DOJ Wants Online Libel, Cyber Porno Dropped

Manila Bulletin, May 24, 2013 | Go to article overview

DOJ Wants Online Libel, Cyber Porno Dropped


Manila, Philippines --- The Department of Justice (DOJ) yesterday endorsed a so-called "enhanced version" of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which will completely write-off the libel provision from the original version of the controversial law.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Third DOJ-Council of Europe (DOJ-COE) Regional Cybercrime Conference, DOJ Cybercrime Office chief Assistant Secretary Geronimo Sy announced the department's support for the dropping of online libel provision, which critics consider one of the most contentious in the RA 10175 since the provision would constitute double jeopardy and also imposed stiffer penalties than what is already provided by law.

He admitted that the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which was signed into law by President Aquino in September 2012, was slightly flawed and the law's questioned provisions, including the libel offense, were never supported by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In fact, Sy finds holding people liable for libel for retweets and Facebook posts as "shallow."

"Wala namang perfect law, eh, so we continue to repeat, reiterate it until we get it right. So wala na ho yung libel for sure which the Department of Justice in the first place never supported," Sy told reporters.

"Yung tinatawag na double jeopardy concern, the first version of the DOJ, wala naman talaga 'yan, eh. Either it's a cybercrime or (it's) not. Why should you be punished in the Revised Penal Code and under the Cybercrime Law? Dapat kung cybercrime, (cite the) Cybercrime (Prevention) Act na lang," he said.

But aside from the libel provision, Sy said that the Justice Department is also mulling on taking off child pornography and cyber-squatting from the Cybercrime Prevention Act when they endorse the DOJ's version of the law once the 16th Congress resumes.

Sy added that the law should not include minor offenses for which fines are sufficient punishment.

"We can get rid of these because these are punishable under other laws already," he said.

"The focus should be on organized crime where the Internet is used for drugs, trafficking issues, exploitation of children, the trafficking of women for fake marriages - the law should focus on these and not minor cases," Sy said.

While the DOJ agrees that the libel provision of the Cybercrime Prevention Act should be dropped, Sy said that the controversial provision dealing with the collection of real-time data should be implemented. …

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