Aquino favors decriminalizing libel-A A +A
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III said Wednesday that he is supporting efforts to decriminalize libel in the country.
Aquino has been criticized for signing last month the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 that imposes heavier penalty on online libel.
"I'm divided between sometimes the personal side and the public side. I think, I fully subscribed to the idea of decriminalizing it but not lessening the atmosphere to encourage irresponsibility in certain quarters," the President said during his annual forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (Focap) Wednesday.
Aquino, who earlier said that he wanted the online libel provision to stay in the new law, said that he favors the removal of criminal aspect of libel as being done in other countries.
The President said the Executive department is open for amendments to the much-criticized law, which punishes cybercrimes such as hacking, identity theft, cybersex and child pornography.
He noted that he has left with only two options on how to treat the bill - either to sign it into law or veto the entire measure.
"So if I nearly failed to sign the law then the provisions on identity fraud or to prevent identity fraud, the porn, the other aspects sought to be penalized by this law would have been left again in limbo," he said.
Aquino said he believed that the questionable provisions could be addressed through amendments and the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations.
The Supreme Court earlier issued a 120-day temporary restraining order against the law's implementation. The High Court sets oral arguments on the measure in January 2013. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)