An appeal to the SC to stop Cybercrime law
Last Friday, I joined five other persons in asking the Supreme Court to issue a temporary restraining order against the implementation of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
We asked the High Court to declare Sections 4 (c) , 5, 6, 7 and 19 of the Act unconstitutional.
Named respondents because they are the ones who will be implementing the law which President Aquino signed last Sept. 12 and took effect Sept. 27 are: Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa Jr., Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas III, National Bureau of Investigation director Nonnatus Caesar Rojas, Philippine National Police chief Nicanor Bartolome, and acting Director-General Denis Villorente of the Information and Communications Technology Office-Department of Science and Technology.
Our primary argument against the law is that it is in violation of the Constitution which states that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
Click here for Cybercrime petition
That provision in the Bill of Rights and is a reflection of how important the framers of the Constitution regarded the freedom of the press and the right of the people to be informed.
We also hold that RA 10175 is not in consonance with International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which the Philippines ratified on Aug. 22, 1989.
The ICCPR provides, among others, that “Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.”
It also states that “ Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”
We hold that Section 6 of R. A 10175 violates the equal protection clause, of the constitution since it arbitrarily increases the penalty imposed on “cyber libel” punishable with from six months and one day to 12 years as compared to the penalty for ordinary libel which is punishable with six months and one day to four years.
We ask the public for support.
My fellow petitioner, Adonis, knows whereof he speaks, when it comes to the burden of libel.
In April 2007, while working as a commentator for the Davao City-based Bombo Radyo, he was sentenced to four years and six months in prison in a libel case filed against him by then Davao representative (and later Speaker of the House) Prospero Nograles.
Nograles brought the suit against Adonis in 2001 over a report by the radio broadcaster which alleged, citing newspaper reports, that the congressman was seen running naked in a Manila hotel shortly after the husband of a woman he was allegedly having an affair with caught them in bed.
While serving time, Adonis became the author of a Communication filed before the Human Rights Committee entitled Alexander Adonis v. The Philippines.
With the help of Atty. Roque, he questioned his imprisonment for libel as a violation of his right to free expression and brought it to the UN Human Rights Committee, which declared that criminal libel in the Philippines conflicts with the country’s obligations under Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.