Countdown to crime-A A +A
Thursday, October 4, 2012
YOU heard it right. We might all end up as criminals, get fined P1 million and become jailbirds for 12 years.
All because we dare to keep our Facebook posts and tweets critical of government or perhaps call someone una persona gorda. I don't know if calling Sen. Vicente Tito Sotto delgado (thin) would constitute libel. Today is Day 1 when The Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10175) officially becomes a law of the Land.
Just like that. Tweeters and Facebookers are doomed to a life of crime. Because many of them have made fun of plagiarists in government. Or maybe lampooned their photos using Photoshop like that of Sotto with Imelda Marcos's hairdo.
I have been an active user, maybe too much, of social media for my causes. Like the rest of bloggers, I use my Facebook account to supplement my Sun Star columns to touch on almost any other subject.
I praise when I see something praiseworthy, some critical of our national and local government.
Now am I supposed to delete critical posts for fear that the long arm of the law will use my FB posts as evidence against me, for "libeling" government officials?
Will my judge friends and local prosecutors have to do their job because they took an oath to uphold the law?
And will I see the Philippine National Police knocking on my door to serve a warrant of arrest? How many counts of "libel" will I have to face? Befehl ist befehl, as the Nazi war criminals invoked as their defense during the Nuremberg trials. "Orders are orders."
Will a law enforcer Mirandize me: "You have the right to remain silent. Any statement you make may be used against you in a court of law in the Philippines. You have the right to have a competent and independent counsel preferably of your own choice. If you cannot afford the services of a counsel, the government will provide you one. Do you understand these rights?"
Or maybe it will be in the family, since almost all of us have our Facebook accounts where we post the tritest to acerbic comments on government policies. Or maybe on blind items on individuals.
If we think the dockets are brimming with cases, wait till the law comes to full effect.
Like Mahatma Gandhi, netizens are not going to roll over and play dead, as I said in a recent column. Most are raring to go for civil disobedience, waiting for government to make their day.
Like the frenzied fireworks that explode near the stroke of midnight of New Year's Eve, Facebook has become a den of "cybercriminals" daring the government to do its worst.
Even Greenpeace Philippines, an environmental organization, has joined the fray. It demanded a political statement calling Filipinos to stand up for free speech, reminding Facebookers that sites like that of Greenpeace could turn from green to black "simply because the opinions posted (there) might make you commit a cybercrime."
Clearly, RA 10175 has opened a can of worms or Pandora's box. Can PNoy survive this political booboo? (A boo is appropriate word I can think of). Now I know who will get the boot from the reelectionist senators. We'll be keeping tabs on the day of reckoning next year.
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Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on October 04, 2012.