The Law that Shocked Online Filipino Community – Philippine Cybercrime Prevention Law

For several days, the pressure of Republic Act No. 10175 otherwise known as Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 in the Senate have been shocking and occupying the minds of many Filipino especially the online Filipino community. The law was signed by President Benigno Aquino III on Sep. 12, aims to fight online pornography, hacking, identity theft and spamming following local government agencies’ complaints over the lack of legal defense to combat cybercrime.

Last Monday, it was stated by Justice Secretary Leila De Lima that the said law will be implemented starting Tuesday, Oct. 2 unless it is declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and no protest against other lawmakers including various online Filipino community.

However, groups of petitioners have been preventing the declaration of the Cybercrime Prevention Law. Several personalities to mention are Sen. Teofisto “TG” Guingona III and Kabataan Party List Rep. Raymond Palatino who have been questioning the constitutionality of some of the provisions of Rep. Act No. 10175 and called on Supreme Court to impose a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the cybercrime prevention act for review and proper evaluation of the said law.

Among the provisions of Rep. Act No. 10175 that have been sought for repeal are Sections 4 (c), 5, 6m and 7 including the whole Chapter four (4). According to them, the said law may violate the due process of law, freedom of expression of the public and freedom of the press.

Moreover, Anonymous Philippines group of hackers express their protest against the Cybercrime Prevention Act by striking down several Philippine government websites and stressed their message to revise the law “for the betterment of the online Filipino community”. The hackers defaced the sites by replacing it with an animated logo and statement against the Cybercrime Act, calling it “the most notorious act ever witnessed in the cyber history of the Philippines”.

Among the country’s government websites are Banko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc., Pilipinas Anti-Piracy Team, Department of Environment and Natural Resources – Region III, Smokefree Philippines of the Department of Health, and Institute for Development and Econometric Analysis.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima admitted that they know that there will be objectionable portions and stated that the provision didn’t came from them, and had even actually raised questions about the questionable sections of the law that results to six (6) petition that was filed with the Supreme Court seeking to amend certain provisions of Rep. Act No. 10175.

Though the intention of the law is to protect and safeguard the integrity of computer, computer and communications systems, networks, and databases, and the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and data stored therein, from all forms of misuse, abuse, and illegal access by making punishable under the law such conduct or conducts, still several group of petitioners including law makers, bloggers, students and other Filipino internet users are questioning the constitutionality of the above mentioned provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act.

Many are against Cybercrime Prevention Act, nevertheless, many still agree with it. Some may say “no fear as long as you do things decently and legally”, some may say, “what happens to freedom of speech?” Regardless of the controversies dwelling the law, still it didn’t stop to be enacted last Oct. 3, which still been the most popular talk of the online Filipino community following various public concerns about some of the provisions of the law.

 

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