Clipping state power to block websites sought-A A +A
Friday, October 5, 2012
MANILA -- Saying it was an oversight, Senator Edgardo Angara will push next week the repeal of a provision in the Cybercrime Prevention Act that allows the Justice Secretary to restrict or block access to websites, which have been attacked.
"I will file a measure to amend that provision to include the requirement of a court order before the secretary clamps down on any website unless there is clear and present danger that you cannot wait a minute longer because the danger is so imminent," he told reporters.
Pending the resolution of the petitions seeking to declare parts of the law unconstitutional, Angara asked Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to suspend her power to take down a website under Section 19. But De Lima immediately refused, saying she is mandated to implement it.
The Department of Justice is one of the agencies tasked to craft the implementing rules and regulations (IRR), which may be finished by December.
"On the ground, we will just be judicious on first few cases to allay fears or excesses in the exercise of such power and also to gain trust (of the people," de Lima said Thursday.
Some senators led by Francis Escudero have filed bills that would decriminalize libel. If passed, Angara said the much-criticized online libel provision, which stipulates longer jail terms and hefty fines, will become ineffective.
Still, Angara defended the passage of Republic Act 10175, which he said was a good attempt at creating a rules-based framework for the detection, investigation, apprehension, prosecution and prevention of Internet-driven crimes.
"I think we ought to put this law into perspective. We're much better off with cyberlaws rather than have a cyberspace without any form of regulation. Otherwise, we would be operating in a large universe without rules--an open frontier where anything goes," said Angara, the law’s main sponsor.
He also assured the public and the media that Congress will look into the revisions soon.
"However, I don't want to give the impression that I am shifting the blame to anyone. I take responsibility because I was the one who put it all together. Either way, I believe that those who provided inputs are responsible, reasonable people," Angara said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)