Tonight is the moment before the freedom of internet usage that we enjoy for decades be banished as the implementation of the infamous R.A 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 signed by the President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.
Once again, the goal of this bill enumerated in Chapter II of the Republic Act No. 10175 is to curb the crimes committed online like cybersex, child pornography, cybersquatting and identity theft, spamming or unsolicited commercial communication, computer-related forgery, illegal access to a computer system and/or illegal interception of data, data interference, including intentional alteration or damaging of data; system interference, including damaging or altering computer data or programs as well as the use of viruses, the misuse of devices; and the use, production, sale, procurement, importation, distribution or making available without right of malware, passwords or codes.
However, the provisions stipulated especially the libel clause added by Senator Vicente Sotto III gained massive criticism from online community including me because the legal definition of libel whether in the RA No, 10175 or in Revised Penal Code does not address the nature of the content done by a person using the internet especially. With the application of libel offense done by traditional media according to the Revised Penal Code that is stipulated in the RA no. 10175, you may imprison up to 12 years or a fine of 200,000 pesos for damages committed even though you share or re-twit other person’s posts. How ridiculous.
Because of the libel definition of the Revised Penal Code that would be applicable for cyber crime offenders and the libel provisions of the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012, you could be persecuted with two counts with a same charge that would not be only costly and destructive for innocent internet users but also a violation of the Article III, Section 21 of the 1987 Constitution that would protect any person living in the Philippines from being charged of two same counts at the same time or what is known as the Right Against Double Jeopardy.
Last, the law itself is a violation of the fundamental right of a person to express his feelings or grievances especially to the government that is guaranteed to our 1987 Constitution, Article III, Section 4 states:
“No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
The implementation of that law will not address the problems of cyber crime, contrary on what the bill says as any persons who pisses off soon especially politicians and business corporations will use this law to suppress any dissents of their actions and therefore suppressing dissents and criticisms would destroy the versatility and dynamics of the internet of our country. The passage of that law will give a precedence for political tyrants in the future to restrict the Filipino people of internet access of all kinds of purposes like what China have right now.
Therefore, we the Filipino citizens who loves freedom, we must fight these politicians and their financiers until this law will be repealed.