Guingona: Implementing rules won't correct illegal provisions in cybercrime law-A A +A
Thursday, October 4, 2012
MANILA -- Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Senator Teofisto Guingona III took different positions whether the contentious provisions on online libel and control on computer data in the Internet under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 may be remedied by coming up with polished rules.
De Lima on Wednesday said they will take into consideration the negative feedback in the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations, which is set to be finished by December.
But Guingona disagreed, saying the Supreme Court must first resolve the nine petitions questioning the law's constitutionality.
"The law itself has provisions that are unconstitutional and they cannot be corrected by IRR. They should first be declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and then we can make amendments," he said in a chance interview.
Senators Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan II and Jinggoy Estrada have already filed bills seeking to decriminalize libel, which has stiffer penalties under the anti-cybercrime law. Taking this route, however, will eat up a lot of time, having to go through the committee hearings and debates in both houses of Congress, said Guingona.
"The important part now is what route is the fastest way and we believed that the Supreme Court is the fastest way because the rights of the citizens, of individuals are affected and therefore the sooner we have the laws with pertinent provisions of the laws declared unconstitutional the better. The better for all of us, the better for all the citizens of this country," he said.
Opponents of the law called on the SC to issue a temporary restraining order against it as they hit it for violating the constitutional provisions on due process, equal protection of the law, double jeopardy and prohibition on illegal seizure.
Petitions filed by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the Ateneo Human Rights Center even asked for oral arguments to guide the justices in resolving the case. The SC will take up the matter on Tuesday next week.
"Judicial wisdom dictates that the SC intervenes and at least temporarily stops the implementation of the law given the very wide opposition to it until the contentious issues on its legality and constitutionality have been fully resolved. It is unfortunate that the SC chooses not to exercise its discretion and this is to detrimental to public interest," said think tank Ibon Foundation.
The law has already triggered protests from online users including hackers who have taken down several government websites since last week. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)