Come out Clean, SC told Activists warn of “PNoy’s Watergate” if TRO on Cybercrime Law ends
“Don’t stain your clean record.”
This is the message of activist group Sanlakas to Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno as it trooped in front of the Supreme Court a day before the first en banc session on the controversial Cybercrime Prevention Act.
With its members wearing white, Sanlakas asked the High Court to keep its track record clean and prove independence from Malacanang on the issue.
“Sereno has so far shown her autonomy from the President when she issued a temporary restraining order on the cybercrime law. She is facing her second test and we wish she will pass it with flying colors,” said Sanlakas National Spokesperson James Miraflor.
Miraflor, one of the petitioners against the law, expressed Sanlakas’ confidence on the Supreme Court process, but asked the netizens to remain vigilant during the remaining weeks of the restraining order.
“Cyber martial law was paused for the moment because people poured to streets and protested against it. We need to do it again if we are to permanently put a stop to this law,” Miraflor said.
Sanlakas warned that the TRO expiring during the campaign season for the 2013 elections allows for an Aquino version of a “Watergate scandal” to a happen.
“Imagine if this law becomes operational on February 6. If an unscrupulous government official decides to use the police to hack a political opponent’s device and get information, they can do so, and no one would even know it,” Miraflor said.
Sanlakas alludes to the Watergate Scandal that wracked the United States in 1972 and forced the resignation of incumbent Republican President Richard Nixon who just won a landslide victory in 1971.
Sanlakas explained that Watergate Scandal involved a systematic break-in and information theft on the opponents of the Nixon administration during the 1971 campaign period, which the government attempted to cover up.
“There is a real danger that the Cybercrime Prevention Act will be used ala Watergate to keep tabs on, and hack the devices of, politicians and activists running against administration candidates this 2013,” Miraflor warned.
“There is an imminent danger of fallout here, even if administration candidates eventually win. Will Aquino allow that?,” Miraflor asked.
Sanlakas also asked the Aquino administration “not to waste its energies” trying to defend the law, and instead focus on making sure that the Freedom of Information Bill is passed.
“We don’t think it will be productive for the Palace to spend taxpayers money in rescuing a seriously flawed law when it has to rush its allies to pass a bill the people actually wants,” Miraflor said.
Sanlakas said that with the FOI taking effect during the campaign season of 2013 elections, voters can demand more information on candidates and will be able to vote better.
“What we need for 2013 elections is not a law which allows to government to spy on you, but law which empowers voters to check out the candidates,” Miraflor concluded.-30-
January 14, 2013
Contact Person: James Miraflor, National Spokesperson @ 0927-613-2068
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