Friday, February 21, 2014

Cybercrime Law Republic Act 10175: "Balik Buwis" Because This Government is Broken!

Wazzup Pilipinas!

A few days ago, the Philippine Supreme Court passed the Orwellian named law, "Cybercrime Law," that imposes a jail sentence of 6 to 12 years for libel. President Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III or PNoy was quoted as saying that the Cybercrime Law will not abridge our rights to free speech if we have no intention of breaking the law. But see, Mr. President, the logic works both ways. Why fear social criticism, why criminalize libel if none of you are guilty of breaking our trust?

"Hindi naman daw layunin ng #CybercrimeLaw ang malimitahan ang freedom of speech. Kung wala naman daw kasalanan at totoo ang sinasabi, wag daw matakot. Could a lawyer please tell PNoy that truth is not a defense in libel? Huwag niya tayong gawing tanga!"

President Aquino: "If you are saying the truth, why would you fear libel?”

Because, Mr. President, under the existing Libel Law, truth IS NOT A DEFENSE, especially not under the provisions where the offended party may sue for "real or imagined" injury to their honor.

We can't even argue that the offended party had no honor to begin with so there was nothing injured in the first place.

We, your bosses, are not pleased at all--with you or the government. We, the people, deserve much, much better than this and the shoddily-made RA 10175.

The Court declared the following provisions of RA 10175 (Cybercrime Act) as UNCONSTITUTIONAL, either wholly or contextually:

1. Sec. 4(c)(3) (Unsolicited Commercial Communications)
2. Sec. 12 (Real time collection of traffic data)
3, Sec. 19 (Restricting or blocking access to computer data)
4. Sec. 4(c)(4) (online libel- only where it penalises those who simply receive the post or react to it) but NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL as far as the original author is concerned.
5. Sec. 5 (aiding or abetting in the commission of a cybercrime/attempt to commit a cybercrime) only in relation to secs. 4(c)(2) (child pornography), 4(c)(3) (unsolicited commercial communications) and 4(c)(4) (libel);
6. Sec. 7 (liability under other laws) only in relation to secs. 4(c)(4) (libel) and 4(c)(2) (child pornography).

All other provisions not so declared by the Court are considered NOT UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Libel in the Revised Penal Code is punishable by prision correccional -- 6 months and one day to 6 years. Thus, according to RA 10175 sec. 6, when it is committed with the use of communications and information technology, the penalty is increased by one degree making it 6 years and one day to 12 years. Shocking, but true.

Justice Secretary Leila De Lima  also states that "I know there are objectionable portions and may I state, for the record, na hindi sa amin nanggaling ang mga provisions na yun -- the libel provision, the provision that gives us the take-down power. In fact, our position papers would show that we have actually raised questions on that... but that goes into the wisdom of the law and the crafters, yung authors of the law, siguro have to explain why those portions, those provisions are there."

With all respect due to the the honorable magistrates of the Highest Court of the Land, you have studied the law to its pinnacle and achieved such heights of statesmanship only to fall gullible to the machinations of of a senator whose highest claims to fame are called "Eat Bulaga" and "Iskul Bukol." Tsk.

Justice is blind, not deaf, my dear High Bench. I think you may have gotten something wrong, so very wrong with regard to the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. No less than 16 (count them) petitions were filed before you seeking the scrapping of Republic Act 10175. Have you not heard the people's plea?

So where, now, is the justice you were sworn to uphold for us, o Magistrates of the Highest Court of the Land? Are we, the people, to have no redress for our grievances?

More than a day after announcing its rulings and releasing a concise statement, the honorable Supreme Court has yet to release its actual decision.

This situation is bad for petitioners and the public. We deserve and demand the immediate release of the SC decision so we could take a look and study how the magistrates arrived at its rulings, and prepare to file lawful motions for partial reconsideration if deem them necessary.

Due to the non-release of the decision, there are competing views on how to interpret the concise statement of spokesman Ted Te. Of course, Malacanang cannot hide its glee that the draconian and stupid law the President signed has been largely found to be legal. The Palace spin doctors appear to be managing the news about the Cybercrime decision even as there's still no document coming out of Padre Faura.

The slowness of it all makes me suspicious. Very suspicious.

