As a blogger and netizen, we fully support Sen. TG Guingona’s staunch opposition against the newly-passed law Republic Act 10175, otherwise known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, for infringing against our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of speech and expression online.
The provisions of the anti-cybercrime law is enough to raise alarm bells on everybody. Not just bloggers but even ordinary Pinoys who use social networking sites like Facebook & Twitter on a regular basis. According to Senator TG, the law would have wide-ranging implications on –
– Persons, adult or child, who tweet criticisms against politicians, actors and actresses, and other persons.
– Persons who post Facebook status updates and those who comment on these posts.
– Persons who share Facebook posts and those who re-tweet messages on Twitter.
– Bloggers, Facebook accounts owners, and other online account owners who open their sites for comments from other people.
The libel provision in question is one that places under “punishable acts…. the unlawful or prohibited acts of libel as defined in Article 355 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future.”
Sen. Guingona adds that “while libel committed through traditional print media is punishable by up to four years and two months of imprisonment, online libel is punishable by a shocking 12-year imprisonment period.”
This space supports the snowballing campaign to strike out the questionable provisions of the new law which was reportedly “inserted” at the last minute without proper hearing and public consultation. Yes Mr. Eat Bulaga senator, we know who you are 🙂 ooops!
The existence of the libel clause is a violation of the Constitutional protection against double jeopardy. Just imagine: a person can now be prosecuted for libel under the Revised Penal Code and at the same time under the Cybercrime Prevention Act.