Gov't pushes unconstitutionality of blocking websites without court order-A A +A
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
MANILA -- The Aquino administration formally asked the Supreme Court to strike down the provision in the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 that allows the government to restrict or block access to computer data without a court order.
Speaking for the government on Tuesday, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza said while they agree that Section 19 is unconstitutional, this does not mean that the law should be junked altogether because it has benefits as well.
He said the law will be used to penalize hacking and other illegal activities done in the Internet like cybersex.
On the issue of online libel, which will get a stiffer penalty under Republic Act 10175, Jardeleza said this should not be deleted in the law because the Internet has been used to malign a person's character.
"Defamation is defamation whether we communicate through megaphones, letters, person to person, tweets, Facebook or email," said Jardeleza.
Last January 15, Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo-de Castro and Diosdado Peralta agreed with the petitioners' contention that penalizing people who committed online libel under the Revised Penal Code and the cybercrime law is tantamount to double jeopardy.
Raising the point of those against the law, Associate Justice Marvic Leonen asked Jardeleza if the best way to protect a person from libel is through civil action. Jardeleza just left the matter to Congress.
Fifteen petitions against the implementation of the law had already been consolidated as the SC issued a 120-day temporary restraining order, which will expire on February 5.
Court sources said the request to extend the stay order was not discussed by the justices in their en banc session earlier in the day. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)