and developed society.

Republic Act 10175, more commonly known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, is the greatest threat to freedom of expression in the post-martial law era. Hidden behind various provisions against online fraud, child pornography and other indisputable cybercrimes, there is a blanket provision explicitly extending the jurisdiction of the Philippines’ controversial libel law into cyberspace. Additionally, this law empowers various enforcement agencies, such as the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police, to actively track and monitor the online movements of citizens. Finally, those found guilty of online libel, even for something as simple as a Facebook comment, are to be punished more strictly than those who commit regular libel.

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The public outcry against this draconian law has been deafening. Filipino netizens, media personnel, prominent civil society figures, and even international groups like the International Human Rights Watch have spoken out against it. Several petitions questioning the constitutionality of several provisions within the Cybercrime Prevention Act have already been filed before the Supreme Court. Despite this, members of Congress and Malacañang have steadfastly defended the Act, knowing that their ability to silence dissenters relies upon it.

We strongly condemn the treacherous provisions of this cybercrime law, treacherous because they threaten the fundamental Filipino freedoms of speech and expression. We call on the Filipino people to continue speaking out, in a deafening roar, against this attempt to silence the diverse yet productive discourse of democracy. We call on the Supreme Court  to dutifully review the constitutionality of these provisions by making the petitions filed against the Cybercrime Prevention Act its top priority. We implore Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to use this opportunity to prove that, under her watch, the Supreme Court has once again become an honorable institution that the Filipino people can trust to deliver justice whenever Congress and the President fail us.

FEATURED STORIES
OPINION

—MARIA SHAINA F. SANTIAGO,

chair, Kaisa-Nagkakaisang

Iskolar para sa Pamantasan

at Sambayanan, University of the Philippines Diliman, [email protected]

gmail.com

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TAGS: Cybercrime Prevention Act, letters, Protest, Supreme Court
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