Tag Archives: Revised Penal Code

[Statement] Statement on the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012-CLRD

Statement on the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

The Philippines is again faced with another hasty legislation, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (R.A. 10175), passed with the speed of light, should be given not just a closer look but a downreaching scrutiny. A perusal of the law would warrant a declaration of unconstitutionality for the fact that it curtails basic constitutional rights not only of children but of everyone else who utilizes the cyberspace to connect with the world. The said law also runs against the principle of separation of powers.

For Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center (CLRDC) Inc., the law in question obviously infringes on many constitutionally guaranteed rights and principles specifically on the following:

1. It curbs not only one’s right to freedom of expression, speech and press, let alone one’s right to privacy. This pertains to Section 12 of the said law, which actually allows authorities to “collect or record by technical or electronic means” communications transmitted through a computer system”. Authorities can now have access to personal data, listen or record private conversations and correspondences even without a warrant.

Section 12 contravenes the very essence of Art. III (Bill of Rights) of the 1987 Constitution, particularly Sections 3 (1) on inviolability of privacy of communication, and 4 on freedom of speech, of expression, of the press, and peaceful assembly.

2. This law also criminalizes cyber libel which can be prosecuted apart from that of the traditional libel punishable under the Revised Penal Code, therefore violating the ne bis in idem principle under the general principle of international law or the rule on double jeopardy.

3. A violation of the separation of powers can also be gleaned from the law which gives the Department of Justice much jurisdiction on restricting or blocking access to computer without prior judicial determination for as long as there is prima facie evidence that said computer was used in the commission of any of the prohibited acts under it. This clearly is a function, a power exclusive to the courts and not to the executive. To encroach upon a co-equal branch’s power is not only a violation of the separation of powers but a violation of one’s right to due process.

4. The said law also exhibits vagueness particularly when it comes to the Regional Trial Court’s (RTC) jurisdiction over the acts committed in violation of the former. How can jurisdiction be determined considering that the World Wide Web or internet is so far reaching that it can even be used outside the Philippine jurisdiction. More so, how are we to determine an act that is in violation of the law from that of a casual or ordinary conversation not to mention that a mere posting of libelous comments on social media appears also to be punishable.

No right is absolute indeed but it is also guaranteed by our very Constitution that no person shall be deprived of his or her right to life, liberty and property with out due process of law and under this instance, under this law, due process is not complied with, thus it should be declared unconstitutional.

In the Philippines, there are still many crimes that needs more attention like enforced disappearance, torture, extra-legal killings, human trafficking – – these are non-derogable rights that should not be relegated to the sidelines and must be looked into. The enactment of RA 101275 reflects the government’s alleged inattention and apathy to the reigning culture of impunity, the reason why disappearance, torture, trafficking, extra-legal killings remain unbridled and no perpetrators are brought to justice, so to speak.

We call on our fellow rights defenders to remain vigilant as we call on our government to respect constitutionally guaranteed rights and repeal RA 10175.

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[From the web] ‘Cybercrime’ law threatens free speech and must be reviewed | Amnesty International

Philippines: ‘Cybercrime’ law threatens free speech and must be reviewed | Amnesty International.

October 4, 2012

A new ‘cybercrime’ law in the Philippines poses serious risks to freedom of expression and must be reviewed, Amnesty International said.

Under the new law, known as the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 101750), a person could be sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for posting online comments judged to be libellous.

“The ‘cybercrime’ law rolls back protections for free speech in the Philippines. Under this law, a peaceful posting on the Internet could result in a prison sentence,” said Isabelle Arradon, deputy Asia director at Amnesty International.

The law, which came into effect on Wednesday, broadly extends criminal libel (defined in the Philippines as the public and malicious imputation of a discreditable act that tends to discredit or dishonour another person and which currently exists under the Revised Penal Code) to apply to acts “committed through a computer system or any other similar means which may be devised in the future”.

It also increases the criminal penalties for libel in computer-related cases.

Read full article @ www.amnesty.org

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Petitions vs cybercrime law continue to flood SC -PhilStar.com

Petitions vs cybercrime law continue to flood SC
By Edu Punay, The Philippine Star
September 29, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Protests against RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act continues to mount at the Supreme Court (SC) after a fifth group yesterday filed another petition seeking to stop implementation of questioned provisions in the new law.

A group of journalists, bloggers and lawyers led by UP law professor Harry Roque Jr. argued that five provisions of the law violate not only constitutional rights of citizens in cyberspace but also run counter to the contractual obligation of the government to the United Nations.

They slammed the government for criminalizing libel on the Internet when the United Nations had already pointed out that libel under the Revised Penal Code was “incompatible” with the Filipino’s freedom of expression.

Petitioners cited the findings of UN Human Rights Committee on the case of radio broadcaster Alexander Adonis, who sought relief from the UN after having been found guilty on the libel charge slapped by former House speaker Prospero Nograles and imprisoned for two years.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] PH under fire for anti-cyber crime law -MindaNews

MindaNews » PH under fire for anti-cyber crime law.

By Edwin G. Espejo
September 29, 2012

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/28 September) — More media organizations and a New York-based human rights monitor have joined calls for the immediate repeal of the newly passed Philippine anti-cyber crime law which included internet libel as a criminal offense.

“Cybercrime Prevention Act actually broadens the scope of a libel law so antiquated and draconian that the United Nations Human Rights Council itself declared it excessive and called on the Philippine government to review the law with the end of decriminalizing libel,” said Nestor Burgos,” president of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines.

The new law, signed by President Benigno Aquino III on September 12, also increased the penalty of internet libel to 6 to 12 years.  Under the Revised Penal Code, libel carries a prison term of not more than six years.  Internet libel is not defined as a criminal act under the said penal code.

In an interview with http://www.rappler.com, University of the Philippines professor Theodore Te said the law “poses real danger” to people who make a living online.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[In the news] Senator Jinggoy: No prison term for libel – InterAksyon.com

Senator Jinggoy: No prison term for libel
by Karl John C. Reyes, InterAksyon.com
February 2, 2012

Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada seeks the abolition of the penalty of imprisonment in libel cases, saying that such a stiff penalty curtails freedom of expression and threatens journalists and other media personnel who criticize or expose erroneous acts.

In Senate Bill 83, one of his priority measures, Estrada said that while a newsman may share his views publicly on controversial issues and individuals, he remains unprotected from the risk of imprisonment if convicted of libel.

Under the Revised Penal Code, one count of libel is punishable with imprisonment of up to six years and one day, and a fine of up to P6,000.

“This loophole is in direct opposition to the freedom of speech and should warrant necessary revisions,” the lawmaker states in the bill’s explanatory note.

“It is an irony that we call our country a land of democracy and yet we have the highest ratings of media killings and intimidation in Asia. Why should a reporter be penalized when he only speaks of the truth or when he voices out his just opinion to the masses who need to know what is going on?” Sen. Estrada said.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com