No Stopping Cybercrime Law

Manila Bulletin, October 8, 2012 | Go to article overview
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No Stopping Cybercrime Law

MANILA, Philippines - The implementation of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 cannot be suspended amid continuing protests, Malacanang said on Monday.

This developed as the 13 petitions involving alleged unconstitutionality of the cybercrime law are set for deliberation by the Supreme Court in its full court session today starting at 10 a.m.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the Executive branch is duty bound to implement the law and its implementation cannot be stopped.

"No, the law is implemented. I think we were asked and (Justice) Secretary Leila de Lima was also asked. She already answered in the negative that we cannot suspend," Lacierda said in a press briefing yesterday.

"There were plans by the House and the Senate to issue a joint resolution but there has been no movement toward that. So, in the absence of any movement or any effort to suspend the implementation, we as the Executive branch are duty-bound to implement the law," he added.

A dialogue is scheduled Tuesday (Oct. 9) at the Department of Justice (DoJ) for the drafting of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the said law. The dialogue will be spearheaded by the DoJ, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Science and Technology (DoST), and various stakeholders to discuss if amendments would still be needed.

The Palace official reiterated that the Cybercrime Prevention Law is needed to ensure that the use of cyberspace will be done in a responsible manner.

"Bottom line is: Can one sue a person for libel on print, on radio, on TV, and then exempt cyberspace if one writes something libelous? What is sauce for the goose should be sauce for the gander; na kapag pwede mong kasuhan ang isang tao for libel sa radyo, sa print, or TV, hindi ba dapat patas rin lang na may libel laws rin to protect those who are maliciously maligned sa cyberspace," Lacierda said.

"The subject of libel is already found in the Revised Penal Code. Never at any time did the Supreme Court rule that libel was unconstitutional," he added.

"May I also remind, emphasize that criticism is not per se libelous. The laws on libel, the requirements are quite explicit on the definition of, and what should constitute libel. So kung pwede doon sa radyo, sa TV, sa print ang sinasabi lang naman ng ating Pangulo is dapat din maging responsable ang isang tao sa pagsulat sa cyberspace," Lacierda said.

He also reiterated that Cybercrime Prevention Law was not created to curtail freedom of expression.

"The final emphasis here is that we are not here to suppress freedom of the press or freedom of expression," Lacierda said.

"May mekanismo for responsibility that accompanies any freedom, in this case, freedom of expression.

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