SC set to release decision on Cybercrime Law next week

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Youth groups call on public to rekindle online, offline protests


The Supreme Court is set to release its decision on the assailed Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 this week, according to several sources in the SC who asked not to be identified for lack of authority to speak on the matter.

The Cybercrime Law has been assailed by various sectors of society last year for containing several unconstitutional provisions that can potentially abridge the freedom of speech and expression online.

“We have reliable information that the high court will decide on the Cybercrime Law in their en banc hearing this Tuesday in Baguio City. In this light, we call on everyone not just to remain vigilant, but also resume the online and offline protests,” said Kabataan Partylist President Terry Ridon, legal counsel of youth leaders who filed the sixth petition for prohibition against RA 10175.

A total of 15 petitions were filed in the SC to assail the constitutionality of the new law last year.  Most petitions assailed 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 leader explained. Meanwhile, Chapter IV of RA 10175 is also unconstitutional for violating constitutional due process, Ridon added.

“The release of the Supreme Court decision will finally end the legal limbo that the temporary restraining order has set upon the Cybercrime Law. Though the case against the Cybercrime Law is undoubtedly strong, no one can ascertain how the SC would vote. Thus we encourage the public to rekindle our broad unity against the so-called e-Martial Law,” Ridon said.

Though Kabataan Partylist has earlier expressed high hopes for the outcome of the legal battle against RA 10175, recent developments warrant greater public pressure, Ridon said. The youth leader was referring to the recent SC decision regarding the partylist system, in which the high court reversed the decade-old Ang Bagong Bayani jurisprudence and basically opened the partylist system to be a free-for-all competition.

“With the SC exhibiting such anti-people sentiments in recent decisions, the public cannot be 100 percent assured that it will strike down the Cybercrime Law. There is really a need for us to intensify our campaign,” Ridon added.

“The fight against the Cybercrime Law is nearing conclusion. Yet netizens are still urged to remain vigilant until the SC finally strikes down the assailed law. Only then can we fully claim victory,” Ridon concluded.###