Cebuano legislators back calls to amend cybercrime law

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

CEBU CITY -- Three Cebu congressmen who voted for the passage of the Cybercrime Prevention Act support calls to amend the law.

Representative Pablo Garcia (Cebu, second district) said the cybercrime bill was not thoroughly discussed in the House before it was approved in plenary and forwarded to the bicameral committee.

“I am in favor of amending it, to harmonize it with the Revised Penal Code and the pending bill to decriminalize libel,” Garcia said.


Representative Benhur Salimbangon (Cebu, fourth district) said he will support amendments to exclude mainstream media organizations from the law.

“Let’s listen to the mainstream media and evaluate their concerns,” he said.

The law seeks to apply the country’s libel law on Internet users, including social media users, but with tougher penalties. Among other things, the law authorizes the Department of Justice to take down any website without a court order.


Representative Gabriel Luis Quisumbing (Cebu, sixth district) said he is in favor of reducing the penalties on libelous online statements.

“No bill should infringe on the freedom of speech,” said Quisumbing.

He said he voted for the passage of the cybercrime bill, believing it will make Internet users become more responsible.

He said the law’s implementing rules should be able to “strike a balance” between protecting the freedom of speech and the rights of cybercrime victims.

Internet users, human rights group and Senator Teofisto Guingona III filed petitions against the law before the Supreme Court (SC).

As of Monday, two more petitions questioning the constitutionality of Republic Act 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act were filed at the SC, bringing the number of filed petitions to seven.

The sixth petition was filed by a group led by the Kabataan party-list, while the seventh petition was filed by a group composed of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), national artist Bienvenido Lumbrera, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Karapatan, Courage, Anakpawis and Gabriela.

The petitioners said the law violates the freedom of expression and is unconstitutional.

Representative Salimbangon said he favored the passage of the cybercrime bill because he wanted those who malign people over the Internet to be made liable for their actions.

“But I am supporting any move to amend the law that will exclude the regular media from it,” he said, adding that he holds Cebu’s real journalists in high esteem.

Representative Eduardo Gullas (Cebu, first district), on the other hand, said he voted against the passage of the Cybercrime Prevention Act, which was signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III last September 12. (EOB/OCP/JKV of Sun.Star Cebu/With Sunnex)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 02, 2012.

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