While we impatiently wait for the concise statement, we will reiterate Article 3, Section 4 of the Constitution stating: "No law shall be passed abridging freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the people to peaceably assemble to petition government for redress of grievances". The Constitution protects your right to speak freely, to be heard by your government, to ask the questions you need to ask--especially of public officials who owe you their answers and their assistance.

What part of "NO LAW SHALL BE PASSED ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH" do you not understand, my government? It is so hard to find good servants these days. Intelligence is not even a requirement, apparently. Here's a clue: the word "no" means "NO."

To all our lawmakers, please come up with laws that protect the general public's interest and not just your own. Please come up with laws that would ease the common people's burdens and not add up to their burdens. And please, please, pass laws that the police and other law enforcers can enforce. As Albert Einstein once said, nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced.

We already have too many laws and about 50% of these are obsolete, and the rest are either ignored, circumvented or observed only when it is convenient to the purpose of some official or politician. Even the Constitution is treated similarly.

My government, you displease me immeasurably. I find your "leaders" incompetent, unworthy, dishonest, dishonorable and thoroughly disreputable. Please tell me, again, where my taxes go besides into the pockets of your most execrable wastrels? I am, after all, your boss, the source of your wherewithal and the reason for your miserable existence.

Right now, I hate you, my government, particularly the DOJ, the legislature, the Supreme Court. I hate what I perceive to be your ineptitude. I hate what I believe is your selfishness in public offices that should, by my measure, preclude selfishness. I hate you to the marrow of my bones for I believe you threaten my country, my people, my children and my freedom of speech and of the press.

I believe, in my heart of hearts, that I have every reason to hate you and to begrudge every centavo of tax money I feel forced to pay you, for I believe you are nothing but rapacious thieves and liars who probably have no compunction about selling the public good for the shiniest peso.

I am disappointed in the legislature. I am disappointed in the executive branch of "government." Even greater than the sum of my disappointment in these two estates of government is my disappointment with the High Bench of the Supreme Court. I feel the taxes I pay so government can continue operating, so it can "serve" the people, is utterly and incontrovertibly wasted on people whom I believe have no love of country to supersede their own seemingly petty egos.

I condemn their actions to create, pass and uphold Republic Act 10175 in the strongest terms my own vocabulary of many languages contains. This is a personal stand, made without any malice whatsoever. I am just using my Constitutionally protected right to free speech because, unless these functionaries of government amend the Freedom Constitution to castrate the Bill of Rights, the basic law of the land supersedes all other laws.

You may, of course, disagree with me. After all, your intelligence is not as it should be, either--at least not in my book. #YolandaPH, #MaguindanaoMassacre, #NoToCybercrimeLaw, #FOI. I need not say more (but "balik buwis" because I hate where my taxes have gone).

*Credits to the many individuals whose Facebook wall statuses I grabbed (copy-pasted - Sottofied - and merged into one article) majority from Philippines Graphic's Literary Editor Alma Anonas-Carpio. I really love her thoughts on every issue and the admirable courage she shows. May the burning desire to fight the oppressors who want to trample on our rights remain strong. As she generously ensures us:
"Sleep with peace in your hearts my compatriots. I remain awake, watching from the wall. I live to guard you and your rights, for they are my rights as well. I will fight with everything I have to keep the wolves from you. I will defend your freedoms where the three estates of government have not succeeded, perhaps did not even try. I am a journalist. It is my job to keep you safe, one I am honored to do."

About "" is the fastest growing and most awarded blog and social media community that has transcended beyond online media. It has successfully collaborated with all forms of media namely print, radio and television making it the most diverse multimedia organization. The numerous collaborations with hundreds of brands and organizations as online media partner and brand ambassador makes a truly successful advocate of everything about the Philippines, and even more since its support extends further to even international organizations including startups and SMEs that have made our country their second home.

1 comment:

  1. This blog passionately addresses the Orwellian Cybercrime Law in the Philippines, critiquing its implications on freedom of speech and justice. The author demands accountability from the government, emphasizing constitutional rights.
    Acusado de Domestic Violence en Nueva Jersey


Ang Pambansang Blog ng Pilipinas Wazzup Pilipinas and the Umalohokans. Ang Pambansang Blog ng Pilipinas celebrating 10th year of online presence
Copyright © 2013 Wazzup Pilipinas News and Events
Design by FBTemplates | BTT