Hours after news of the Supreme Court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Law of 2012, the global clamor for the total junking of the contentious law has further intensified, with thousands of netizens signing petitions against it.
“The fight for Internet freedom is an international fight. The call for the Cybercrime Law’s repeal is now echoing in all parts of the world,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino said.
The online petition initiated by Kabataan Partylist in change.org (see http://www.change.org/petitions/junk-the-cybercrime-prevention-law), has now reached over 76,000 e-signatures from all over the globe.
“The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 poses serious threats to Internet freedom, the right to privacy and other essential civil liberties including the freedom of speech, expression, and the press,” the change.org petition read.
The said petition calls for the outright junking of RA 10175, explaining that the law will have a “chilling impact to bloggers, online journalists, advocacy groups and normal netizens, as any website can be shut down with accusations of infringement without due process.”
In New York City, the group Access – a partner organization of Kabataan Partylist that promotes digital freedom – has also initiated an online petition, and has now reached over 13,000 signatures. (See https://www.accessnow.org/page/s/stop-cyber-martial-law)
“The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 is unjust, overbroad, and poses a serious threat to freedom of expression in the Philippines. We call on you to repeal this law immediately and protect the democratic rights of your citizens,” the Access petition read.
“While protecting against the ever growing threat of cybercrime is certainly important, it doesn’t give governments free license to pass laws meant to silence criticism and opposition,” said Brett Solomon, Executive Director of Access.
The group is set to deliver their petition to Senate this week.
‘Expedite repeal in Congress’
Palatino, meanwhile, welcomed the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court en banc to issue a TRO against the implementation of Republic Act No. 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012.
“This is an initial victory for Filipinos that protested both online and offline. Without such public pressure, who knows what the high court could have done,” Palatino said.
However, the youth solon stressed that the fight against RA 10175 is far from over. “The TRO just delays the implementation of the law. The ball has now returned to Congress’ hands. And now, it is time for legislators to correct past mistakes and repeal the contentious provisions with finality,” Palatino explained.
“The issuance of a TRO is a cue for Congress leadership to expedite the processing of repeal bills now filed in both chambers of Congress,” Palatino said. “The TRO released by the high tribunal is effective for 120 days, enough time for Congress to repeal RA 10175,” Palatino added.
Palatino filed House Bill No.6613 in the Lower House last October 1, with Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño as co-author.
HB 6613 seeks to repeal Sections 4(c)4, 5, 6, 7 and the whole Chapter 4 of RA 10175.
Section 4(c)4, 5, and 6 of RA 10175 relate to online libel, and are unconstitutional due its vagueness, the youth solon explained. Meanwhile, Chapter IV of RA 10175 is also unconstitutional for violating constitutional due process, Palatino said.
“The fight against the Cybercrime Law should not die down with the court’s issuance of a TRO. Instead, we should remain vigilant and even intensify the clamor for the total scrapping of RA 10175,” Palatino said.###